CLA, conjugated linoleic acid, is a natural fatty acid that people use to maintain a healthy weight. Taking CLA will 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.
CLA can help you burn fat and lose weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is a struggle many people are faced with. It’s hard to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen, and for those that do, it can be confusing. Fortunately, there’s a secret supplement that can kickstart your weight loss journey.
Studies have found that CLA helps to reduce food intake, increase fat burning, and inhibiting fat production. In fact, one study showed that CLA helps increase the metabolic rate in mice to reduce body fat (1).
Another article shows that mice end up reducing their calorie intake by 10% to 12% when consuming CLA (2).
However, CLA doesn’t only show to improve the body composition of mice, but it has favorable effects for humans as well. A study found that it reduces body fat in overweight and obese individuals (3). Furthermore, 63 subjects completed a 12-week study to determine the effects CLA had on their weight. After the 12 weeks, it was concluded that CLA helps with weight loss (4).
Although CLA is powerful for weight loss, it’s best combined with diet and exercise.
CLA may help you reduce your risk of diabetes. Although diabetes can be hereditary, it’s linked to overweight and sedentary people as well. Therefore, if you can lose weight and maintain this weight, you’ll reduce your risk of getting diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes.
Millions of Americans are at high risk for this disease because of a lack of exercise and being overweight. One study of 232 adults with diabetes and 1512 adults without diabetes found that CLA could be associated with risk for diabetes (5).
In fact, higher doses of CLA increase your insulin resistance response (6). CLA helps lower your blood sugar levels which is beneficial since high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) are associated with diabetes. Higher levels of CLA in your bloodstream also reduce leptin, a hormone that regulates fat levels.
CLA can reduce the risk of cancer. There are many different types of cancer, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, basal cell cancer, melanoma, colon cancer, lung cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma. One 2013 study found a link between CLA and breast cancer in Poland women (7).
Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are typically the modalities patients use to treat cancer, but many people are unaware of the powerful effects CLA may play in this detrimental disease. CLA reduces inflammation linked to cancer, and it lowers your LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol).
Although it can be hard to completely avoid your risks of getting cancer, giving your body the right nutrients can significantly help. Another study published in 2016 connected a possible correlation with CLA and prostate cancer (8).
CLA could prevent your risk of developing heart disease. Some research indicates that people who consume more CLA have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Since CLA lowers LDL cholesterol, it may be beneficial for your heart health.
A study was done on people who live in Costa Rica – where cows mainly eat grass instead of grain – and found these people to have less adverse side effects, such as myocardial infarction, that arise from the saturated fat intake of dairy products (9). Since pastured graze cows have more CLA in their milk than grain-fed cows, CLA demonstrates to be an effective method for reducing your chances of a heart attack.
Furthermore, another study done on mice found CLA to protect against atherosclerosis (10). Atherosclerosis is a buildup of plaque on the wall of your arteries, which obstructs blood flow.
CLA could improve your lean body mass. Several studies support CLA to be an adequate supplement for increasing lean body mass (11). If you increase your lean body mass, then you’ll lose weight more effectively.
That’s because not only does having more lean muscle mean less body fat, but it also means a more productive metabolism. You’ll burn more calories at rest with more lean body mass because as you increase your muscle mass you increase your basal metabolic rate (BMR), the number of calories you burn at rest. This will make maintaining a healthy weight much easier because you won’t have to work as hard or diet as strictly.
Of course, improving your lean body mass will also improve your strength and give you a more appealing body. To get the full effect of this potent benefit, lift weights and make sure you’re on the proper workout regimen.
CLA can fight inflammation. The Journal of Nutrition published a study finding that CLA successfully reduces inflammation in mice. This can reduce the damage done by collagen-induced arthritis (12).
Moreover, if you’re suffering from asthma and allergies, CLA is effective at decreasing over-responsive airway inflammation, since airway inflammation can be linked to COPD (13).
CLA can help fight osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis and affects the joints in your hands, knees, hips, and spine. Another study showed that CLA helps you maintain higher bone density as you age (14). In fact, it displayed to improve bone health in mice when combined with calcium (15).
Since CLA is maximized with exercise and exercise also reduces the risk of arthritis, it’s best to combine CLA with exercise to get the full benefits.
