CLA: Conjugated Linoleic Acid (A Sweet and Simple Guide)

CLA stands for conjugated linoleic acid. It is a popular supplement used by the athletic community. It has been linked to weight loss and is termed an essential fatty acid.

This means we must consume it in our diet in order that our bodies function optimally.

What is CLA?

CLAs are a group of chemicals found in the fatty acid linoleic acid. This is also known as omega 6 fatty acid. It has numerous health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts.

It is sometimes confused with the mass produced industrial trans fats which can be very harmful to your health. CLA are different from these.

Deficiencies in Omega 6 fatty acids causes mild skin scaling, hair loss and poor wound healing. Anecdotally, supplementing CLAs has been shown to produce a visible improvement in the appearance of your skin and the condition of your hair.

What Foods Contain Linoleic Acid?

The most common dietary source of CLA is from beef and dairy. This highlights an obvious issue for anyone following a vegan diet as they are likely to be naturally deficient in CLAs. CLA supplements are derived from vegetable oils so avoids animal products, perfect for the health conscious vegetarian

Supplementing CLA has been linked to weight loss but there is unfortunately no concrete evidence to back this up. Anecdotally though, people have found it to help with their weight loss progress and if taken in correct amounts it has never been shown to do harm.

Studies have shown that supplementing CLA has linked to improved metabolic health and lower risk of diabetes and heart disease. This is good news for long term health benefits but supplementing more than the recommended levels can cause accumulation of the CLAs in your liver which can cause health issues.

How To Take CLA

The recommended dose is around 3g – 6g of CLA per day.

A study was carried out where a high dose (7.5g of CLA) was taken for 1 year and no adverse effects were found clinically. This means you would likely have to seriously overdose to end up with health issues.

It seems that in moderation it would appear to offer positive health benefits but overdosing is not recommended.

Supplementing CLA

My Protein has CLA available in capsule form. The product is derived from safflower oil. The gel capsule makes them easy to take. Supplementing them alongside products like thermopure (for more information see The Benefits of Thermopure) can make a huge difference to weight loss.

MyProtein also has CLA available in powder form. 5g of powder provides your 3g CLA serving. This is a convenient form to add to a protein shake so very easy to take if you’re supplementing protein anyway.

The downside of the powder form of the supplements is they do contain milk products so is not vegan friendly. The capsule also contains gelatin so again, not suitable for vegans.

  • 1000mg of omega-6 fatty acid per serving
  • The softgel makes these very easy to swallow
  • Better value than the powder option
  • 3g of CLA per 5g serving – your recommended dose in one scoop!
  • Mixes easily

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Got any questions about CLA? Have you tried it yourself?
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