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Home > Anti-aging Research > Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

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News & Research:

  • Clinical trial supports CLA’s weight management in obese Chinese - Nutra USA, 2/17/12 - "Twelve weeks of supplementation produced an average 0.7 kg decrease in body weight and an average decrease in total body fat of 0.6 kg ... milk supplemented with CLA (3.4 g/d for 12 wk) ... used the Tonalin branded ingredient from BASF" - [Abstract] - See conjugated linoleic acid at Amazon.com.
  • Resveratrol may be useful tool for reducing body fat - Science Daily, 3/4/11 - "This thesis shows, on the one hand, the results obtained after treatment with CLA in hamsters subjected to energy restriction and, on the other, the effect of resveratrol on accumulated fat and lipolytic activity in cell cultures of adipocytes of murinae and humans. The results obtained show that CLA does not foment weight or body fat loss, induced by an energy restriction diet. Neither does it induce greater lipolysis, nor improvement in serum parameters, in glucose homeostasis or insulin function to any greater extent than with the slimming diet itself. On the contrary, resveratrol reduces the accumulation of triglycerides, in part by activation of lipolysis, in both the adipocytes of mice and of humans ... For all these reasons, it can be concluded that, while CLA may not be a molecule useful in treating obesity, when resveratrol is included in hypocaloric diet, it could well be a useful tool for reducing body fat" - See resveratrol products at Amazon.com and conjugated linoleic acid at Amazon.com.
  • Designer probiotics could reduce obesity - Science Daily, 12/22/10 - "engineered a strain of Lactobacillus to produce a version of a molecule called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). When this engineered bacterial strain was fed to mice, the researchers found that the composition of the mice's fat tissue was significantly altered ... One type, called t10, c12 CLA, has been shown to be associated with decreased body fat in humans and other animals. t10, c12 CLA also has the ability to inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells and induce their death. However, this type of CLA is only produced by certain types of bacteria including Propionibacterium acnes -- a skin bacterium that can cause acne ... In this study, an enzyme-encoding gene from P. acnes was transferred to the Lactobacillus strain allowing it to produce t10, c12 CLA ... CLA has already been shown to alleviate non-alcoholic fatty liver disease that often accompanies obesity. Therefore, increasing levels of CLA in the liver by ingestion of a probiotic strain is of therapeutic relevance ... The same group of researchers previously found that microbially produced CLA was able to reduce the viability of colon cancer cells by 92%"
  • Got fish? Nutrition studies explore health benefits - Science Daily, 10/8/10 - "DHA protected the animals against two harmful side effects of CLA: CLA-induced insulin resistance and CLA-induced non-alcoholic fatty-liver disease. In contrast, EPA offered only partial protection against CLA-induced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and provided no protection against insulin resistance" - See Mega Twin EPA at Amazon.com and Jarrow Max DHA at Amazon.com.
  • CLA may protect against elderly muscle loss - Nutra USA, 7/24/09 - "Supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) prevented age-related muscle loss in mice ... After six months the researchers note that both the trans-10 cis-12 and CLA-mix showed “significantly higher muscle mass, as compared to corn oil and cis-9 trans-11 CLA groups” ... Both groups also exhibited increased cellular energy production (ATP), as well as higher levels of the antioxidant enzymes catalase and glutathione peroxidase in the muscles, compared to the corn oil and cis-9 trans-11 CLA groups"
  • Two Dietary Oils, Two Sets Of Benefits For Older Women With Diabetes - Science Daily, 7/15/09 - "In the study, 16 weeks of supplementation with safflower oil reduced fat in the trunk area, lowered blood sugar and increased muscle tissue in the women participants ... Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation for the same length of time, on the other hand, reduced total body fat and lowered the women’s body mass index (BMI), a common health measure of weight relative to height"
  • Dietary trans-10, cis-12 Conjugated Linoleic Acid Reduces Early Glomerular Enlargement and Elevated Renal Cyclooxygenase-2 Levels in Young Obese fa/fa Zucker Rats - J Nutr. 2008 Dec 23 - "Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) slows the progression of disease in models of chronic kidney disease ... To examine specific isomer effects, study 2 used the same model with the following diets: 0.4% (g/g) cis-9, trans-11 (c9,t11) CLA; 0.4% trans-10, cis-12 (t10,c12) CLA; a combination of these 2 isomers (0.4% each); or CTL diets with no CLA. In study 1, fa/fa rats given the CLA mixture had 11% smaller kidney weights and 28% smaller glomeruli, and feed intake and body weight did not differ from the CTL rats. In study 2, diet also did not affect body weights, but fa/fa rats given a diet containing t10,c12 CLA had 7% lower kidney weights, 20% smaller glomeruli, and 39% lower COX-2 protein levels than CTL rats. In conclusion, dietary t10,c12 CLA reduces the enlargement of glomeruli in young obesity-associated nephropathy and is associated with lower protein levels of renal COX-2"
  • Organic Free Grazing Cows Are Cream Of The Crop - Science Daily, 5/27/08 - "organic farmers who let their cows graze as nature intended are producing better quality milk ... During the summer months, one of the beneficial fats in particular – conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA9 ��� was found to be 60% higher"
