Can You Lose Weight Taking CLA Supplements?

Conjugated linoleic acid, commonly known as CLA, has a reputation for helping people to lose weight. However, as is the case with many supplements, the actual effectiveness of CLA is a bit of a mystery. Even if taking CLA does help you lose weight, there are other factors that must be considered before you can feel comfortable taking CLA. Consult your physician before taking supplements.

A woman is holding a supplement gel pill. (Image: Blackzheep/iStock/Getty Images)

CLA Basics and Benefits

Conjugated linoleic acid is a fatty acid that is said to have powerful effects when it comes to losing weight. CLA is particularly known for attacking and reducing fat in your abdominal area. CLA supplements usually come in pill form, are relatively inexpensive, and are found at most vitamin stores and drugstores. CLA may not only benefit weight loss, according to the polish medical journal "Postepy Hig Med Dosw." Researchers state that CLA is found to not only help fight obesity, but it also has positive results against heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, inflammation and breast cancer.

CLA Facts

A study published in the "Journal of International Medical Research" states that participants who took CLA experienced a modest weight reduction in comparison to those who took a placebo. However, the numbers show that this amount is actually rather minuscule; the difference between the CLA group and the placebo group is just 1.5 pounds. This could be explained by any number of factors and does not indicate that CLA was the main factor in the weight loss.

Side Effects

Worse are the risks that may be taken by consuming CLA on a regular basis. According to "The New York Times," these risks include an increased chance of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. While these studies are by no means conclusive, when combined with the relative ineffectiveness of CLA as a weight loss aid, it does not paint a great picture for the health benefits of conjugated linoleic acid.

Weight Loss Supplementation

Supplements like CLA have minor weight loss benefits, but no pill can help you lose weight by itself. The only real way to lose weight is by exercising regularly and sticking to a healthy diet. Doing this will render pills like CLA obsolete, as they don't necessarily make you any healthier. In the case of CLA, the dangers of consumption may outweigh the benefits by a significant margin.

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