Cla for weight loss is a little known chemical that helps you lose weight. If you are looking to shed pounds, then it would be foolish not to look at these clinically proven supplements. There is a lot of buzz about cla pills for weight loss these days. When you read about the effects of these capsules for weight loss and the ingredients that go into them, it is easy to see why so many people are interested in them.
How CLAs Work
As aforementioned, polyunsaturated fats like CLAs are beneficial to your diet for a couple of reasons, including keeping you sated. Castillo points out, “These fats can help you lose weight because they help keep you fuller longer, which could mean less late-night snacking.”
The molecular composition of CLA fats is also a factor in weight loss, as indicated from previous studies. “CLA oil is supposed to increase the number of enzymes that are involved in breaking down fat,” says Castillo, which is supported by reviews such as one published in 2015 that references the metabolic function of CLAs.4 Poon calls these studies “promising,” adding that “studies in animals show CLA may decrease energy intake, increase energy expenditure, and inhibit the production of formation of fat cells, aiding in weight loss,” she explains, though, she forewarns, “Human studies have had mixed results.”
Richards also notes that research points to the efficacy of CLA oil to break down fats in animals at a high speed. “This leads to the concept that CLA can improve weight loss by increasing fat burning in the human body as well,” she says. However, she also points out that “human studies have not been as effective at proving this claim.”
Known Side Effects of CLAs
One of the major drawbacks of CLA fats is that there is a potential for increased inflammation, a condition that not only is associated with weight gain, but other health hazards as well. “By increasing the food sources of CLA, you are simultaneously increasing saturated fat in your diet, which can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases,” says Richards. “Supplementing with CLA can lead to chronic inflammation.”
Castillo notes that CLA can “increase C-reactive protein,” which is associated with inflammation and liver damage.
Poon also warns that consuming too much CLA may “slow blood clotting, and may lead to an accumulation of fat in the liver.”
How to Use CLAs Safely
In weighing the pros and cons of consuming CLAs for fat-burning potential, Poon advises people to limit their dosage: “3.4-6.8g per day has been found to be effective for weight loss in overweight or obese people.” For people who are not overweight or obese, it’s best to discuss with your doctor or nutritionist whether you should add CLA fats to your diet if you want to lose weight.
Finally, all our experts agree that it’s best to avoid CLA supplements and ingest the fats as they naturally occur in foods. “Generally, I would recommend that people get their CLA from food, specifically grass-fed animals, instead of the supplement form,” says Poon. “CLA supplements are made from chemically altered vegetable oil.”
Does Safflower Oil Contain CLA?
The notion of taking safflower oil for weight loss became popular through the weight loss company SafSlim, which claimed that its high-linoleic safflower oil would help reduce belly fat; this could in turn confuse consumers into thinking the oil contains a substantial amount of CLA.
However, safflower oil may contain as little as 0.7 mg CLA per gram fat. Even more confusing is that supplements labeled “CLA safflower oil” are a result of chemical processes which convert the linoleic acid in safflower oil into a form of CLA, but this is all done in a lab and not the result of safflower oil having high natural CLA content.
CLA Supplement Costs
As with most diet pills and supplements, you’ll find a wide range of prices for conjugated linoleic acid supplements. You’ll see 90-pill bottles for as little as $15 online. But you’ll also see similarly sized bottles of popular brands for $50 or more.
To calculate the total cost of taking CLA, make sure you take dosage into account. For example, many pills contain 1 gram or less of CLA per pill. Since the standard dose is 3.4 grams per day, you have to plan to take 3 pills per day. So a 90-pill bottle will last one month. If you buy the more expensive supplement, your total cost per year could be as high as $600.
CLA Supplement Side Effects and Risks
According to several medical sources, there are risks associated with taking these diet pills. Some studies have indicated that taking a conjugated linoleic acid supplement may increase insulin resistance. This could be a concern for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes. They also report some people taking CLA supplements experienced a decrease in HDL cholesterol. HDL is what we refer to as “good” cholesterol, so a decrease in HDL is not a good thing.
Large Doses May Cause Serious Side Effects
Evidence suggests that getting small amounts of natural CLA from food is beneficial.
However, the CLA found in supplements is made by chemically altering linoleic acid from vegetable oils. They are usually of a different form than the CLA found naturally in foods.
Supplemental doses are also much higher than the amounts people get from dairy or meat.
As is often the case, some molecules and nutrients are beneficial when found in natural amounts in real foods — but become harmful when taken in large doses.
Studies indicate that this is the case with CLA supplements.
