~ CLA Promotes Sustained Fat Loss

By Linda M. Smith, RN

Supplementing with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is safe, well tolerated, and leads to long-term reduction of body fat mass in overweight adults, Norwegian researchers reported recently.* Excess body fat and its associated health risks, including heart disease and diabetes, have reached epidemic status.

In this 24-month study, each of the 134 subjects received either a daily supplement of 3.4 grams of CLA or placebo. The subjects followed their normal diet and exercise routines. Measures of body composition and a range of blood markers were monitored. By the study’s end, subjects who received CLA lost 6-8% of their body fat mass (4-6 pounds), compared to no change in the placebo group. No significant changes in cholesterol profiles or measures of glucose metabolism occurred in either group. Serum leptin levels, however, dropped by as much as 35% in the CLA group, leading to decreased appetite.

This study established three important properties of CLA. First, CLA exerted most of its effect within the first six months of use, but those effects persisted for at least 24 months, the period during which most adults who have lost weight regain it. Second, while lean body mass often decreases with weight loss, individuals who supplemented with CLA increased their lean body mass while decreasing their fat mass. Finally, CLA was more effective in reducing body fat mass in those with higher body mass indices.


* Gaullier JM, Halse J, Hoye K, et al. Supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid for 24 months is well tolerated by and reduces body fat mass in healthy, overweight humans. J Nutr. 2005 Apr;135(4):778-84.

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