Cla pills for weight loss have been used for many years as a natural way to help individuals lose extra body fat from around the waist, reduce cravings and speed up metabolism. The best cla pills for weight loss are made from natural ingredients that are proven to be effective. The pills contain ingredients like Chromium and sweet clover which help the body metabolise and burn energy faster, so there is an increase in energy expenditure.
What Is CLA?
Linoleic acid is the most common omega-6 fatty acid, found in large amounts in vegetable oils but also in various other foods in smaller amounts.
The “conjugated” prefix has to do with the arrangement of the double bonds in the fatty acid molecule.
There are 28 different forms of CLA
The difference between these forms is that their double bonds are arranged in various ways. It’s important to keep in mind that something as minuscule as this can make a world of difference to our cells.
CLA is essentially a type of polyunsaturated, omega-6 fatty acid. In other words, it’s technically a trans fat — but a natural type of trans fat that occurs in many healthy foods
Numerous studies show that industrial trans fats — which are different from natural trans fats like CLA — are harmful when consumed in high amounts
CLA is a type of omega-6 fatty acid. While it is technically a trans fat, it’s very different from the industrial trans fats that harm your health.
Found in Beef and Dairy — Particularly From Grass-Fed Animals
The main dietary sources of CLA are the meat and milk of ruminants, such as cows, goats and sheep.
The total amounts of CLA in these foods varies greatly depending on what the animals ate
For example, the CLA content is 300–500% higher in beef and dairy from grass-fed cows than grain-fed cows .
Most people already ingest some CLA through their diet. The average intake in the US is about 151 mg per day for women and 212 mg for men
Keep in mind that the CLA you find in supplements is not derived from natural foods but made by chemically altering linoleic acid found in vegetable oils
The balance of the different forms is heavily distorted in supplements. They contain types of CLA never found in large amounts in nature
For this reason, CLA supplements do not provide the same health effects as CLA from foods.
The main dietary sources of CLA are dairy and meat from cows, goats and sheep, whereas CLA supplements are made by chemically altering vegetable oils.
Can It Aid Fat Burning and Weight Loss?
The biological activity of CLA was first discovered by researchers who noted that it could help fight cancer in mice
Later, other researchers determined that it could also reduce body fat levels
As obesity increased worldwide, interest grew in CLA as a potential weight loss treatment.
In fact, CLA may be one of the most comprehensively studied weight loss supplement in the world.
Animal studies suggest that CLA may reduce body fat in several ways
In mouse studies, it was found to reduce food intake, increase fat burning, stimulate fat breakdown and inhibit fat production
CLA has also been studied extensively in randomized controlled trials, the gold standard of scientific experimentation in humans — though with mixed results.
Some studies indicate that CLA can cause significant fat loss in humans. It may also improve body composition by reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass
However, many studies show no effect at all (
In a review of 18 controlled trials, CLA was found to cause modest fat loss
The effects are most pronounced during the first six months, after which fat loss plateaus for up to two years.
According to this paper, CLA can cause an average fat loss of 0.2 pounds (01. kg) per week for about six months.
Another review gathered that CLA caused about 3 pounds (1.3 kg) more weight loss than a placebo
While these weight loss effects may be statistically significant, they are small — and there is potential for side effects.
Though CLA supplements are linked to fat loss, the effects are small, unreliable and unlikely to make a difference in everyday life.
Potential Health Benefits
In nature, CLA is mostly found in the fatty meat and dairy of ruminant animals.
Many long-term observational studies have assessed disease risk in people who consume larger amounts of CLA.
Notably, people who get a lot of CLA from foods are at a lower risk of various diseases, including type 2 diabetes and cancer
Additionally, studies in countries where cows predominantly eat grass — rather than grain — show that people with the most CLA in their bodies have a lower risk of heart disease
However, this lower risk could also be caused by other protective components in grass-fed animal products, such as vitamin K2.
Of course, grass-fed beef and dairy products are healthy for various other reasons.
Many studies show that people who eat the most CLA have improved metabolic health and a lower risk of many diseases.
Other Benefits Of CLA
You can reap the benefits of taking CLA by consuming specific foods or taking a daily supplement. Whether you use CLA to encourage weight loss alongside exercising regularly or alone, burning fat is not all this fatty acid can do. In addition to meeting your weight loss goals, you may also enjoy other beneficial properties of CLA.
- Targets stubborn belly fat
- Maintains lean muscle
- Improves heart health
- Improves the immune system
- Improves bone health
- Supports hair growth and scalp health
Reduce Belly Fat
CLA works hard to get rid of belly fat because it increases the body’s basal metabolic rates, so it more efficiently converts food into energy. Also, CLA likes to accumulate in the body’s muscle tissues to trigger fat cell death and shrink fat cells. Research in the International Journal of Obesity displayed a connection to CLA and a reduction in abdominal fat in overweight men.
Maintain Lean Muscle
Bodybuilders and exercise enthusiasts love using CLA compared to creatine. According to studies in animal populations, supplemental CLA led to an increase in total body mass from 36% to 57% and a reduction in fat mass from 27% to 60%. Many supplements may reduce gaining muscle mass and lead to overall body shrinkage. However, CLA may prove beneficial for inhibiting fat cell storage and production, as well as raise energy levels for working out. Taking CLA may be helpful for muscle metabolism too.
