Conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA for short, is a nonessential fatty acid that’s already present in foods we eat, such as beef and dairy products. Studies have shown it to rearrange body composition in such a way that fat mass decreases but lean body mass increases. It may also be helpful for dieters, helping prevent weight regain.
One of the reasons that obesity is now so prevalent in America could be a deficiency of CLA. Since 1980, because of a change in the way cows are fed, CLA content in meat and dairy has decreased by 60 percent. There are only scant amounts present in these foods, which is why supplementing with CLA might help.
There are many studies that have demonstrated the fat-fighting properties of CLA. One study showed that in overweight subjects who took 3 to 4 grams of CLA for a year lost 7 to 9 percent body fat. Supplementing with CLA for more than a year has been shown to maintain fat losses and prevent weight regain. However, a few studies have shown little to no benefit. The reason the studies are not consistent could be the variation of the dosage and how long the subjects took it.
It generally takes at least a month to see the effects of CLA supplementation, so be patient. Eating a healthy diet and exercising will enhance the effects you might see. The dosage that seems to work the best is 3.4 grams, or 3400 milligrams, per day. Make sure to talk to your doctor before starting any supplement regimen.