CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) – Review the Latest Research

Full Disclosure

There are some who claim that conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a kind of fatty acid that could be used as a supplement to help weight loss. However, studies on humans have not proven its efficacy or security.

Studies on animals investigating CLA supplementation for weight loss have shown its benefits. However, human studies haven't yet replicated these results.

It is also important to remember that research from animals suggests CLA can create inflammation and increase fat levels in the liver.

Learn more about CLA for weight loss, including research findings, side effects, dosage, and food sources.

What exactly is it?

CLAs are naturally occurring, isomeric polyunsaturated acid fatty acids that are naturally occurring. Isomers are compounds that share similar chemical formulas, but with different arrangements of the atoms, they're composed of. The CLA isomer that scientists associate with weight loss is referred to as 10,12 CLA.

According to research findings, bacteria living in the intestines of certain animals create CLA. This includes:

  • sheep
  • cattle
  • goats
  • deer

In addition, CLA is available in an industrialized form. According to a study in 2019, producers can create it using oils that are rich in linoleic acid like:

  • Safflower
  • corn
  • sunflower
  • Soybean

Does it help with losing weight?

Although CLA can help with weight reduction, scientists don't recommend it due to of contradicting research findings.

According to a 2017 study conducted on mice, CLA supplementation may reduce weight; however, it does not perform this function perfectly. Weight loss is due to a decrease in subcutaneous fat rather than visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is found under the skin, whereas visceral fat is found on the inside of organs within the abdomen.

Visceral fat is a riskier type of fat and could have adverse health implications. It's also linked to an increased risk of death according to the 2022 review of research.

The researchers have concluded that weight loss through CLA is less healthy for metabolism than other methods, including calorie restrictions.

What research suggests

Research suggests that, unlike animal studies of CLA, which suggest an impressive weight loss effect, human studies aren't significant or promising.

Human studies haven't confirmed the safety and effectiveness of CLA.

Side effects

A 2019 meta-analysis on consequences of body composition CLA for body composition suggests that CLA adverse effects may be:

  • nausea
  • stomachache
  • diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • headaches
  • skin itchy rashes

But, there are some who take it in stride.

Furthermore, weight loss due to CLA does not correlate with an improvement in glucose metabolism, like the weight loss caused by restricting calories. CLA is more often associated with insulin resistance, a condition in which cells are not able to respond to insulin and can't absorb glucose from the blood.

A meta-analysis from 2022 suggests that CLA increased total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL; however, it also increased HDL.

Dosage and dosage, as well as how to take it

A review of the literature in 2019 reviewed the most recent research regarding CLA. It covered studies using doses ranging from 1.5 to 6.8 grams (g) daily. It was found that doses greater than 3.4 grams per day were likely to lower body weight than doses lower in.

However, since studies on safety and effectiveness are not available, a better alternative is to eat foods that are naturally rich in CLA.

Sources of food for CLA

Food sources are accompanied by mentions that CLA can be found in dairy and milk-based products like yogurt and cheese. Certain types of meat, including beef and lamb, contain CLA.


CLA is a member of a family made up of isomers naturally found in natural fat acids, which are found in certain animal foods. Although some believe that CLA supplements help with losing weight, the research into CLA to reduce weight for humans isn't very promising.

The supplement results in the loss of subcutaneous fat instead of visceral fat which increases the risk of negative health effects.

Therefore, researchers don't consider it to be a safe method for weight loss. We recommend more research to determine its effectiveness and safety.

Someone who wants to take CLA supplements CLA supplement should consult the healthcare professional first.

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