Support A Healthy Heart
Eating food that is a significant source of CLA may prove helpful to heart health. Harvard School of Public Health conducted research connecting a reduced risk of coronary heart disease to dietary linoleic acid. The director of UA-Madison’s Food Research, Michael Pariza, found that CLA has anti-carcinogenic properties and reduces heart disease in rabbits. Pariza wants to conduct future clinical trials to understand the benefits of CLA on humans. However, CLA may impact blood clotting.
Boost Immune System
Taking a CLA supplement may provide benefits to the immune system. There are anti-inflammatory qualities within CLA, and this fatty acid regulates the body’s immune system and inflammation response. Additionally, because CLA has a positive effect on the liver and encourages detoxification, it boosts health.
Support Bone Health
Adding CLA supplements can be good for your bones and joints. Since CLA has anti-inflammatory properties, it may help reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Also, elderly adults have shown positive responses with the use of CLA. Health problems like osteoporosis can make life difficult, and taking CLA with calcium helps improve bone mass and reduces bone resorption.
Grow Hair Fast
Use CLA to help encourage longer, stronger, healthier hair. The linoleic acid in sources like safflower oil helps increase circulation to stimulate the scalp and hair growth. Regularly consuming CLA leads to shiny, healthy hair and stronger hair follicles.
CLA Weight Loss Results
Many ads for CLA supplements say that there is scientific proof that conjugated linoleic acid helps you burn body fat and slim down. The ads aren’t necessarily incorrect. But the sources usually don’t tell you how much you’ll lose. And that’s where things get tricky.
There have been some very promising studies indicating that CLA can improve body composition and weight loss. But many of the early studies were done on mice. Some were also done on pigs. When researchers tried the same experiments on people, the results were not as clear.
In the studies that demonstrated weight loss in humans, the amount of weight lost with CLA is usually fairly small. For example, a study published in the journal Nutrition demonstrated that over a 12-week period, people taking CLA lost about one pound more than those not taking CLA. That’s less than a tenth of a pound per week. The decrease in body fat percent was very small as well. People taking a CLA supplement saw a decrease in body fat that was less than a half percentage point lower than those not taking the pill.
Other studies had similar results. In a 2007 report, researchers evaluated the results from eighteen studies where participants took the supplement for a longer period of time (6 months to 2 years). The scientists reported that on average, the people who took a CLA supplement lost more fat than those not taking CLA, but the amount averaged less than a quarter of a pound per week.
There are also many studies that demonstrate no long-term weight loss and/or no fat loss in human participants
Severely overweight or obese persons consuming CLA should be cautious. There have been signs that CLA may trigger insulin resistance in heavier adults who are more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Always look for any ill side effects and consult your physician before taking a supplement, especially if using prescription medication.
Persons who have diabetes or an existing condition that impacts their liver or metabolism may want to be careful with CLA. Taking this supplement may cause problems with absorbing sugar, headache, diarrhea, upset stomach, fatigue, or nausea. CLA may also cause a reduction in good and bad cholesterol.
How does CLA work?
The mechanism by which it reduces body fat is still up for debate. It’s thought to modulate fat metabolism, which helps your body use food for energy.3 There is also some evidence that it reduces the accumulation of triglycerides and adipocyte differentiation—a complicated way of saying it keeps you from building fat stores. Another theory is that CLA causes weight and fat loss because it boosts the body’s metabolism by increasing your energy expenditure and fat burning.
Claim 1: CLA supplements boost metabolism by increasing the amount and rate that the body burns calories and fat.
One randomized controlled trial looked at the impact that a 3.2g CLA supplement (a relatively high dose) had on the metabolism of overweight but otherwise healthy adults. People who took the supplement burned fat stores more efficiently, used less protein for energy (aka maintained muscle mass), and burned more energy while they slept compared to the placebo group.2
Another study tested the impact of an even higher dose—3.76g—on fat burning and energy expenditure for a few months.4 Results showed that CLA did in fact increase the rate of energy expenditure, specifically by increasing the rate of fat burning.4
Key takeaway: These studies conclude that CLA supplements boost the metabolism in modest amounts. By increasing fat metabolism, the body is able to increase the amount of calories that it is able to burn off each day and utilize its energy stores more efficiently.
Claim 2: CLA supplements lead to weight loss.
A separate study looked at the short-term effect of a 3.4g CLA supplement on body weight in obese men.7 However, it resulted in an average weight change of just one pound in four weeks.
Another study looked at the impact of a higher dosage of CLA (6.4g) on body weight in obese women.8 This study found that taking CLA was associated with a lower BMI and lower fat tissue after 36 weeks.
Key takeaway: These studies reveal a minimal decrease in overall weight as a result of CLA supplementation.
Claim 3: CLA supplements decrease a person’s fat stores.
Weight loss doesn’t always mean fat loss—it could also be due to things like muscle breakdown and a reduction of fluids. So a separate trial sought to test the impact of a 4.5g CLA supplement on fat loss in overweight but otherwise healthy people for one year. The group taking the CLA supplement lost close to 9% more body fat than the placebo group, which amounted to 5.5 pounds after one year.5
Another study looked at the impact of long-term (two year) supplementation of 3.4g of CLA.6 Subjects who lost body fat in the first year of the study were able to keep it off for the entire two years, averaging 6 pounds of body fat lost. This is important, because the year after initial weight loss is typically the most common time for regaining lost fat.
Key takeaway: These studies provide evidence of modest body fat loss from CLA supplements. Taking CLA supplements has a beneficial impact on body fat loss in the first year, and continuing to take the supplements keeps the fat off in the following years.