CLA, conjugated linoleic acid, is a natural fatty acid that people use to maintain a healthy weight.
Taking CLA may improve your body composition and reduce your chances of developing diabetes and other various diseases.
Below you’ll find the best CLA, ranked and reviewed by our expert health panel.
1. Essential elements
Essential Elements 100% pure CLA increase fat metabolism, supports natural energy, and maximizes your strength. It also contains no synthetic fillers or additives, providing a powerful blend for maintaining a healthy weight.
What we like: Essential Elements CLA is crafted as an 80% concentration from the purest CLA to help burn fat and speed up your metabolism. It’s derived from the most premium, non-GMO safflower oil in the world.
Flaws: This CLA isn’t focused on building lean muscle mass.
2. VitaBalance CLA 2000
VitaBalance CLA 2000 is all natural and free of any chemicals, preservatives and necessary additives. Each capsule packs a punch and can help support exercise, dieting, and a healthy body composition.
What we like: VitaBalance CLA 2000 is made of only the best ingredients and uses safflower that’s concentrated using a proprietary process to yield an unparalleled product.
Flaws: This supplement isn’t as pure as some of the other CLA supplements on our list.
3. NatureWise CLA 1250
NatureWise CLA 1250 helps improve your muscle to fat ratio and functions as a thermogenic weight loss agent, causing the body to burn fatty acids for energy.
What we like: NatureWise CLA 1250 is derived from premium, non-GMO safflower oil to ensure purity and efficacy. The capsules are only made with clean, natural ingredients that are non-stimulating and safe for longterm use.
Flaws: It’s not plant-based, making it a poor choice for vegans.
4. Sports Research CLA 1250
Sports Research CLA 1250 is the optimal choice for vegan’s since it’s 100% planted-based. You’ll find no stimulating ingredients here either, ensuring that you won’t get any jittery side effects.
What we like: Sports Research CLA is made with a minimum 80% CLA from non-GMO safflower oil, making it one of the purest CLA supplements on the market.
Flaws: This supplement focuses more on building muscle as opposed to weight loss.
5. BulkSupplements CLA
If you’re already in shape, Bulk Supplements CLA softgels will help you maintain your weight and increase your muscle mass.
What we like: Bulk Supplements CLA softgels are lab-verified, third party tested, manufactured and packaged in an FDA registered facility, and manufactured to cGMP standards. It doesn’t come more pure than this.
Flaws: You may experience jittery side effects when using this product.
6. BPI Sports
BPI sports uses both CLA and carnitine to help the body convert fat cells into energy. This helps your body preserve lean down by burning more fat for fuel.
What we like: BPI Sports CLA is an amazing non-stimulating product that helps mobilize fat cells. It also comes in a mouth-watering blueberry flavor as opposed to capsules.
Flaws: It contains extra ingredients to account for the delicious flavor.
Bronson CLA contains 3000 mg of CLA per serving, making it one of the most potent CLA supplements available. It’s non-GMO, from safflower oil, and stimulant-free.
What we like: Bronson CLA has been clinically studied and is made with only the highest quality ingredients. It is also one of the only companies to have support and backing from medical professionals for over 50 years.
Flaws: This CLA doesn’t contain any L carnitine and may be too potent for some.
8. MET-Rx CLA
MET-Rx CLA includes all the essential minerals for a healthy metabolism, alongside a potent dose of CLA. This helps to support muscle development and recovery as well.
What we like: MET-Rx CLA features zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B-6, which are all vital for optimal health. It is also free of unnecessary ingredients, fillers, additives, and preservatives.
Flaws: It comes in thick pills, which some people may not like.
Unaltered CLA prevents stomach aches since it’s made from vegan plant-based safflower. You won’t get any jittery side effects either since it doesn’t contain any caffeine or stimulants.
What we like: Unaltered provides 100% pure CLA, naturally extracted and formulated in an easy to swallow soft gel. It also comes with a concentration of 80% max potency.
Flaws: This CLA could contain more vitamins and minerals to support weight loss and overall health.
10. Optimum Nutrition
Optimum Nutrition CLA pills are easy to swallow and provide pure CLA fats that help support fat loss and muscle building.
What we like: Optimum Nutrition CLA contains 750 mg of CLA per serving and only has 10 calories. This may not be a lot, but is great for beginners or people looking to accurately tailor their dosages.
Flaws: This supplement focuses more on building muscle than burning fat.
Who Should Buy CLA?
CLA is great for anyone looking to lose or maintain a healthy weight. It can also help athletes burn fat and build more muscle. The more muscle you have the faster your basal metabolic rate (BRM), which is the number of calories you burn at rest.
Furthermore, CLA gives you a multitude of other health benefits, reducing your chances of developing cancer and heart disease. CLA is also commonly used for type 2 diabetes.
In general, CLA is safe to take; although it can cause mild side effects, such as an upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue. Pregnant and nursing women should avoid taking CLA unless otherwise directed by a medical professional.
How We Ranked
Essential elements was our highest ranked CLA because it increases fat metabolism and is made with 80% of the purest and highest CLA formula to burn fat, help shape your body, and speed up your metabolism. NatureWise fell shortly behind Essential elements, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a quality weight loss enhancer. NatureWise improves your body composition and functions as a thermogenic weight loss by decreasing fat storage and causing the body to burn fatty acids for energy to use as fuel, making it excellent for maintaining a healthy weight.
