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Does Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Help With Weight Loss?

Discover if CLA powder aids weight loss. Learn about its benefits, dosage, and effectiveness for shedding pounds.

Reviewed by Staci Gulbin, RDN

Written by Liposet Staff

Updated on

Cla And Weight Loss CLA and Weight Loss. Image /Shutterstock

Overview

When talking about weight loss, not all fats are equal. Some fats solely provide energy for the cells, while others provide additional health benefits to the body.

Conjugated linoleic acid is a popular ingredient in many weight loss supplements as it helps support weight loss.

What is Conjugated Linoleic Acid Powder (CLA)?

According to the Food Chemistry journal by Ahmad Nasrollahzadeh et al., Conjugated linoleic acid is a health-promoting compound that has numerous benefits to the human body. Research supports that it is naturally found in meat, dairy products, some vegetable oils, and dietary supplements. As an essential fatty acid, the body needs linoleic acid to support body functions and overall health. Since the body does not produce CLA, you need to supplement it through the foods you eat or dietary supplements.

Experts believe that an animal’s breed, age, diet, and foraging methods can contribute to the amount of CLA present in the food. Depending on your eating routine, the foods you consume may limit the amount of CLA you consume in the diet. For this reason, it is wise to supplement it to help consume enough of it to reap its health benefits.

Many online advertisements marketing conjugated linoleic acid supplements claim that it does have weight loss benefits.The tricky bit is that these advertisements do not tell you how much weight you will lose after taking the supplement.

However, some scientific studies and clinical trials do support that CLA supplements may help promote weight loss and improve body composition.The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition by Tatiana Ederich Lehnen et al., agrees that conjugated linoleic acid supplementation may help support weight loss by reducing the accumulation of fats in the tissues and increasing the process of lipolysis.CLA has also shown promise to increase lipid metabolism.

A publication in the Nutrients journal by Sanjay Basak supports that conjugated linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that is found in dairy products and red meat.The study further agrees that daily intake of conjugated linoleic acid supplements may help support a significant reduction in body weight and body mass index. Furthermore, human studies analyzed in this study review showed that CLA supplementation of 3.2 to 3.4 grams per day for six months was linked to a significant reduction in body weight.

CLA may help weight loss in several ways. It may help reduce food cravings and food consumption, stimulate fat burning, inhibit the production and accumulation of fats in the adipose tissues, and increase fat metabolism. However, more recent studies on humans and CLA intake are needed to confirm such early findings.

This article highlights the benefits of taking CLA supplements, their side effects, the science behind how they work, and the transformative effects of people who have tried them. Join us as we explore conjugated linoleic acid.

How Does Conjugated Linoleic Acid Powder (CLA) Work?

We tried to determine what makes linoleic acid an effective supplement for weight loss, body fat reduction, reduced food cravings, and reduced fat accumulation. This is what we discovered.

As mentioned before, conjugated linoleic acid is a type of fatty acid commonly sourced from red meat, dairy products, and some vegetable oils. Daily intake of CLA supplements may help strengthen and improve immune functions.A publication in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition by H-J Song et al supports that daily supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid may help increase the body’s inflammatory responses, delay hypersensitivity responses, and improve immune functions.

Conjugated linoleic acid can also work to reduce body weight. It does this inhibiting the production and accumulation of fats in the adipose tissue. According to the Nutrients Journal by Miguel Z Martín-González et al., conjugated linoleic acid is commonly used as a dietary supplement to help improve obesity in overweight individuals. Daily supplementation with CLA may help increase lipid metabolism in the body and promotes weight loss. In other words, CLA can increase the fat-burning process by converting stored fat into energy.

Also, the Journal of Lipid Research by Tomas Vaisar, and Shari Wang, et al, support that conjugated linoleic acid improves inflammation, insulin resistance, and type II diabetes, and may promote weight loss in overweight adults. It’s important to note though that these studies were done in rats, so the effects on humans is unclear at this time.

Conjugated linoleic acid effectively modifies cardio-metabolic risk factors and body composition in overweight adults.

CLA supplementation may help reduce body fat levels in the human body, reduce the accumulation of fats in the adipose tissues, and increase the process of lipolysis to support fat burning.

What Are The Health Benefits of Conjugated Linoleic Acid Powder (CLA)?

Improves Insulin function and regulates blood sugar

There may be an association between CLA in your diet and the risk of diabetes. Conjugated linoleic acid may help support insulin regulation.

The Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences suggests that conjugated linoleic acid supplementation with or withour exercise may help improve insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance.

Promotes weight loss and fat burning

Believe it or not, butter may be a helpful weight loss product. That is why some dairy products contain concentrated forms of conjugated linoleic acid to help promote weight loss.

CLA may promote weight loss by reducing the accumulation of body fats, increasing fat metabolism, and fat oxidation in the adipose tissue. The dose, duration of treatment, weight, gender, and age may affect how fast you lose weight.

Fat burners work by increasing metabolism and thermogenesis. They may also contain appetite suppressants like CLA. While these can aid in weight loss, I’ve observed they are most effective when combined with a structured diet and exercise plan rather than used in isolation, says Dr Thomas Jeneby, Ivy League Trained Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

An official journal of the Nutrition & Metabolism by BMC supports that conjugated linoleic acid increases fat oxidation and lipolysis, and increases fat metabolism in the body.