CLA could increase your testosterone. Testosterone plays a vital role in reducing body fat and building lean muscle mass. It’s easier to build muscle and lose fat if you have higher testosterone, so this benefit ties into CLA’s weight loss and lean body mass benefits mentioned above.
Some research suggests that CLA supplementation may promote testosterone synthesis through a molecular pathway that should be investigated in the future (16).
Q: Is CLA safe for weight loss?
Yes. In fact, CLA is touted for its weight loss benefits. 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?
CLA helps reduce body fat, builds muscle, and increases your energy and endurance. It can 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 and yield you a lot more 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?
Yes, CLA will give you benefits without exercise. CLA can help you can lose weight, improve your lean body mass, and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease on a CLA supplement. However, it’s best when combined with exercise since exercise has profound benefits for your body.
Q: Does CLA cause headaches?
CLA may cause headaches, upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, backache, and increased risk of bleeding. If you notice any of these side effects, consult a doctor before further proceeding.
Q: Does CLA work for belly fat?
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: Does CLA cause stomach issues?
CLA can cause an upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue.
Q: How long does CLA take to work?
For weight loss, CLA can start working immediately. You’ll notice the most weight loss in your first six months of taking it. You can expect to lose around 0.11 pounds per week if you consume 3.2 grams of CLA per day.
Q: How much CLA should you take a day?
If you’re at a healthy weight, you want to take 3,000-6,000 mg per day or 3-6 grams per day.
Q: Does CLA suppress appetite?
Yes, CLA can suppress your appetite. Suppressing your appetite is a great way to lose weight since you end up eating less.
Q: How much CLA is safe?
You want to take a minimum of 3 grams daily for weight loss and up to 6 grams is considered safe.
Q: Is CLA worth taking?
CLA is worth taking if you want to give your body a boost in weight loss and various other health benefits. CLA can help you burn fat, reduce your risk of diabetes, reduce your risk of cancer, reduce your risk of heart disease, improve your lean body mass, fight inflammation, fight osteoarthritis, and may even boost your testosterone.
Q: Is CLA harmful?
CLA supplements are generally safe. CLA’s help you maintain healthy body weight, but they may cause an upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue.
Q: Can CLA cause weight gain?
No, CLA isn’t correlated with weight gain. CLA does improve your muscle mass though, so it could make you gain muscle. Since muscle weighs more than fat, it is possible to gain weight from the increase in muscle mass, however, this is unlikely. That’s because the muscle you build will replace your fat and speed up your metabolism, making you burn more calories to lose weight.
Once you’re at a healthy weight, you can gain weight from the added muscle mass, but this will not happen at the initial stages of weight loss. It’s important to make sure you get in a healthy weight range for numerous reasons, but once you’re at a healthy weight it’s much more important to look at your body composition (muscle to fat ratio) than your weight. Your weight doesn’t account for your muscle mass.
Q: What does CLA do for fat?
CLA helps reduce your body fat. CLA also helps you lose weight by reducing your food intake, 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: Does CLA cause liver damage?
CLA may have side effects on your liver.
Q: Should I take CLA before or after a meal?
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?
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: Why is CLA considered a special weight loss supplement?
CLA is a special weight loss supplement because most weight loss supplements do contain caffeine.
Q: How much weight can you lose with CLA?
It varies from person to person, but you can expect to lose 0.2 pounds per week. 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?
No reports have shown CLA to keep you awake. Most CLA supplements don’t contain any caffeine, which can keep you restless at night.
Q: What is the best CLA supplement?
The best CLA supplement is Essential elements. This supplement supports natural energy, gives you maximum strength, and is extremely pure.
Q: Can I take CLA and L arginine together?
Pairing CLA and L-arginine together can enhance CLAs effects, speed up fat burning, and could boost athletic performance. L-arginine is a powerful supplement that promotes nitric oxide, which relaxes your blood vessels and helps improve circulation.
Improving your circulation allows your lungs, heart, and muscles to function properly. Good circulation is also great for exercise since you’ll have more oxygen throughout your body and more blood rushing towards your muscles. This can be a potent formula when combined with CLA.
Q: Can you take CLA every day?
