Is cla effective and safe for weight loss

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By robb the singh

is cla effective and safe for weight loss

Conjugated linoleic acid is present in food and sports supplementation, but is CLA useful for weight loss?

Occurring naturally in meat and dairy products and has been widely linked to various health benefits, including weight loss, CLA in weight loss may be effective, depending on the circumstances.

CLA effective for weight loss?

In this article, we take a closer look at how this compound is connected to weight loss, as well as practical information such as daily dosage recommendations, side effects, and the different types of supplements out there.

What is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)?

The compound is an Omega-6 fatty acid found naturally in meat and dairy, especially grass-fed varieties.

This essential omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (called EFA) is a mixture of positional and geometric isomers of linoleic acid and is widely studied by sports medicine and science in general.

The word “conjugate” refers to the type of bond between the molecules.

It comes from linoleic acid (LA) found in grass and grains eaten by animals, such as cows and sheep.

CLA supplements are usually made from LA from safflower oil or sunflower oil. It is modified using “friendly” products, enzymes, or bacteria during the manufacturing process to make it what we know.

Eating more dairy and meat will not increase levels of this fatty acid as much, so you must take it as a dietary supplement to make a difference.

How does CLA work to burn fat?

To understand how CLA is related to weight loss we need to understand this: it is believed to trigger a series of chemical reactions that stimulate the burning of fat in the body.

Speed up metabolism:

By increasing the amount and speed with which the body burns calories and fat.

As a result, the body increases the number of calories it burns and uses its energy stores more efficiently.

Increases insulin resistance:

Studies have found that having higher levels of CLA in the blood can lead to lower levels of leptin, a hormone thought to regulate fat levels.

High leptin levels may play a role in obesity, one of the biggest risk factors for adult-onset diabetes.

Helps the body to mobilize accumulated fat:

It does this through a mechanism by helping to break down muscles and reduce fluids.

One study, in particular, tested the impact of a 4.5g CLA supplement on fat loss; the group taking the supplement lost about 9% more body fat than the placebo group.

Kills white (‘bad’) fat cells:

CLA’s ability to reduce body fat mass and increase lean muscle mass is not yet fully understood.

It can trigger fat cell death, shrink fat cells, and potentially speed up metabolism to promote weight loss.

How does CLA help in weight loss?

Most fat-burning claims for this fatty acid are based on its effect on the PPAR system, a family of signaling receptors related to several metabolic functions in the body, including fat-burning and steroid signaling. natural [EMM].

This is an example of how sometimes you have to eat fat to lose fat (although the amount of fat that conjugated linoleic acid adds to your diet is negligible).

As for the “fat-burning” qualities that are widely linked to the supplement, research has shown that it burns fat by increasing the levels of enzymes (lipase) and proteins that are responsible for breaking down fat.

In a real-world scenario, if you take CLA and train hard, you could burn fat more efficiently, using less protein for energy, which gives you an extra advantage: “an anti-catabolic process” [EAC].

Most experts have concluded that CLA works for weight loss because it increases the rate of energy expenditure, specifically by increasing the rate at which fat is burned.

Research conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that CLA improved fat burning during sleep.

On the other hand, we have been taught that we cannot reduce localized fat, reduce fat in specific areas, but a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2007 observed that taking CLA seemed to change the fat stored around the legs and hips. [EGR].

A third study carried out on 60 men and women in Barcelona found that CLA was shown to target “abdominal fat” [GAS].

Which of the studies on CLA in weight loss is the most prominent?

CLA effective for weight loss?

A mega-experiment published in a university scientific journal examined the effects of CLA on people. The experiment is titled “Conjugated linoleic acid reduces body fat mass in obese and overweight humans” [ESP].

In this human study, the following were evaluated:

  • The effects of CLA on lipolysis in adipose cells (the breakdown of fat in fat cells into free fatty acids).
  • Increased fatty acid oxidation of stored fat in both adipocytes (fat cells) and skeletal muscle.

Previously, it was found that the activity of lipase (enzymes that break down fats) is increased in adipocytes. In addition, fatty acid oxidation is increased due to increased carnitine palmitoyltransferase (just a long name for an enzyme involved in fat metabolism) activity in adipocytes and skeletal muscle.

The study design was a single-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with five parallel groups (statistical jargon this was a good setup for an experiment). The placebo (fake pill) was 9 grams of olive oil per day instead of CLA.

  • The amounts of CLA used were 1.7, 3.4, 5.1, and 6.8 grams of CLA per day (4 capsules of 75% pure CLA).
  • Experiment subjects made a total of three clinic visits within the 12 weeks.

