CLA Side Effects

Nausea, loose stools, and heartburn are some of the possible side effects reported with CLA. These are generally insignificant if CLA is obtained through dietary means. However, supplements may cause potentially serious side effects. You should notify your healthcare provider right away if you experience any serious side effects, such an unexplained rash, swelling, or difficulty breathing.

Does CLA Cause Side Effects?

CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is a fatty acid that is found in dairy products and certain meats. When obtained through the diet, CLA is unlikely to cause significant side effects. However, supplements may cause side effects, some of which can be serious. There are different forms (known as isomers) of CLA, and manufactured CLA usually has more of the isomer that seems to be responsible for some of the negative side effects of CLA (compared to naturally occurring CLA found in dairy and meat).
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with CLA. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of CLA side effects with you.)

Serious Side Effects of CLA

There are a number of side effects with CLA that you should report to your healthcare provider and which may indicate that you should stop taking it. These include but are not limited to:
  • High blood sugar (hyperglycemia), as some forms of CLA may make your body more resistant to insulin
  • High C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory protein that can be a sign of problems
  • Low HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol) levels
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, including:
    • An unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Unexplained swelling
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty breathing or swallowing.
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