We also wanted to make sure the top-ranked CLA included safflower oil since this is an essential component of a superior CLA product. Unaltered earned a spot on our list for this very reason. Plus, it doesn’t contain any caffeine or stimulants, so you won’t have to worry about jitters with this CLA supplement. VitaPost ranked right behind our number one ranking for its proprietary blend of safflower to support healthy body composition.
We also looked for products that included added vitamins to support overall health. Although Met-RX is towards the bottom of our list, it contains powerful vitamins and minerals – primed with zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B-6 to support optimal health. This was a big reason why it made the cut.
Q: Is CLA safe for weight loss?
A: Yes. In fact, CLA is touted for its weight loss benefits (1). CLA increases fat burning and your metabolic rate and helps to reduce your calorie intake. Of course, if you eat less food, you’ll end up losing more weight.
Although CLA is excellent for weight loss, combining it with exercise and diet will reap the greatest results.
Q: What does CLA do to your body?
A: CLA helps reduce body fat, builds muscle, and increases your energy and endurance. It may also improve your immune system and lower your blood pressure.
If you lower your body fat percentage and build muscle, you will improve your body composition. This will yield its own health benefits – since being overweight is linked to various health issues. And lowering your blood pressure will give you better cardiovascular health.
Q: Does CLA work without exercise?
A: Yes, CLA has demonstrated the ability to produce benefits without exercise. However, if you hope to lose weight and enjoy the other benefits of CLA you will greatly increase your chances if you couple your CLA supplements with a vigorous exercise routine.
Q: Does CLA produce side effects?
A: CLA may cause headaches, upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, backache, and increased risk of bleeding (2). If you notice any of these side effects, consult a doctor before further proceeding.
Q: Does CLA work for belly fat?
A: Yes CLA can help you lose weight and thus belly fat. CLA also increases your lean muscle mass. Increasing your lean muscle mass is excellent for reducing your belly fat because it turns the fat into muscle and speeds up your metabolism
Q: How much CLA should you take a day?
A: Always follow the guidance on the product packaging. If you believe you should take more or less than the recommended amount talk to your doctor first.
Q: What does CLA do for fat?
A: CLA helps reduce your body fat. CLA also helps you lose weight by increasing fat burning, and inhibiting fat production. CLA also helps you build lean muscle which gets rid of fat and increases your resting metabolic rate, the number of calories you burn at rest. Naturally, this leads to a reduction in fat
Q: Should I take CLA before or after a meal?
A: It’s best to take CLA with a meal for it to absorb into your system better and avoid any side effects.
Q: Does CLA have caffeine?
A: Some CLA supplements contain caffeine, but most don’t. For example, unaltered doesn’t contain any caffeine or stimulants, and it’s made from vegan plant-based safflower. Bronson which has 2250 mg of CLA per serving for extra potency, is stimulant-free as well.
Q: How much weight can you lose with CLA?
A: It varies from person to person. People generally lose the most weight within their first 6 months of supplementing with CLA. Although CLA can be an effective supplement to take alone for weight loss, it’s best to combine it with physical activity and calorie restriction.
Q: Will CLA keep you awake?
A: A CLA supplement that includes caffeine may affect your ability to get to sleep. However, most CLA supplements don’t contain any caffeine.
Q: Can you take CLA every day?
A: In order to increase your odds of actually losing weight it’s advisable to take CLA on a regular daily schedule. If you want to lose even more weight, lifting and eating a healthy diet will do wonders when combined with CLA.
Q: Does CLA give you energy?
A: Perhaps indirectly. If you take it regularly and exercise as well you are going to eventually enjoy more energy on a daily basis. By itself, however, CLA is unlikely to provide any noticeable energy boost, unless you are taking a CLA supplement that includes caffeine.
Q: Is CLA good for your heart?
A: Yes, CLA is an excellent supplement for your heart as it contains many anti-atherosclerotic benefits (3). It improves your blood lipid levels by decreasing total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL cholesterol levels, and it improves HDL cholesterol levels.
Q: Can CLA help build muscle?
A: Yes, CLA can help you build muscle (4) as long as you combine it with working out. Furthermore, having more muscle will improve your body composition, and it will help you lose weight.
Q: Does CLA boost your metabolism?
A: It might. But if you want to enjoy the benefits that go with increased metabolism you will likely need to combine your CLA supplementation with a regular exercise regime.
Q: What are the side effects of taking CLA?
A: CLA could cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, backache, and increased risk of bleeding.
Q: Does CLA make you sleepy?
A: One of CLA’s known side effects is fatigue (5), though it must be said that only a small percentage of people who take CLA have reported that it made them feel fatigued or drowsy. But it is possible.
Q: Does butter have CLA?
A: Many dairy product, including butter, contain fatty acids, including CLA.
Q: Does CLA increase testosterone?
A: Clinical studies indicate that CLA supplements have the ability to increase testosterone levels (6), although there is some debate over whether the effect is short or long-term.
Q: Does CLA affect fertility?
A: Any increase in testosterone levels can potentially increase fertility in a given male. But there have been no significant studies on the potential effects of CLA on fertility.
Q: Is CLA safe for long-term use?
A: Yes, for the average otherwise healthy adult CLA has proven itself safe for long-term use.
Q: Does CLA increase estrogen?
A: Estrogen levels are closely associated with body fat levels (7). And since CLA is touted for its ability to reduce body fat it follows that CLA is not going to promote higher estrogen levels. Although it may, as we mentioned above, increase testosterone levels.
CLA is a powerful supplement that helps maintain a healthy weight. It’s also great for reducing your risk of diabetes, cancers and improving heart health.
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