Can CLA Supplements help in Losing Weight?

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is an omega-6 polyunsaturated essential fatty acid (EFA) which is formed from linoleic acid in bacterium via a specific isomerase (a type of enzyme). This EFA is a mixture of positional and geometric isomers of linoleic acid. It is naturally occurring in meat and dairy products. In addition to reducing fat in the body, CLA has also been studied for its anticarcinogenic (anti-cancer) properties. Right now, CLA is of very high interest to scientists and nutritionists.

Can CLA Supplements help in Losing Weight?CLA has been quickly growing in popularity in the fitness world. Since its popularity is still relatively new, many people still have never heard of CLA. It is sold at almost all nutrition stores, and it is highly advertised on the Internet. Many competitive weightlifters and fitness performers have started taking this product and speak positively of its effects. CLA usually comes in 1000 milligram softgels, and is supposed to be taken with meals three to five times daily. I have taken CLA many times before, and currently, in preparation for bodybuilding. The effects were definitely felt even though I had to take it for about thirty to forty-five days until I actually started seeing a change.

Several studies, have shown  significant reductions in fat mass with CLA supplementation. One study looked at over 125 people for 2 years and found that 3.4 grams/day of CLA “reduces [body fat] in overweight humans and may help maintain initial reductions in [body fat] and weight in the long term.”  Another study published in the journal Lipids concluded the 4.2 grams/day of CLA “may reduce the proportion of body fat in humans” without affecting body weight. You can interpret that conclusion to mean that lean mass must have increased, if body composition improved without weight loss. Another study showed similar results (decreased fat without a change it weight) with a much smaller dose of only 1.8 mg/day.

Can CLA Supplements help in Losing Weight?In the last decade, many studies have looked at the role CLA may play in aiding weight loss. So far, studies on animals have revealed that CLA does reduce body fat. But to date, studies on humans have been inconsistent. Nevertheless, CLA is available in supplement form and is often an ingredient in over-the-counter slimming pills. It’s particularly interesting that this study looked at weight gain during holiday periods. Research shows that small amounts of weight gained on holiday often stay with us and are never lost. Over time, these extra few pounds gained every holiday add up to a considerable amount of excess weight. Furthermore, overweight and obese adults seem to be particularly susceptible to gaining weight during holidays. One should keep in mind that before taking any supplements it is advisable to consult a doctor.

CLA appears to help some–but not others, and its greatest value may be as a natural component of a healthy diet. One should keep in mind that there are many ingredients, components, and foods that can help you lose weight.  More and more, individual nutrition, and healthy shifts in eating patterns are forming the basis of losing weight, or maintaining a healthy weight that is good for you.