Is CLA Supplement Effective for Fat Loss: Analysis of Current Research and Scientific Evidence

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Can CLA supplements help us lose weight?

CLA supplements are pretty popular with people who want to lose weight. CLA pills and syrups fly off the shelves based on the claims of fat loss.

But does science back up the claims behind CLA? Is CLA effective for losing weight?

In today’s blog, we will separate fact from fiction and reveal the truth about CLA supplements. By the end, we will walk away with vital insights to know if we should put our money on CLA.

So, let’s explore how CLA supplements got their weight-loss fame.

Are CLA supplements Effective for Fat Loss?

CLA or conjugated linoleic acid is a type of omega 6 fatty acid. It is present in animal meat and a range of food products. In addition, there are several types of CLA found in our diet or supplements.

CLA first got popular for its ability to counter cancer in mice. However, some researchers found CLA to reduce fat in rodents.

In studies, mice were even able to lose up to 60% of their weight. That sounds nice, right?

Animal studies on CLA’s effect on fat loss seem to be promising. However, that doesn’t mean we can conclude the same for humans.

Can CLA Supplements Cause Fat Loss in Humans?

Scientists have conducted endless studies on CLA and weight loss. They have even followed the best standards and conducted clinical trials to arrive at definite conclusions.

However, they aren’t fully satisfied.

According to Healthline, evidence on CLA supplements and fat loss is contradicting. Several studies note a reduction in weight, while others found no change.

In some studies, participants even gained weight after taking CLA supplements.

So, what can we conclude from this?

Healthline says CLA is not effective in helping us lose weight. The reduction noted in studies is small and won’t cause any significant changes.

Additionally, CLA supplements may even lead to side effects.

Some Researchers Don’t Agree

Not all scientists are ready to accept the defeat of CLA. They are conducting new studies and using new methods of assessing changes in body fat.

Jean-Michel Gaullier, Ph.D., is a scientist who believes CLA supplements can cause fat loss. He is a leading researcher with the Scandinavian Clinical Research Group and conducting a new study.

The difference in the study is the use of DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) to measure body fat change. It is quite advanced and provides an accurate result of any change in body fat.

On the other hand, other studies used methods like BMI or changes in weight to study the effects of CLA.

Dr. Gaullier found promising results after using DEXA to study if CLA supplements were worth their money. According to him, overweight women in his study lost 9% of body fat in one year after taking CLA.

However, CLA caused a change in some risk factors of heart diseases. As per Dr. Gaullier, the changes are trivial and aren’t a cause of concern.

Take the Findings with a Pinch of Salt

Cindy Moore, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, commented on Dr. Gaullier’s study. She is an MS, RD, and Cleveland Clinic’s nutrition therapy department’s director.

As per Dr. Moore, we need more research to understand the effects of CLA. Additionally, she recommended more investigation to study the risk factor of diseases.

Even DEXA Provides Conflicting Results

We decided to follow the steps of Dr. Gaullier and research for more information on his evaluation methods. DEXA is indeed a better way to measure body composition, so we decided to look into it.

Interestingly, we found a few studies that used DEXA to measure changes in body fat after taking CLA supplements. Below is a roundup of the research with applicable findings:

AuthorsParticipantsStudy durationResultsLocation
Blankson and others (2000)60 obese adults12 weeksCLA reduced body fat massNorway
Zambell and others (2000)17 healthy adults16 weeksNo change in body weightUSA
Berven and others (2000)60 overweight and obese adults12 weeksCLA reduced BMI and mean body weightNorway
Steck and others (2007)48 obese and healthy adults12 weeksCLA increased lean body massUSA
Kreider and others (2002)23 healthy adults7 weeksNo change in fat massUSA
Malpuech and others (2004)81 overweight individuals18 weeksNo change in body compositionNetherlands
Laso and others (2007)60 overweight adults12 weeksCLA reduced body fat massSpain
Raff and others (2009)81 postmenopausal women8 weeksCLA reduced body fatDenmark

As we can see, studies are coming up with conflicting findings. Some are deriving positive results, while others find no effects of CLA on fat loss.

As a result, we cannot recommend CLA supplements to lose weight or burn fat. Additionally, we need more research spanning over months to establish the effects of CLA.

Few More Facts on CLA Supplements and Fat Loss

CLA supplements don’t have any noticeable results for fat burning. However, that is not the only thing that points to its inefficacy.

According to, the amount of CLA we take is not related to noted changes in body composition. Therefore, we cannot burn more fat by consuming more CLA supplements.

Additionally, the type of CLA supplement we take can also impact the results. CLA trans-10, cis-12 isomer seems to be the best to reduce body fat.

However, it is rare to find a CLA supplement that uses only trans-10, cis-12 isomer. Manufacturers generally combine different types of CLA, and specific types are not available.

As a result, CLA supplements are more likely to disappoint those trying to lose weight.

In addition, CLA supplements provide results for only six months, as per Healthline. After that, the fat loss becomes stagnant and doesn’t cause significant changes.

Therefore, CLA may not be the ideal way to lose body fat.

Final Thoughts

CLA supplements don’t seem to have any significant effects on fat loss. They may cause a bit of reduction for a short time that is not very noticeable. We need more research before we can recommend CLA supplements for weight loss. Current evidence is not very promising and often conflicting. Therefore, it is better to try other alternatives that can help us lose weight. Along with that, ensure to exercise and eat a proper diet.


Can CLA reduce belly fat?

Evidence on CLA’s effect on fat loss is conflicting. According to trusted sources, CLA is not effective in helping us burn or lose fat. Therefore, CLA cannot reduce our belly fat or body fat to provide any noticeable results.

Can CLA reduce body fat?

CLA is not effective in reducing body fat. We don’t have enough long-term studies to recommend CLA for fat loss. So, it is a better decision to exercise and lose weight naturally. Eating a proper diet is also essential for losing weight.

How long does CLA take to burn fat?

According to some studies, CLA may reduce 1 kilo of body weight per week. However, the weight loss from CLA reaches a plateau after six months and becomes almost stagnant. Additionally, CLA can cause side effects and may not be suitable for long-term use.

How to lose weight with CLA?

CLA is not going to help anyone lose weight. We need to eat a proper diet and work out to cut down body fat and become leaner. No supplement is going to work like magic to burn fat.

Can CLA cause weight gain?

CLA has caused an increase in weight in some studies. However, the effects of CLA can vary from one person to another. Consult a medical professional for the best advice.

Can CLA work without exercising?

No supplement can reduce weight or work without exercising. We need to increase our heartbeat and burn more calories than we eat to lose weight. Supplements can only provide a bit of push by acting as a catalyst.

Can CLA reduce appetite?

Animal studies show CLA to suppress appetite. However, the same results do not apply to humans. Therefore, CLA will not make us feel less hungry or curb our cravings.