Large doses of supplemental CLA can cause increased accumulation of fat in your liver, which is a stepping stone towards metabolic syndrome and diabetes
Numerous studies in both animals and humans reveal that CLA can drive inflammation, cause insulin resistance and lower “good” HDL cholesterol
Keep in mind that many of the relevant animal studies used doses much higher than those people get from supplements.
However, some human studies using reasonable doses indicate that CLA supplements may cause several mild or moderate side effects, including diarrhea, insulin resistance and oxidative stress
The CLA found in most supplements is different from the CLA found naturally in foods. Several animal studies have observed harmful side effects from CLA, such as increased liver fat.
Dosage and Safety
Most studies on CLA have used doses of 3.2–6.4 grams per day.
One review concluded that a minimum of 3 grams daily is necessary for weight loss (40Trusted Source).
Doses of up to 6 grams per day are considered safe, with no reports of serious adverse side effects in people (41Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source).
The FDA allows CLA to be added to foods and gives it a GRAS (generally regarded as safe) status.
However, bear in mind that the risk of side effects increases as your dosage increases.
Studies on CLA have generally used doses of 3.2–6.4 grams per day. Evidence suggests it doesn’t cause any serious adverse effects at doses up to 6 grams per day, but higher doses increase the risks.
Differences between Safflower Oil and Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Safflower oil and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) are popular options in burning fat and reducing obesity.
A number of empirical studies have shown that both these substances are effective in facilitating weight loss. There is, however, ongoing debate with regards to the superiority of each substance. Alongside this issue is the misconception that safflower oil and CLA are actually the same substances, despite several differences existing between the two.
Composition and Properties
Safflower is an oilseed crop that is generally used for oil production. It is prominent in Asia, South America, and North America, but is popular in many other areas of the world for its numerous applications. Safflower oil is a polyunsaturated edible oil derived from the safflower plant and contains mild to moderated comedogenicity. The oil itself is composed of linoleic acid triglycerides and oleic acids, both of which could be utilized in the natural reduction of body fat.
On the other hand, CLA is derived from linoleic acid. CLA is a fatty acid supplement that is composed of cis-9, trans-11, trans-10 and cis-12. The formulation of CLA is facilitated during the initial biohydrogenation of the linoleic acid through the bacterium Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens. Unlike safflower oil, CLA is found in meat and dairy products, particularly in grass-fed animals, and is thought to have fat burning properties.
Safflower oil has been empiricallyproven to reduce fat, making it a natural oil of choice among consumers. Empirical studies on the effects of safflower oil on fat reduction concluded that the oil specifically targets abdominal fat and certain areas of the body, but not the total body mass as a whole. Subsequent research found that safflower oil supplements do not affect body mass index (BMI) or total adipose mass, but rather influence trunk adipose mass (reduction) and lean mass (increase).
Meanwhile, the effects of CLA have initially been tested on animals, discovering that the acid could reduce total body mass relative to CLA dosage. Over the years, researchers sought to examine whether similar effects could be found when applied to human subjects. For instance, research was conducted which included one control group (receiving 9 grams of olive oil as a placebo supplement) and an experimental group (receiving 1.7 to 6.8 grams of CLA) for a period of 12 weeks.
Results of the study showed that participants from the experimental group received a significantly higher reduction in body mass in comparison to the placebo group. It was also discovered that varying dosages could affect body mass reduction. .CLA dosages greater than 3.4 grams per day rated as the minimum requirement to significantly reduce body fat within a 12-week period. Despite these results, no significant changes were recorded in terms of lean body mass and blood lipids between the control and experimental groups. Another study found similar results, with BMI found to be reduced as a total effect of CLA.
These findings suggest that safflower oil and CLA target different areas of the body in terms of weight reduction. Some studies have tried to integrate both substances into a singular application and found that such pairing may help reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus, especially amongst pregnant women.
“While I do acknowledge that CLA has been effective for some for weight loss, I would consider it preferential,” says Poon. In other words, as previously mentioned, those who are overweight or obese have seen the greatest results from adding a limited dosage of CLAs to their diet.
Also, don’t assume that promising clinical trials on animals necessarily makes CLA a panacea for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
“I would recommend working with a dietitian,” says Castillo. “If this is not something you can do at this time, then monitor your intake for a week and see where you can make changes.”
Indeed, the bottom line reinforces the basics of weight loss we all know by now. “I recommend improving your weight loss by consuming a balanced diet focused on anti-inflammatory foods that are rich in nutrients and low in calories,” says Richards.