The results showed a significant difference in body fat mass in the groups taking 1.7 grams, 3.4 grams, and 6.8 grams together, and significant differences within the 3.4 grams and 6.8 groups. grams. In this scenario, the 6.8-gram group significantly increased lean body mass.

Can CLA help you in general health?

Overall, while there are some promising data from animal studies on the health effects of CLA supplementation, results in human trials have been much more variable.

Populations with pre-existing conditions, such as hypertension or obesity, have been the only ones that seem to benefit from supplementation. More research is needed.

Helps the cardiovascular system:

Two studies (a meta-analysis) proved that about 4.5 g of CLA in two months can regulate blood pressure to normal levels in people with hypertension [EHT].

Strengthens the immune system:

This supplement has been shown to have beneficial effects on the immune and inflammatory response in animal models [ESI].

How does CLA work on weight loss?

The possible mechanisms of action that show that CLA can alter body composition involve metabolic changes that favor the reduction of lipogenesis and the potentiation of lipolysis, accompanied by the oxidation of fatty acids in skeletal muscle,

That would occur due to increased carnitine palmitoyl-transferase-1 activity and action or possibly due to inhibition of adipocyte differentiation.

Therefore, researchers have evaluated the action of CLA supplementation on the lipid and hormonal profile, and the activity of the enzymes involved in the oxidation process to delineate the efficacy of CLA in weight loss.

Studies have shown that the 10-trans and 12-cis isomers, unlike the 9-cis 11-trans of CLA, significantly increase lipolysis in human adipocytes and also have the function of decreasing fatty acid synthesis [ECL].

That would explain, in part, the possible mechanisms of action of CLA on body composition. Although several studies were in vitro, the metabolic hypotheses to explain the CLA body fat-reducing action were based on the control of the expression of genes involved in the differentiation of preadipocytes to mature adipocytes, that is, the expression of these genes would result in the reduction of lipogenesis.

In turn, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are nuclear transcription factors that play a central role in the storage and catabolism of fatty acids.

They are part of a class of nuclear receptors that belong to the nuclear receptor family of steroid, retinoid, and thyroid receptors.

Three isoforms of the nuclear receptor, PPAR-alpha, PPAR-beta, and PPAR-gamma, have already been identified. PPAR-alpha and beta are involved in the metabolism of lipids (especially proteins related to fatty acid oxidation) and glucose, and PPAR-gamma is involved in adipocyte differentiation.

How to take CLA in weight loss?

There are a variety of forms of CLA available, including powders and pills. But it is most commonly consumed in soft gel or capsule form.

Health and diet experts recommend taking 1 to 3 g of CLA daily for weight loss. People who weigh 70-75kg or more should take 3.5g to receive its full health benefits.

Can you take CLA every day?

Yes, it is possible to take it every day, but make sure you do not exceed the recommended dose and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

When is it better to take CLA?

The consensus is that it is most effective when taken before or during meals, which can help it be better absorbed by the body.

When should you not take CLA?

If you have high cholesterol it is best to avoid it because CLA is fat. Although the increases in LDL could be due to chance, it is not certain to measure whether it influences a significant range, which would negatively influence heart health.

What to combine CLA with?

You can combine it with L-carnitine, which works in another way parallel to CLA.

It is better to add Acetyl-L-carnitine before training and L-carnitine after training combined with 4g of CLA daily. Better 2 g in the morning with breakfast and 2 g at night with dinner, in this way you will make fat burning more efficient.


CLA has an important role in lipid metabolism, especially in the oxidative cellular system, which explains many physiological properties of fatty acids.

Its action on lipid metabolism is associated with the inhibition of glucose entry into adipocytes and can lead to changes in insulin metabolism and cause hyperinsulinemia, as well as an increase in inflammatory markers.

There is a lot of research to evaluate the influences of CLA on energy metabolism, promoting significant changes in lipid metabolism and body composition as we have already seen.

As a result, some effects can be cited such as:

  • Reduction of body fat
  • Improved insulin resistance
  • A better lipid profile is less likely to atherosclerosis
  • Modulation of the immune system.
  • Stimulation of bone mineralization
  • Lowering of blood glucose.

Ultimately, the most studied effect of CLA supplementation is its ability to alter body composition, favoring the increase in lean mass and the reduction of fat mass.

To summarize, we would like you to see this video made by MASmusculo a while ago, where they talk about the properties of CLA in weight loss.


  • [ESI] European Journal of Pharmacology – 2016:
  • [EHT] Lipids in Health and Disease:
  • [EGR] British Journal of Nutrition:
  • [EMM] The Journal of Nutrition

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