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One of the most popular and often seen ingredients in more “basic” weight loss products these days is CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). It is most commonly found in standalone products but has slowly become more and more likely to be found in complete weight loss formulations.

Due to day time TV show wonder “Dr. Oz”, this ingredient has gained worldwide prestige as of late, leading many people and companies to widely exaggerate its fat burning potential.

What it does

CLA is an omega-3 fatty acid that cannot be produced in the body, forcing us to get it in our diet, primarily from beef, milk, and eggs. Despite this, to get the potential benefits CLA has shown to provide in studies, a CLA supplement should be consumed to maximize daily intake. These studies include the ability to reduce body weight and fat mass[1], increase lean body mass[2], and enhance the rate of fat oxidation[3].

How it works

CLA presents a large conundrum in the scientific world. For every positive study it has shown to be beneficial, there is another study showing it to be ineffective at the same thing. While some swear by CLA, there is currently insufficient evidence available to either support it or debunk it.

If science is able to prove the benefits of CLA, the most widely accepted mechanism of action is that of PPAR gamma and delta activation[4]. PPAR or “Peroxisome proliferator activated receptor” are a group of nuclear receptor proteins that are in charge of regulating the expression of certain genes responsible for key bodily processes including metabolism, hormone signaling, as well as glucose/lipid functions in the body.

In theory, CLA should help increase the rate at which your body performs many of its daily processes, allowing you to burn calories and fat more efficiently throughout the day.


The most widely accepted dosing protocol for CLA is between 3,200mg-6,400mg per day, usually taken with meals. Most products, however, contain approximately 1,000mg of CLA per serving, so this would mean 3-6 servings per day is suggested.