Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Information

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a form of the essential fatty acid linoleic acid, with a slightly altered chemical composition. CLA is found naturally in animal tissues and food sources including ruminant meats, poultry, eggs, and dairy products such as cheeses, milk, and yogurt that have undergone heat processing treatments. Vegetable fats are generally poorer sources of CLA. However, CLA is produced from linoleic acid in safflower oil and sunflower oil by special treatment of these oils. CLA was originally found in milk fat where it exists in the form of phospholipids and triglycerides. There is evidence that human milk contains CLA.

Preliminary animal studies and research suggests that CLA might reduce the risk of cancers at several sites including the breast, prostate, colorectal, lung, skin, and stomach. Whether CLA will have a similar protective effect for people has yet to be shown in any study.

Similar studies also indicate that CLA supplementation may assist in the reduction of body fat and increase muscle size and strength.


There are a few products that contain CLA. The amounts of the two most studied isomers of CLA, cis-9, trans-11 and trans-10, cis-12 CLA, vary. Also, there are different amounts of other isomers of CLA in the various preparations. Typical doses are 1 to 2 grams daily. Some use doses up to 6 grams daily.

Supporting Literature

West DB, Delany JP, Camet PM, et al. Effects of conjugated linoleic acid on body fat and energy metabolism in the mouse. Am J Physiol 1998;275:R667-670.
Parodi PW. Cows' milk fat components as potential anticarcinogenic agents. 1997;127:1055-60.
Cesano A, Visonneau S, Scimeca JA, et al. Opposite effects of linoleic acid and conjugated linoleic acid on human prostatic cancer in SCID mice. 1998;18:1429-33.