Ironically, after years of demonising FAT in general, the diet, health, fitness and food industry is having to re-communicate to the general public that not ALL fat is bad for us and indeed some fats are not only vital to optimum health but may also aid fat loss. One of the hottest Essential Fatty Acids (good fat) for female health and fat loss is Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA).
Along with a ‘considered’ diet and daily exercise at an optimum intensity to effect the utilisation of fat as energy, GLA supplementation has shown to be a highly effective component of fat loss programmes alongside its well known effect on easing many of the negative symptoms associated with the female menstrual cycle such as breast tenderness, moodiness, depression, irritability and swelling and bloating from fluid retention.
All in all, GLA has a valuable role to play in times of ‘endocrine turbulence’ such as the early postnatal period and when women are seeking to lose ‘baby fat’.
Why Does GLA Work?
In a healthy body, GLA can be synthesised from Linoleic acid, which is found in certain oils, grains, and seeds. But due to a number of common dietary and lifestyle factors in today’s society, most of our bodies don’t make that conversion.
The main metabolic roadblocks are trans fats (man-made fats found in crisps, biscuits, cakes, processed foods), sugar, smoking, alcohol, aging, and illnesses such as diabetes.
All of these factors affect the body’s ability to convert Linoleic acid into GLA and efficiently burn fat.
GLA has a key role in activating under-active fat in overweight people known as brown adipose tissue (BAT) to burn calories. It is found (in the largest quantities) naturally in seed oils like Starflower oil (20-24%) and Evening Primrose oil (18-20%).
Supplementing with either of these oils will assist the mechanism that will allow the body to get down to the business of burning excess fat.
Simply put, GLA has a key role in activating under-active fat in overweight people known as brown adipose tissue (BAT) to burn calories.
Many researchers now believe that many overweight people are actually metabolically impaired when it comes to their ability to use energy from their fat stores. Of course, the other modern factors such as a lack of exercise, a toxic environment, consumption of processed foods etc. doesn’t help either!
A diet that includes supplementation with a high quality multivitamin and mineral and EFA’s to ensure the full spectrum of essential fats, vitamins, minerals and amino acids are consumed daily is a great place to start to ensure the body has what it needs to function optimally.
Clients who stick to an optimum supplementation programme especially after a period of depletion such as during Pregnancy and during the Post Natal period often experience a decrease in cravings, an improvement in general mood and mental well-being and an increase in energy and vitality. And we all know just how priceless those qualities in daily life are!
Rachel Law is a personal fitness trainer based in New Malden, Surrey. Qualifications: ActivIQ Level 3 Personal Training; Burrell Education Pregnancy Exercise Prescription; Burrell Education Advanced Pregnancy Wellness Practitioner; Burrell Education Advanced Post Natal Exercise Prescription; Burrell Education 3rd Age Women Optimal Health and Nutrition; Burrell Education Peri Natal Athlete; Burrell Education Pelvic Flow and Freedom; Olympic Weight Lifting; Premier Global Kettlebells; FIE Level Assessment and Mentoring