Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
CLA represents a family of linoleic acid isomers containing conjugated* double bonds. The two primary isomers in commercial supplements are c9, t11-CLA and t10, c12-CLA.**
Supplemental CLA has a range of potential health effects – both positive and negative. CLA has antioxidant and anti-cancer activity, and may be beneficial for fat loss. It may also increase inflammation and insulin resistance. The type of effects seen may be isomer-specific: the t10, c12 isomer appears to be responsible for both the effects on insulin resistance AND body fat losses.
Nonetheless, CLA supplementation appears to be relatively safe for human consumption in typical, supplemental amounts. A recent meta-analysis concluded that a dose of 3.2 g/day “…produces a modest loss of body fat in humans.”
See Paul’s “CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) Review” for more information.
*this refers to a pair of double bonds separated by a single bond.
** c = “cis” and t = “trans” – terms which refer to the orientation of the functional groups attached to the double bonded carbon atoms.