  • Obese children may benefit from CLA: study - Nutra USA, 2/29/08 - "when these results were compared to those from the placebo tests, CLA improved fat loss at a rate of 0.024 kg per gram of CLA per week" - [Abstract] - Note:  0.024 kg = 0.1 lbs so the normal 3 gram dose would be 0.3 pounds per week. It might not sound like much but 0.3 x 52 = 15.6 pounds per year.
  • Creatine In Addition To Exercise Enhances Strength In Older Adults - Science Daily, 10/2/07 - "The exercise training resulted in improvements of functional ability and strength in all participants, but those taking the CrM and CLA showed even greater gains in muscle endurance, an increase in fat-free mass and a decrease in the percentage of body fat"
  • CLA isomers show promise against colon cancer - study - Nutra USA, 9/24/07 - "We have demonstrated that diets containing 0.1 per cent c9,t11 and t10,c12 CLA were equally effective in inhibiting colon cancer cell metastasis in vivo" - [Abstract] - See conjugated linoleic acid at Amazon.com.
  • Get the diet scoop: 6 promising supplements, 6 to avoid - CNN, 2/16/07 - "promising ... Caffeine ... EGCG ... Chromium ... Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) ... 5-HTP ... L-dopa or L-tyrosine"
  • Weight-loss Supplement Shows Good And Bad Traits - Science Daily, 2/1/07 - "Mice fed a CLA-supplemented diet lost weight very fast, but also accumulated excessive amounts of fat in their livers – a common side effect of rapid weight loss. Excessive fat accumulation in the liver is linked to insulin resistance, a hallmark of Type 2 diabetes"
  • CLA continues to offer possibilities for bone health - Nutra USA, 10/2/06 - "After 10 weeks of either diet, it was found that the CLA-fed mice had higher bone mineral density (BMD) in specific bone regions than corn oil (CO)-fed mice. This increased BMD was tied to a reduced activity of pro-inflammatory cytokines (such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), and interleukin-6 (IL-6)) ... the CLA-fed mice also had significantly lower fat mass and increased muscle mass, compared to CO-fed mice"
  • CLA could cut 'weight creep' during holidays, ageing - Nutra USA, 8.22/06 - "the subjects taking CLA safely reduced their body fat mass by one kilogram (2.2 lbs) and their body weight by 0.6 kg (1.3 lbs). In comparison, those in the placebo group gained 0.7 kg (1.5 lbs) of body fat mass and 1.1 kg (2.4 lbs) of body weight during the months that are especially problematic for overweight people ... the majority of studies that have reported positive results have all been performed with Tonalin CLA… which has a very high concentration of the bioactive isomers cis-9, trans-11, and trans-10, cis-12"
  • Compound In Dairy Products Targets Diabetes - Science Daily, 8/4/06 - "Researchers first became interested in CLA when it was shown to inhibit a variety of cancers such as breast, skin and colon in mice, and further research showed effects on circulating cholesterol and inflammation ... he used CLA on mice prone to adult onset (Type-2) diabetes. Results indicated that the mice had an improvement in insulin action, and a decrease in circulating glucose" - See iHerb or Vitacosticon CLA products.
  • CLA Weight Loss Debate Continues - WebMD, 5/22/06 - "for six months ... Three months into the study, the CLA group had lost an extra 1.5 pounds of body fat, compared to the placebo group ... At the study’s end, the CLA group lost 5.6% more body fat mass than those taking the placebo. The CLA group also lost about 3.3 pounds more than the placebo group"
  • CLA’s body-shaping action clarified in new trial - Nutra USA, 5/10/06 - "at the end of the six months the effect on fat mass was seen to be around 2kg compared to the placebo ... Lean body mass was seen to increase by an average of 0.4kg in the CLA group"
  • Pine Nut Oil Boosts Appetite Suppressors Up To 60 Percent For 4 Hours - Science Daily, 4/4/06 - "CLA differentially reduces fat mass in men and women in just 3 months ... After six months, there was an average fat mass loss of 2 kilos corresponding to about 6% fat loss. At the same time, "overall body weight loss was 'only' 1.5 kilos because there was a gain in muscle mass,""
  • CLA Doesn't Keep Pounds Off - WebMD, 3/10/06 - "there were no significant differences in body weight or body fat regain between the two groups. Both groups gained an average of about 9 pounds in body weight and more than 4 pounds in body fat during the study"
  • A Fatty Acid Found In Milk May Help Control Inflammatory Diseases - Science Daily, 11/8/05 - "CLA, which is synthesized by microbial fermentation in the rumen of dairy cows, exists naturally in a number of structural forms. Cook's team determined that one of the variants inhibits the COX-2 protein"
  • How CLA fights inflammatory disease - Nutra USA, 10/19/05 - "one of the CLA isomers is a natural regulator of the COX-2 protein"
  • CLA, full-fat dairy linked to lower bowel cancer risk - foodnavigator-usa.com, 10/10/05
  • CLA’s success rests on science - ffnmag.com, 6/05 - "Tonalin is heavily researched and backed by clinical science, whereas most of the competition is backed by marketing dollars, not research ... CLA has been on the market since 1996 and continues to grow steadily, as we market responsibly based on clinical research"
  • Weight Loss and Other Benefits of Conjugated Linoleic Acid - Life Extension Magazine, 6/05 - "Researchers concluded that a dose of 3.4 grams results in significant body-fat loss compared to placebo, but that greater amounts of CLA do not result in greater fat loss"
  • Supplement Shows Promise for Body Fat Loss - WebMD, 4/1/05 - "The group that had already been taking CLA lost no more weight or body fat, but they maintained the body fat losses seen in the previous year. People who began taking the supplement during year two of the study lost an average of 3.5 pounds and also saw reductions in overall body fat"
  • Anti-Cancer Cows? - CBS 2 Chicago, 1/31/05 - "Studies in cell lines and animal models have shown CLA to be effective at preventing the formation of tumors ... research has also shown CLA can destroy cancerous cells ... the fatty acid may be effective in stopping breast cancer tumors"
