The CLA Extreme fat burner combines the proven fat burning powers of conjugated linoleic acid with several other ingredients — L-Carnitine, Guarana and Green Tea, all added ” to increase effects and provide energy.”
Conjugated linoleic acid is, of course, a pretty good fat burning supplement. CLA is a nonessential fatty acid present in meat, cheese, and dairy products (it’s only present in low concentrations, so supplementation is necessary to obtain the benefits CLA offers).
There is some decent data indicating that CLA, taken in doses from .7 to 4.5 grams daily, can decrease body fat mass in obese and overweight people (the optimal dose seems to be about 3.2 grams daily — see Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;85(5):1203-11).
At higher doses (6.4 grams/day) CLA seems to increase lean body mass (J Nutr. 2007 May;137(5):1188-93.), Since lean mass contributes to an elevated metabolism, this too is a benefit for weight loss.
Recently, researchers from The Netherlands and Norway tested 105 overweight adults with either 3.2 grams of CLA daily or a placebo. Those on CLA had a 5.6% drop in body fat over the course of the study (6 months).
The CLA Extreme fat burner contains 750 mg per serving. A full daily dose (1.5 grams) will put you at bottom level of the amount shown to be effective. Personally, I’d like to see at least twice this amount in a serving. Alternatively, you can always double up the dosage — something I’d recommend in this case.
Of course, what makes CLA Extreme “extreme” is the fact that it combines CLA with several other ingredients…
1. Chromium picolinate: a potent insulin moderator, chromium picolinate is a valuable addition to this formula, although research validating its effects on weight loss are contradictory.
Unfortunately, the amount of green tea in this product serves as little more than window dressing… there’s a mere 50 mg here.
3. Guarana: included in most fat burners for its caffeine content and diuretic properties. Again, there’s only a minimal amount of ingredient here — 75 mg.
4. L-Carnitine: Carnitine plays many important roles in the body, but the most important one from a fat burning perspective is Carnitine’s role in escorting fatty acids to the cell’s mitochondria (think of the mitochondria as the cell’s furnace) where they can be burned as fuel. Because Carnitine plays such a role, many have postulated that supplementing with Carnitine should aid in weight loss.
However, studies to date have been largely unequivocal, and there does not seem to be any real evidence showing that supplementing with Carnitine will either increase the rate or the number of fatty acids that are converted into energy by the cell. In other words, Carnitine for weight loss is pretty much a bust.
Special note: Most fat burners touting the fat burning abilities of carnitine usually only contain only a spattering of this compound. Most studies have been completed using 2-6 grams daily. Any less than this is simply window dressing — as it is in this product, which contains a mere 100 mg.
In the end, there’s not really enough of the additional ingredients in this compilation (with the exception of the chromium) to provide benefits beyond those provided by the CLA. And certainly not enough to validate the “extreme” moniker.
On the plus side, CLA is a good supplement, and CLA Extreme is cheap enough… about US$16 for 90 caps. Worth a try, regardless.