Science Says: Creatine and CLA Improve Strength and Body Comp

New research shows the benefit of supplementing your strength training with both creatine and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

The fitness world is rife with supplements, but which ones actualy do anything? A new study revealed that the combination of creatine monohydrate and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) following resistance exercise training could improve strength and body composition in older adults. Many people already know that creatine has been considered an effective supplement, but they may not know much about CLA. CLA is comprised of a group of chemicals that are found in the fatty acid linoleic acid. The main sources of CLA are dairy products and beef. On average, humans consume only between 15-174 milligrams of CLA per day.1

The study consisted of 19 men and 20 women who underwent six months of resistance exercise training (two training sessions per week). Each participant was an older adult, between the ages of 65-85 years of age. Each participant was randomly placed in a creatine monohydrate + CLA group, or a placebo group. The dosing of the creatine monohydrate was 5 grams per day (along with 2 grams of dextrose), and the CLA was dosed at 6 grams per day.2

The exercise routine consisted of 12 reps per exercise, with the exercises including; leg press, chest press, leg extension, leg flexion, shoulder press, lat pull-down, seated row, calf raise, crunches, and back extension. Arm flexion and arm extension exercises were performed at 10 repetitions. Every week resistance was increased, and one-rep max was tested every four weeks to make adjustments if needed.3

The results of the study demonstrated improvements in functional capacity and strength for all participants. However, the group that supplemented with creatine and CLA displayed greater improvement in most measurements of muscular endurance, isokinetic knee extension strength, fat free mass, and body fat reduction. Most measurements of strength improved similarly for men and women. The only strength outcome that showed a sex difference, with greater increases for women supplementing creatine and CLA, was knee extension strength.4

The results of this study demonstrate that resistance training is beneficial in itself, but combined with the supplementation of creatine monohydrate and CLA it can be enhanced. Although the study was performed on an older age group, there is no reason to believe that younger people would not experience similar results.5

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