Yes, CLA can be taken every day to accelerate weight loss and muscle mass. In fact, taking CLA every day for 6 months will allow you to consistently lose weight. If you want to lose even more weight, lifting and eating a healthy diet will do wonders when combined with CLA.
Q: Does CLA cause inflammation?
Although it’s rare, CLA can cause inflammation. CLA can help fight inflammation as well.
Q: Does CLA give you energy?
Yes, CLA can increase your energy amongst a host of other benefits. Aside from the energy boost directly related to CLA, losing weight will also boost your energy. Since CLA is praised for its weight loss benefits, CLA can be an effective way to give you more energy.
Q: Is CLA good for your heart?
Yes, CLA is an excellent supplement for your heart as it contains many anti-atherosclerotic benefits. It improves your blood lipid levels by decreasing total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL cholesterol levels, and it improves HDL cholesterol levels.
Since your cholesterol plays an important role with your heart, making sure you have healthy cholesterol levels will keep your heart healthy. Too much bad cholesterol can clog your arteries that can lead to strokes and a heart attack.
Q: Does CLA increase your heart rate?
There’s not a lot of research on whether CLA can increase your heart rate or not, but most of them don’t contain any caffeine, which can increase your heart rate.
Q: Does CLA help muscle?
Yes, CLA helps you build muscle. This is especially powerful when 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 interfere with medications?
If you take CLA with blood pressure medication, it could cause your blood pressure to lower too much. If you take it with ramipril, it will increase ramipril blood pressure lowering effects.
Q: Does CLA boost your metabolism?
Yes, since CLA can help you lose weight, it’s a powerful way to boost your metabolism. Also, CLA increases your muscle mass, so it boosts your metabolism since muscle speeds up your metabolism.
Q: How much mg of CLA should I take?
If you’re at a healthy weight, you should take 3,000-6,000 mg. If you weigh at least 155 pounds, you’ll need to take at least 3,500 mg to feel the full effects of CLA.
Q: How does CLA help you lose weight?
CLA increases the amounts of specific enzymes and proteins that are involved in fat breakdown. CLA also helps you restrict your food intake and stimulates fat production.
Q: What does CLA do?
CLA helps you lose weight, maintain weight loss, retain lean muscle mass, and control type 2 diabetes.
Q: What are the side effects of taking CLA?
CLA could cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, backache, and increased risk of bleeding.
Q: Does CLA burn belly fat?
Yes. In fact, CLA is praised for its powerful weight loss benefits.
Q: Does CLA really work?
Yes, CLA provides you with many health benefits. For one, it helps you lose weight. It’s also prominent for reducing your risks of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Q: Is CLA bad for your kidneys?
No, there are no known incidences of CLA being bad for your kidneys.
Q: Does CLA make you sleepy?
CLA may make you sleepy since one of its side effects is fatigue.
Q: Can CLA cause acne?
CLA can be an acne trigger.
Q: Does butter have CLA?
Yes, butter contains about 400 different fatty acids, including CLA.
Q: Does CLA increase testosterone?
Some reports have found CLA to increase your testosterone levels (17).
Q: Does CLA affect fertility?
No, no research claims CLA to interfere with fertility.
Q: Are CLA supplements worth it?
If your goal is to lose weight, then CLA supplements are worth it. There is abundant evidence supporting its effectiveness for weight loss. Furthermore, it gives your body an array of other health benefits.
Q: Is CLA 1250 safe to take?
Most people take between 3 grams and 6 grams a day with no serious side effects.
Q: Is CLA safe for long-term use?
Yes, CLA is safe for long-term use.
Q: How should CLA be taken?
CLA is taken by pills with food.
Q: Is CLA natural?
Yes, CLA is a natural fatty acid found in meats and dairy.
Q: Does CLA affect sperm count?
CLA doesn’t affect sperm count long-term, but one study did report a dose of 1% CLA to reduce sperm concentration (18).
Q: Does CLA increase estrogen?
No. In fact, CLA may reduce estrogen since it helps you lose weight and higher estrogen is strongly associated with obesity. Furthermore, it can increase your testosterone levels as well.
Q: Can CLA cause headaches?
Yes, CLA can cause headaches.
Q: Does CLA and L carnitine work?
Yes, CLA and L carnitine work together to help you lose fat.
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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