Benefits of Conjugated Linoleic Acid

Ask the Expert

Q:

I have been reading about conjugated linoleic acid and its benefits. It seems that the results are good in animals, but as far as I've found, no substantiated positive tests in humans. Have you heard otherwise?


A:

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a fatty acid found naturally in meat, poultry, eggs and dairy foods. Supplements of CLA, which contain much more CLA than food sources, are currently sold as a fat burner for weight loss and are derived from sunflower oil. There is some evidence, although limited, that conjugated linoleic acid supplements can increase fat loss in overweight people. It's not clear how CLA helps the body burn fat. One study found that CLA may help the body burn and lose fat by increasing energy expenditure. The consensus from 17 published studies in human subjects is that CLA does not affect body weight or body composition. In addition, CLA may adversely affect blood glucose and blood lipid levels; safety and toxicity levels haven't yet been established. Until more is known, CLA supplementation in people should be considered with caution. Check with your health care professional before taking a CLA supplement.

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