CLA and Weight Loss

What is CLA? CLA stands for conjugated linoleic acid, a naturally-occurring fatty acid usually found in meat, dairy products, eggs, and some variety of mushrooms. CLA has become popular as a weight loss supplement, thanks to research showing its potential in reducing body fat. Most CLA supplements are derived from plant sources, specifically safflower oil. In this article, we will discuss the connection between CLA and weight loss.

CLA and Weight Loss – The Connection

1. Increases Metabolism

Among the ways that CLA can help with weight loss is its ability to increase metabolism. Energy expenditure represents the total amount of energy you use each day. This measurement is one important metric when determining if you are going to lose weight and if you are going to keep that weight off after you lose it.

For this reason, supplements that increase energy expenditure (i.e. metabolism) have the potential to aid in weight loss. CLA raises energy expenditure by promoting energy and heat production, increasing the basal metabolic rate, and increasing the amount of fat burned at rest (lipid oxidation).

2. Reduces Fat Cell Synthesis

CLA and Weight Loss
CLA and Weight Loss

Aside from increasing the amount of calories burned, CLA may help prevent the creation of new fat cells. CLA inhibits adipogenesis. This occurs through activation of certain factors which upregulate PPAR gamma and enhancer binding proteins. The activation of these factors suppresses fat cell generation.

Certain foods promote weight loss by increasing energy consumption and reducing fat storage. Just like MCT oil, CLA may help promote weight loss by helping to prevent the body from storing fat.

3. Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation can cause many health problems, ranging from weight gain to cancer. Because of this, attention has been given to therapies that can help reduce inflammation in the body.

CLA has anti-inflammatory properties and is said to have anti-cholesterol and anti-cancer effects. It has been shown to help reduce intestinal inflammation and systemic (whole body) inflammation. Though it’s still not yet clear how CLA reduces inflammation, this health benefit is something to consider.

4. Has Anti-Diabetic Properties

Insulin resistance is a major problem among many people in the US. This condition stems from inflammation, metabolic disorders, and over-consumption of sugar and carbohydrates. Insulin is a fat storage hormone that promotes storage of calories as fat and adipose tissue in the body. Because of this, treating this condition is important in managing weight loss.

CLA has been shown to have anti-diabetic properties. Daily consumption of CLA for 3 months can increase proinsulin, adiponectin, and c-peptide concentrations. To put it simply, CLA may increase insulin sensitivity, and in the process, may help fight diabetes.

5. Suppresses Appetite

CLA and Weight Loss
CLA and Weight Loss

The use of CLA has been shown to reduce appetite and promote satiety (sensation of being full). To suppress appetite, you can take CLA first thing in the morning. This seems to be effective in reducing carbohydrate and sugar cravings.

CLA can be used to reduce intake of excessive calories, but shouldn’t be used to promote caloric restriction (less than 1,200 calories/day). While reducing your appetite may help you lose weight, it is also important that you don’t go overboard. Long-term appetite suppression may lead to metabolic problems and weight gain overtime.

Does CLA Have Any Side Effects?

In general, CLA tends to be well-tolerated by the body. However, some people may experience mild symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, nausea, and fatigue. If you have an existing medical condition or are taking any medications, consult a doctor before taking CLA supplements. Also, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, don’t take CLA (just to be safe).


CLA may help you lose weight. It increases metabolism, reduces fat storage, and suppresses food cravings. Many CLA supplements come from plant sources, specifically from 100% safflower oil. They come in capsule or softgel form. Typically, each softgel is 1,000 mg, to be taken three times a day. For optimum results, take CLA for at least 3 months. You might want to read a review of one of the best-selling CLA supplements, or buy CLA here.

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