Helps improve immune functions

Conjugated Linoleic acid has been shown to have anticarcinogenic and immune-enhancing effects in the body. These concentrated fatty acids may help reduce the risk of cancer, lower inflammation, and improve immune responses in the body.

A study published in the Journal of Nutrients concludes that conjugated linoleic acid may help improve immune responses and strengthen immunity in humans. CLA increases immune functions and reduces the risk of infectious diseases.

Increases lean muscle mass

Research supports that combining Linoleic acid with whey protein and Creatine may help increase muscle mass and increase lean muscle strength.

Most fitness supplement manufacturers often include conjugated linoleic acid in their supplements to help promote muscle growth.

A publication in the Nutrition & Metabolism by BMC supports that linoleic acid helps strengthen immunity, improve cardiovascular health, and protect against certain diseases.

Safety and Side Effects

Conjugated Linoleic acid is commonly found in dairy products, red meat, and vegetable oils. CLA is safe when taken orally and in normal amounts.

However, since not all people are the same, some people may experience some side effects when taking the pills. This supplement may not be ideal for people with diabetes as it works to increase insulin resistance.

Additionally, individuals who take CLA supplements may experience a decrease in good cholesterol in the body, which is not a good thing.

Some people may experience diarrhea, nausea, stomach upset, headache, and fatigue after taking these supplements. However, if these symptoms persist, you can discontinue use.

Dosage and How to Take It?

Most studies that we looked at regarding CLA claim that the appropriate dosage of CLA supplements is 3.2 to 6.4 grams per day.

Taking approximately 3 grams of Conjugated linoleic acid every day should be enough to help support your weight loss benefits.

Taking up to 6 grams every day is safe and effective and will not pose any side effects. The FDA reported in 2008 that adding CLA to your diet is safe and may have potential health benefits.

The Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism by Andre-Dennis Wright agrees that combining 3.4 grams of conjugated linoleic acid with green tea may help support weight loss and weight reduction.

FAQs

Can Conjugated Linoleic Acid Powder (CLA) Help You Lose Weight?

Yes, Conjugated linoleic acid helps promote weight loss in overweight and obese individuals. CLA promotes weight loss by reducing the accumulation of body fats, increasing fat metabolism, and fat oxidation in the adipose tissue. The dose, duration of treatment, weight, gender, and age may affect how fast you lose weight.

What Happens If I Take Too Much Conjugated Linoleic Acid Powder (CLA)?

Getting small and adequate amounts of conjugated linoleic acid may offer numerous health benefits. However, CLA is available in different forms because it is made by altering the composition of linoleic acid. Most compounds are beneficial if taken in the correct amounts because large doses may cause some side effects. Consuming large amounts of CLA may increase fat accumulation in the liver and cause diseases like diabetes. Consider taking the recommended dosage to avoid side effects.

How Much Conjugated Linoleic Acid Powder (CLA) is Safe to Take?

Most studies claim that the appropriate dosage of CLA supplements is 3.2 to 6.4 grams per day. Taking approximately 3 grams of Conjugated linoleic acid every day should be enough to help support your weight loss benefits.

When is the Best Time to Take Conjugated Linoleic Acid Powder (CLA) Supplement?

So that the body can maximize the benefits of Conjugated linoleic acid supplements, it is advisable that you take the supplement before or during mealtime. Have a good supplement plan so that you can enjoy the numerous benefits of CLA.

Conclusion

The decision to take conjugated linoleic acid is personal. However, if you want to lose weight and still enjoy other benefits, adding CLA to your diet may be a good decision.

However, before you visit any store to buy Conjugated linoleic acid as a standalone supplement, you should do your research to know the exact dosage and more about the ingredients, or simply go by a well-established product that is doctor-formulated.

Sources:

  1. Production of conjugated linoleic acid by lactic acid bacteria; important factors and optimum conditions https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10740029/
  2. A review on effects of conjugated linoleic fatty acid (CLA) upon body composition and energetic metabolism https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4574006/
  3. Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Its Beneficial Effects in Obesity, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7401241/
  4. Effect of CLA supplementation on immune function in young healthy volunteers https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15674307/
  5. Beneficial Effects of a Low-dose of Conjugated Linoleic Acid on Body Weight Gain and other Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Cafeteria Diet-fed Rats https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7071287/
  6. 10,12-Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation improves HDL composition and function in mice https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9283942/
  7. A review on effects of conjugated linoleic fatty acid (CLA) upon body composition and energetic metabolism https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-015-0097-4
  8. Conjugated linoleic acid evokes de-lipidation through the regulation of genes controlling lipid metabolism in adipose and liver tissue https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16045640/
  9. Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation enhances insulin sensitivity and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma and glucose transporter type 4 protein expression in the skeletal muscles of rats during endurance exercise https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4823612/
  10. Immunomodulatory properties of conjugated linoleic acid https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15159257/
  11. Pros and cons of CLA consumption: an insight from clinical evidences https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4429457/

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