You can almost hear the narrator’s voice — breathless with excitement — as you read…
“Here’s the deal… scientists from Norway’s Medstat Research Center have recently discovered a rare extract from an African plant called Carthamus tinctorius. The scientific name for this nutrient is Cis-9-Trans-11 (C9-T11 for short), and recent clinical tests are now showing this nutrient possesses the remarkable muscle-building benefits highlighted above.
In fact, in a new field study carried out by scientists at Applied Nutritional Research, the subject below gained a stunning 27 pounds of lean muscle mass and slashed his bodyfat from 23% to 5.7% within just 49 days…”
Um… yeah. Riiiight.
See, “Carthamus tinctorius” is safflower. Safflower, commonly used for its oil, is hardly a “rare” herb.
And what of these active “C9-T11″ isomers that show such miraculous fat burning and muscle-building characteristics?
Well, C9-T11 is an abbreviation of one of the isomers common to CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid. There are two isomers common to CLA. These are the “Cis-9, Trans 11″ isomer and the “Trans 10, Cis-12″ isomer, both of which are usually found in concentrations of 50-50 in most CLA preparations.
And guess what?
Yep… the majority of manufacturers derive their CLA from safflower oil.
C9-T11 appears to be little more than CLA, re-labeled and marketed in a way that makes you think you’re getting something ground breaking and revolutionary when you’re actually buying an overpriced version of a product that has been on the market for years (the product web site does not make reference to any other ingredient(s), and all the clinical data refers to CLA).
Despite this silliness, CLA is a product worth investigating. The results of supplementation, however, do not accurately reflect any of the claims made on the C9-T11 web site — you will not “gain 27 pounds of lean muscle mass” or reduce from 23% to 5.7% body fat in mere weeks, for example.
Nor will you be able to “…synthesize lean muscle tissue from your fat stores” – a physiological impossibility.
For what it’s worth, evidence does indicate that CLA is a decent weight loss supplement (see Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;79(6):1118-25, Br J Nutr. 2007 Mar;97(3):550-60, Int J Obes (Lond). 2007 Mar;31(3):481-7. Epub 2006 Aug 22, Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;85(5):1203-11), although I’ve never ever heard from anyone who has experienced ground breaking results with it, for either fat loss or muscle-building.
In truth, CLA’s impact on lean muscle is quite modest. For example, a group of obese human subjects taking 6.4g CLA/day for 12 weeks experienced an average increase of 0.64kg of lean mass – about 1.6 pounds. This certainly beats losing muscle, but let’s face it, that’s not the kind of muscle growth I associate with the word “jacked.”
Even that alleged “700% more muscle” bragged about on the C9-T11 site doesn’t amount to much: if you look very carefully at the “fine print” on the graphic, you’ll discover that the gains amounted to only 1.4kg – roughly 3 pounds.
Should you buy C9-T11?
Well, the product web site does not reveal the potency of the product (so it’s impossible to determine just how much CLA you are getting per dose); and the cost — compared to widely available CLA products — is outrageous.
So if you like the “sound” of CLA, go ahead and try supplementing with it (in fact CLA is one of the few products we recommend on our “recommendations page“), but buy a readily available version.
Studies indicate that CLA is most effective when consumed in the 3.2 to 4.7 grams per day range. Most CLA supplements (including the PrimaForce Max CLA) contain 1,000 mg of safflower oil per serving, usually standardized for about 70% CLA per serving (divided 50-50 between the aforementioned isomers).
That means to obtain the ideal dosage, you need to consume between 5-7 caps per day, instead of the recommended 3 (which will only provide you with 2.1 grams of CLA). That means a 180 capsule bottle will last you between 25 and 35 days. But at $18, it’s still a good value.