  • Gold Cognis Innovation Award for Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Products for a Balanced Nutrition - NPI Center, 1/12/05 - "In 2002 an agreement with Natural ASA (Norway) was signed, which grants Cognis an exclusive license for intellectual property and the trademark Tonalin®. If CLA products are to succeed, a high level of isomeric purity is essential, and thanks to an ongoing research program ... A recent study found that CLA helps to reduce body fat mass in overweight but otherwise healthy adults by as much as nine percent, and helps to maintain lean muscle, resulting in an improved muscle-to-fat ratio"
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid Often Has Mixed Effects in Type 2 DM - Medscape, 10/1/04 - "received CLA (3.0 g/day; 50:50 blend of cis-9,trans-11 CLA and trans-10,cis-12 CLA) or placebo for eight weeks ... CLA supplementation increased fasting glucose concentrations by 6.3% ... total HDL-cholesterol concentrations increased by 8%"
  • Novel Fiber Limits Sugar Absorption - Life Extension Magazine, 9/04 - "Life Extension recommends that people seeking to lose weight consume the following supplements: ... Chromium polynicotinate 600-1000 mcg daily ... Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) 3000-4000 mg daily ... PGX™ highly viscous fiber blend 1000-3000 mg 5-10 minutes before each meal with 8-16 ounces of water ... Consider asking your doctor to prescribe 500 mg two to three times daily of the insulin-normalizing drug metformin"
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid Supplementation Reduces Body Fat Mass - Medscape, 5/28/04 - "Body weight (-1.1 +/- 3.7 kg for the FFA and -1.8 +/- 3.4 kg for the triacylglycerol group) and BMI (-0.4 +/- 1.2 kg/m2 for the FFA and -0.6 +/-1.2 kg/m2 for the triacylglycerol group) decreased significantly in the two CLA groups at month 12 compared with the placebo group which had no change" - Note:  1.1 kg is 2.4 pounds.
  • CLA: The New Miracle Weight Loss Pill? - WebMD, 5/24/04 - "Both CLA groups lost weight -- about 4 pounds; the placebo group stayed the same ... The CLA syrup group had a 9% body fat loss; the CLA pill group had 7% loss; the placebo group had no body fat loss ... The increased lipoprotein levels may be a byproduct of fat loss, says Gaullier. "The body does show inflammation caused by the process of eliminating fat. We think this is what is happening, but we don't know for certain.""
  • CLA combined with cellulite therapy shows dramatic improvement - Life Extension Magazine, 3/03 - "60 women were assigned to three groups; one, taking an herbal anti-cellulite pill alone, and two other groups taking the herbal pill plus 400 mg and 800 mg of CLA, respectively ... of the women taking the combination treatment with the highest dosage of CLA, eleven showed improvement in cellulite, two displaying "marked improvement." The average loss in thigh circumference was nearly one inch"
  • Got Milk - WebMD, 9/27/02 - "She explains that conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, is the key to the cow's role in cancer prevention. CLA is a minor fatty acid found in milk and milk products and beef"
  • Novel Method of Enhancing Anti-Fat Effects of CLA - Life Extension Magazine, 8/02 - "The results of this study demonstrate that dietary CLA decreases excess fat accumulation by reducing the capacity of adipocytes to store fat. When guarana is added to CLA, there is an additional effect of reduction in adipocyte number, as well as a decrease in adipocyte size. The impact of this finding in preventing obesity is profound ... CLA improves insulin sensitivity ... CLA is not just for fat-loss. Studies show it may help protect against many diseases including atherosclerosis and cancer ... CLA is also able to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer. CLA, as the article went on to say, can be considered a powerful prostate cancer preventative, as well as a partial treatment"
  • Weight Loss, Slimming, and Diabetes-Management Supplements (Chromium, CLA, and Pyruvate) review - ConsumerLab.com, 4/3/02 - "ConsumerLab.com purchased a total of 18 supplements: 7 CLA products, 7 chromium products, 2 pyruvate products, and 2 combination products (one with pyruvate and chromium and the other containing chromium, Garcinia cambogia, CLA, L-carnitine and other ingredients)"
  • Drink To Breast Health - Intelihealth, 10/9/01 - "Possible anti-cancer factors found in milk include calcium, vitamin D and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). A recent Finnish study found that women with breast cancer had significantly lower levels of CLA in their diets and blood, compared with women without breast cancer. CLA has been shown to block the local growth and spread of breast cancer in animal studies"
  • Controlling Diabetes the Natural Way - Life Extension Magazine, 12/00 - "While studies to date have shown CLA to be effective preventive therapy for cancer, atherosclerosis and other diseases, the latest findings presented at the 220th national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), August 2000, suggest a role for the compound in both glucose control and weight loss."
  • CLA and Cancer - Life Extension Magazine, 4/00 - "Conjugated Linoleic Acid's (CLA) powerful anti-cancer effects are in the news again! In the Journal of Nutrition (1999 December), a paper was published showing significant cancer preventing properties when CLA was added to the diet."
  • Nutritional supplement (CLA) may support attempts at weight loss - CNN, 8/21/00 - "A popular dietary supplement appears to help people to lose weight and keep it off, as well as control adult-onset diabetes, according to findings presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society."
  • Studies of CLA Have Promising Results - WebMD, 8/20/00 - "But it is important to look for credible brands of CLA, cautions Pariza, whose team used a 'high grade' version that was more than 90% pure: "There's a lot of junk out there.""


