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CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) may be considered a "healthy fat" because it may help people lose body fat and prevent colon cancer. It is a trans fat that is found in dairy products and meat from certain animals. Certain forms of CLA work by decreasing fat storage and possibly increasing muscle mass. It may also be toxic to cancer cells. Possible side effects include nausea, indigestion, and heartburn.

What Is CLA?

CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is a trans fat found in dairy products and meat from certain animals (such as goats, sheep, and cows). It may be a "healthy fat" and shows promise for helping people lose body fat and for preventing cancer.
(Click CLA Uses for more information on what it is used for.)

How Does CLA Work?

Some forms of CLA may affect muscle and fat cells by decreasing fat storage and possibly increasing muscle mass. Additionally, there is some evidence that the trans fat may be toxic to cancer cells. However, not all of its effects are beneficial; it may possibly increase the risk of diabetes and may increase inflammatory proteins in the body.

Is It Effective?

Preliminary evidence suggests that it may be beneficial for decreasing body fat and preventing colon cancer, although it is not clear if taking supplements provides the same benefits of obtaining it through a healthy and balanced diet (see Does CLA Work? for more information).

Dosing Information

Currently, the best dose of CLA has not been determined. More research is necessary in order to determine an appropriate dosage.
(Click CLA Dosage for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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