Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)

What is CLA?

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a combination of linoleic acid isomers containing double bonds, including c9t11-CLA and t10c12-CLA, and is available in food supplements as triacylglycerol or as a free fatty acid. Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid from the omega-6 family. It is not synthesised in the body; therefore, it is considered an essential fatty acid.

CLA can be found in small amounts in foods, such as full-fat milk and other dairy products, as well as eggs and red meat. The CLA used in supplements is usually synthesised, mostly from safflower oil, by a process called isomerisation.

Studies have evaluated the potential benefits of CLA in the:

  • Reduction of body fat
  • Preservation of muscle mass


Gaullier JM et al. Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation for 1 y reduces body fat mass in healthy overweight humans, Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;79(6):1118-25. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/79.6.1118

Whigham LD, Watras AC, Schoeller DA. Efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid for reducing fat mass: a meta-analysis in humans, Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;85(5):1203-11. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/85.5.1203

Terasawa N, Okamoto K, Nakada K, Masuda K, Effect of Conjugated Linoleic Acid Intake on Endurance Exercise Performance and Anti-fatigue in Student Athletes, J Oleo Sci. 2017 Jul 1;66(7):723-733. doi: 10.5650/jos.ess17053

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