Polyunsaturated fatty acids can be found in many a gym goers kitchen cupboard. Usually in the form of conjugated linoleic acid or omega 3 fatty acids, many a hardy trainer will sing the praises of the each supplements? ability to act as either a powerful anti-oxidant that can promote fat loss, as is the case with CLA, or promote a healthy heart whilst stimulating fat burning as seen in omega 3 fatty acids. There have been some incredible dosage protocols suggested with regard to polyunsaturated fatty acids in recent years. Some people have suggested taking between 30-60gms of fish oil a day, whilst others have suggested taking 9gms of CLA a day all in the pursuit of a lean body. The most important question is ? does either product help to promote fat loss? The simple answer would be ?yes?, but a recent study has highlighted a possible mechanism for the fat loss pathway. Vaughan et al. (2012) investigated whether CLA or omega 3 fatty acids actually enhance metabolism by increasing the mode of action of the mitochondrial skeletal muscle cells. The team quantified the metabolic rates by measuring the degree of extracellular acidification and oxygen consumption rates.
The results were incredibly interesting; omega 3 appeared to actually invoke the behaviour of genes that activate metabolism. Besides this there was an increase in the consumption of oxygen, the glycolytic capacity and the overall metabolic rate. A similar effect was observed by cells treated with CLA.
Figure 1: Relative metabolic rates represented by oxygen consumption (OCR) for two different concentrations of combination omega 3 treatments. Taken from Vaughan et al., (2012).
It would seem that more recent studies are getting to grips with the underlying mode of action of a number of frequently used nutritional supplements. Now we are finally starting to understand the gene activating properties and the cascade of events that take place after ingestion. What implication does this have for our present and future use of CLA and omega 3 oils? It would seem that this further cement there use as not only as a therapeutic supplement, but also as a metabolic accelerant and weight loss aid.