Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a fatty acid that was once prevalent in beef from grass fed cattle.  Because of a shift from grass fed to grain fed cattle, this important fatty acid is now largely missing in the beef we eat and consequently we no longer are receiving its benefits.  

       Linoleic acid is an omega-6 essential fatty acid that must be obtained from the diet as our bodies don’t make it.  While omega-6 linoleic acid is abundant in the American diet, the conjugated form of this acid is not readily available due to its absence in grain fed cattle from which we get most of our beef and dairy products.  Conjugation refers to the particular why the molecules that make up this fatty acid are arranged.

       CLA is available as a supplement and is usually made by converting linoleic acid from vegetable oils into its conjugated form. 


       Many benefits have been observed from ingesting CLA.  In original research done in 1979 at the University of Wisconsin, it was observed in animal studies that CLA retarded the growth of cancerous tumors.  Ongoing research has shown CLA to be beneficial in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides and osteoporosis.  CLA has also been shown to improve immunity and decrease the disposition of fatty deposits in blood vessels.


       CLA has been shown to mimic the effect of synthetic diabetic drugs. Testing on mice with type 2 diabetes has shown CLA to improve insulin action and reduce circulating glucose. Results from human trials are just as positive, when consuming CLA for longer than eight weeks.


       Research with humans has shown CLA has been beneficial in lowering body fat, with even greater improvement in those who combine exercise with dietary intake of CLA. Animal research has been even more promising with significant improvements seen in both reducing body fat and in increasing lean body mass. Studies have shown that CLA reduces body fat while preserving muscle tissue, and may also increase your metabolic rate.  A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who took 3.2 grams of CLA a day had a drop in fat mass of about 0.2 pounds a week (that’s about one pound a month) compared to those given a placebo.

      A good deal of additional research has been done with CLA and its benefits for weight loss and because of the positive result seen in this research, CLA was recently recommended for weight loss by Dr. Oz on his Nationally televised program The Dr. Oz Show.