Losing weight can be tricky, so sometimes you may want to look for a little outside help to give you a boost. If you want to go a more natural route, one potential option is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is already found in many foods. Here’s what you need to know about CLA.
What is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)?
Conjugated linoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid that’s in meat, dairy, and some oil products, like vegetable oil. Animal and human studies have determined that CLA may have several purported health benefits. There’s evidence that it could help shed those extra pounds by reducing appetite levels while increasing fat burn and breakdown, as well as slowing fat production. However, it’s not necessarily the supplement to depend on if you’re looking for double- or triple-digit weight loss results. For instance, one study found that it helped people shed an extra five pounds over the course of six months without changing their diet or exercise habits.
Numerous studies have also linked people who consume foods with higher amounts of conjugated linoleic acid to lower risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Researchers are clear, however, that their work is in its early stages and that more time needs to be spent on the subject.
What are its side effects?
CLA’s side effects are relatively mild even if you take it in supplement form and most commonly include nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, and stomach aches. Studies have included dosages up to six grams per day without health issues. People who are pregnant or nursing as well as folks who have blood, metabolic, and/or diabetic disorders should stay away from it.
However, scientists are still working out the long-term impacts of taking CLA over many months and years, so that’s something to keep in mind.
How should you take it?
If you’re looking to get more conjugated linoleic acid through your diet, try meat and dairy products from animals like sheep, cows, and goats. Early research also shows that grass-fed animals have a higher CLA content than grain-fed ones, so that’s something to consider when grocery shopping.
That said, there are also oral capsules you can take for additional CLA (Buy on Amazon, $22.95). As with any weight loss-related supplement, just be sure to chat with your doctor and do your research before getting started.