All You Need to Know About Conjugated Linoleic Acid


The body has various fats with different functionalities, and some are more beneficial than others. One such fatty acid is the conjugated linoleic acid (CLC) found in dairy and meat. Get crucial information about this fatty acid, including its role in weight loss.

The various foods we eat provide the body with different nutrients and dietary constituents. Of all these substances, some are beneficial, others harmful, and some add no value at all. Fats are an example of what we get from foods. They are critical in reaping energy as well as the formation of the skin layer. Besides, the body requires fats for other metabolic activities and chemical reactions. Learn about CLA, one of the great fat components in the body.

CLA- what is it?

Of course, knowing the basics about CLA starts with knowing what it is. It refers to a form of a natural healthy trans-fat, occurring in the polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid form. In most cases, CLA would be found in vegetable oils, meat, and dairy. Vegetable oils constitute the largest amount of CLA, while various other foods have fatty acids in small parts. The prefix ‘conjugated’ was coined for this omega-6 fatty acid after studying its bonding structure and realizing how varied they were. Because of the variation in the bonding structures, there are up to 28 different forms of CLAs, and this is what creates the difference between one CLA and the other when they interact with the cells.

Meat and milk as the primary dietary source of CLAs

Meat and milk form the niche for sourcing CLAs from our diet. However, it is noteworthy that the amount of CLAs fetched from one type of milk/meat will differ from the other, owing to the food the source animal fed on. For instance, grass-fed cows will yield more CLAs than grain-fed cows. While there are many CLA supplements in the stores, and people ingest them into their bodies, they are not as healthy and natural as those found in grass-fed animals. The supplements are manufactured by subjecting linoleic acids in vegetable oils to some form of modifications; hence they do not possess the same nutritional profile as the CLAs from natural sources. Besides, the CLA supplements exaggerate some forms of fats, increasing their quantities to the extent of superseding what’s found in nature.

Can CLA help burn fats and reduce weight?

It’s agreeable that the Internet has a lot of information on weight loss since obesity and related complications have posed more concern. That’s why researchers appreciate CLAs since they are associated with fat burning and weight loss, even for the traditional treatment, which formed the basis for the CLA’s first line of appreciation. Following its role in reducing fat content and weight loss, CLA supplements could top the list of the elaborately researched weight and fat loss supplements. Results from animal studies have already affirmed the role of CLAs in fat loss, where it was apparent that CLAs help inhibit fat production, slow down the intake of food, and heighten the burning of fats, as well as their breakdown. However, human studies show little to no effects of CLA supplements in fat burning and fat loss, and some studies even associate the few cases of successful CLA-related fat loss with adverse side effects.

The CLA potential health benefits

As mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, CLAs are best in natural sources, mostly dairy and meat from grass-fed cows. Compared to omega-3 associated with heightened cognitive ability, omega-6 fatty acids are rather controversial dietary component. This explains why some research link consuming high amounts of CLAs consistently to negative effects in the body. However, some exceptional studies have shown that getting CLAs from natural sources has helped boost people’s immunity, lowering the risk of contracting cancer and diabetes type 2, the top killer diseases across the globe. Besides, some studies also show that people who got CLAs primarily from grass-fed animals registered fewer cases of heart complications. While this might be associated with CLAs in the grass-fed animals, the lowered risks of the lifestyle diseases could also be due to vitamin K2, another health benefit reaped from the grass-animal-based foods. Still, some credits go to the CLAs in their pristine form.

Taking large doses of CLA supplements could pose health risks

Of course, getting CLAs from grass-fed animals is the safest way to reap the potential health benefits of this polyunsaturated fatty acid. However, the role of CLA supplements in fat burning and weight loss is overemphasized, sending many people into taking the supplement overdose. This practice can be harmful to the body, especially because the CLAs supplements are made by subjecting the linoleic acids in vegetable oils to modifications. Such industrial modifications alter the fatty acid and avail fatty acids that are quite different from those found in grass-fed animals. In fact, the modifications add some forms of fatty acids, availing them in higher proportions than what the natural CLAs have.

In nutrition, some dietary components are better reaped in their natural forms from animals and plants directly, and refining them may create health challenges. That’s exactly what CLA supplements do. Although CLAs may be beneficial in natural forms, the CLA supplements may induce inflammation, the major cause of most chronic diseases. Because of inflammation and oxidative stress, CLA supplements may increase the risk factors of liver cancer and infections. For instance, it may lower the levels of good cholesterols while increasing triglycerides and fats in the liver and burdening it. Even with the prolonged use of small amounts of CLA supplements, people may still experience insulin resistance and diarrhea. Yet. Insulin resistance is a risk factor for diabetes type 2.


CLAs are probably the most elaborately researched fat loss supplements. However, prolonged use of CLA supplements may induce insulin resistance and inflammation, among other risks. However, obtaining CLA in its pristine form from meat and dairy of grass-fed animals may potentially benefit the body.

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