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I went to the library and ordered the full article of the Effects of conjugated linoleic acid on body fat and energy metabolism in the mouse - Medline, 9/98 study .  It only costs a dollar to get it.  The study was impressive so I though maybe they used a ridiculous amount of CLA.  I found that part in the article and the amount they used in the study was 2.46 mg CLA/kcal of diet.  To translate that to human terms, assuming that the average person consumes 2000 calories a day (it's really kilocalories but few know that), 2000 x 2.46 mg = 4920 mg.  Tonalin sells CLA in 1000 mg size so that is only four per day.

In the study, they had four groups of mice.  One group was fed a low fat diet.  Another group was fed a low fat diet plus CLA.  Another group was fed a high fat diet, and the last group was fed a high fat diet plus CLA.  At the end of six weeks, the high fat CLA group weighed about 10% less than the high fat group without the CLA and the low fat CLA group weighed about 10% less than the low fat group without CLA.  The weight curve for the high fat group with CLA and the low fat group without CLA were almost identical.  See graph:

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In the first human clinical trials of Tonalin brand conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), participants weighing an average of 156 pounds, reduced their body fat from 21.3 percent to 17 percent.  The average body fat of the placebo increased from 22.0 to 22.4.  The CLA group lost and average of 2.2 pounds over 90 days (156.6 to 154.4 pounds average).   The placebo group gained an average of 0.5 pounds after 90 days (158.9 to 159.4 pounds average).  The amount used was two 500 mg capsules three times a day.  Each Tonalin capsule contained 0.3 grams of pure CLA.

Other than the decrease in body fat, the 2.2 pound loss of the CLA group over 90 days might not sound significant, however, in the study of the prescription drug Xenical, the Xenical group only lost 7 pounds more than the placebo group after two years.  That is only 3 1/2 pounds a year or 0.88 pounds average after 90 days.  Plus, that was a larger percentage weight loss.  The average weight in the CLA study was about 157 pounds.  The average weight in the Xenical study was about 220 pounds.

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Study results can be obtained from PharmaNutrients at 918 Sherwood Dr, Lake Bluff IL 60044. Telephone: (800) 221-4463; Fax: (847) 234-5545.