Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Review

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a Omega-6 fatty acid found in vegetable oils that have been shown in some studies to cause fat loss. It is also believed by some to have other health benefits. It is also an antioxidant and may have cancer-fighting properties such as lowering the risk of colorectal cancer and breast cancer, but more research is needed. Other possible benefits may be helping with dry skin and multiple sclerosis but the jury is still out on if it actually helps with these also. It can be taken in a pill form. There is no standard dose for CLA but dosages range from 1 gram to 3.4 grams daily (Keifer, 2014). Of the 28 different forms of CLA two are believed to be the most important for weight loss. These are “c9, t11” and “t10, c12”.

CLA is a polyunsaturated fatty acid, with both cis and trans double bonds so it is technically a natural type of trans fat. CLA sources are cows, goats and sheep. CLA from these animals is 300 – 500% higher if the animals are grass-fed instead of grain fed. Average intake in the U.S. is 151 mg per day from women and 212 mg from men (Gunnars, 2014).

Possible benefits shown from studies are increased fat burning, appetite suppression, stimulating fat breakdown and inhibiting the production. Some studies have also shown increases in muscle mass.

However, when taken in large doses studies have shown detrimental side effects such as increased accumulation of fat in the liver which can lead to metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Other side effects could be inflammation, insulin resisance, lower HDL (the good cholesterol), diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea and flatulence.

Doctors don’t recommend CLA for pregnant women, breastfeeding women or children. Also, if you are taking any medications you should check with your doctor for possible drug interaction problems especially if taking drugs for schizophrenia or other mental disorders.

Gunnars, Kris, 2015 CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid): A Detailed Review, Authority Nutrition, http://authoritynutrition.com/conjugated-linoleic-acid/

Keifer, David, 2014, Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/conjugated-linoleic-acid-cla

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