Healthy fats are a critical part of a well-balanced diet. They not only provide the fuel your brain needs, they can reduce inflammation, provide joint support, and so much more!
But what type of fats do you need in your diet? You have probably heard of the fish oil benefits, but what about other fats? Below, we’ve done a comparison of the two most popular fatty acid supplements available on the market—CLA and fish oil—to help you know which is right for you.
CLA vs Fish Oil: What Are They?
CLA stands for “conjugated linoleic acid”. It is a type of omega-6 fatty acid commonly found in the meat and milk of cows, goats, and sheep. Omega-6s are one of the two types of essential fatty acids that play a role in your metabolism, immune function, and cholesterol levels.
CLA is popular as a weight loss supplement, but the research on its effectiveness is mixed. Some research says that may enhance muscular performance, reduce body fat, and improve muscle tone, while others found no impact on body weight.
Fish oil supplements are pretty much exactly what they sound like. They are made from using oil extracted from fatty fish like salmon or cod. Fish oil is incredibly rich in omega-3 fats another critical fatty acid that is needed to combat inflammation, nourish your brain, and boost your mood.
Fish oil is an anti-inflammatory supplement taken to reduce general inflammation. There is also evidence that it may be helpful for cardiovascular health, mental well-being and joint mobility. With all these benefits it has quickly become one of the most popular supplements.
CLA is crucial for a number of important functions. A few of the evidence-based CLA supplement benefits include:
- Lowers the risk of heart disease due to its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to increase HDL cholesterol.
- A few studies have found that CLA may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
- May play a role in reducing the risk of diabetes.
- Could help reduce body fat and improve body composition.
It is important to note that the impact of CLA on health is not clearly understood. Although there is promising research on its ability to reduce the risk of various diseases, at high doses it actually may increase risk. Studies have found that depending on the dose, CLA may increase inflammation and insulin resistance. Doses of between 3 and 6.4 grams per day are considered safe.
Fish Oil Benefits
Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient that has quickly risen to prominence due to its many health benefits. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids play a number of vital roles in maintaining and improving your health:
Decreases inflammation. Thanks to its ability to reduce the body’s inflammatory response, omega-3s are believed to be vital for reducing cancer risk, chronic disease, joint pain, and cardiovascular disease.
Better brain health. Omega-3 provides the brain with the fatty acids required to not only reduce inflammation in the brain, but also improve cognitive function and protect existing brain cells. It also plays a role in the production of the neurochemicals responsible for your mood.
Reducing depression. Your brain needs fatty acids to produce the mood-boosting hormones that regulate your emotional state. Omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce the risk of depression, prevent anxiety and stress, and raise your mood.
Improving cardiovascular health. Omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce blood pressure. They also reduce your body’s inflammatory response, which may improve your cardiovascular health. But, research has not found a direct connection between omega-3 supplements and lower risk of heart attacks.
Helps relieve joint pain for people with arthritis. The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3s may help relieve pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
May help reduce menstrual pain due to the ability to decrease inflammation.
Regulates immune function. Omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce the risk of autoimmune disease by helping regulate the immune system and lower inflammation.
Improves eye health. Consuming omega-3 fatty acids regularly reduced the risk of dry eye by 17% in one study.
As you can see, fish oil is a truly amazing supplement thanks to its high omega-3 content.
CLA vs. Fish Oil: Which is Right for You?
The answer is simple: What’s your end goal?
If your goal is to lose weight you may want to try CLA. As you’ve seen above, CLA may help to enhance fat loss and may speed up your metabolism. But, don’t expect miracles with CLA, you still need to eat healthy and exercise to drop the pounds. All in all, CLA is the much better choice if your goal is to get in shape.
If your goal is to be healthier overall, go with fish oil. Fish oil has a myriad of benefits. It’s highly effective for boosting your immune function, keeping your brain working well, raising your mood, combating anxiety and depression, and preventing inflammation-related pain. Plus, there’s the heart-boosting benefit that will reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. All in all, it’s the best choice for your overall wellness.
Disclaimer: If you’re considering taking a supplement like CLA and fish oil, make sure to check with your doctor or healthcare provider first. While these supplements are intended to improve your health, they may come with negative medication interactions or certain side effects for your specific case. Ask a doctor to be sure they’re the right choice for you.
In the end, both CLA and fish oil supplements offer amazing health benefits, and they can both improve your life in a number of ways. A little bit of nutrition improvement can go a LONG way toward a healthier life!