Conjugated linoleic acid (cla)
Conjugated linoleic acid (cla)

Background

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a type of fat. Dairy and beef are major sources of CLA in the diet. Most CLA supplements are made from safflower oil.

CLA might help reduce body fat deposits and improve immune function. The average diet supplies 15-174 mg of CLA daily.

People commonly take CLA by mouth for weight loss. It is also often used for bodybuilding and fitness, but there is limited scientific evidence to support these uses.
When taken by mouth: CLA is likely safe when taken in amounts normally found in foods, such as milk and beef. It is possibly safe when taken in larger amounts as medicine. It might cause side effects such as stomach upset, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, and headache.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: CLA is likely safe when taken by mouth in amounts normally found in foods. But there isn't enough reliable information to know if CLA is safe to use in larger amounts when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: CLA is likely safe when taken by mouth in amounts normally found in foods. CLA supplements are possibly safe for children when taken by mouth for up to 7 months. There isn't enough reliable information to know if long-term use of supplements is safe.

Bleeding disorders. CLA supplements might slow blood clotting. In theory, CLA might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Diabetes: There are concerns that taking CLA supplements can worsen diabetes. Avoid use.

Metabolic syndrome: There are concerns that taking CLA supplements might increase the risk of getting diabetes if you have metabolic syndrome. Use cautiously.

Surgery: CLA supplements might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using it at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Effectiveness

NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
  • High blood pressure. Taking CLA by mouth along with a drug called ramipril seems to reduce blood pressure more than ramipril alone in people with uncontrolled high blood pressure. However, taking CLA alone does not seem to reduce blood pressure.
  • Obesity. Taking CLA by mouth daily might help decrease body fat in adults and children. CLA might also reduce feelings of hunger, but it's not clear if this reduces food intake. CLA doesn't seem to decrease body weight or body mass index (BMI) in most people.
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
  • Common cold. Taking CLA by mouth does not prevent or reduce symptoms of the common cold.
  • Diabetes. Taking CLA by mouth does not improve pre-meal or post-meal blood sugar or insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • High levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia). Taking CLA by mouth or drinking milk containing CLA doesn't seem to improve levels of cholesterol or blood fats called triglycerides in people with mildly high cholesterol levels.
There is interest in using CLA for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

CLA is naturally found in foods such as dairy and beef. The average diet supplies 15-174 mg of CLA daily. As a supplement, CLA has most often been used by adults in doses of 1.6-6.8 grams by mouth daily for 2-12 weeks. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

CLA might lower blood pressure. Taking CLA along with medications that lower blood pressure might cause blood pressure to go too low. Monitor your blood pressure closely.

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

CLA might slow blood clotting. Taking CLA along with medications that also slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Ramipril (Altace)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Taking CLA along with ramipril seems to lower blood pressure more than taking ramipril alone. Taking CLA plus ramipril might cause your blood pressure to go too low. Monitor blood pressure closely.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood pressure: CLA might lower blood pressure. Taking it with other supplements that have the same effect might cause blood pressure to drop too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include andrographis, casein peptides, L-arginine, niacin, and stinging nettle.
Herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting: CLA might slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might increase the risk of bleeding in some people. Examples of supplements with this effect include garlic, ginger, ginkgo, nattokinase, and Panax ginseng.
Vitamin A: There is some evidence that CLA might increase vitamin A levels in the body.
Vitamin E: There is some evidence that CLA might increase vitamin E levels in the body.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.
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