Conjugated Linoleic Acid

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Conjugated Linoleic Acid, or CLA, is a term used to refer to a mixture of fatty acids that have the general structure of linoleic acid (18 carbons in length, 2 double bonds) where the double bonds exist two carbons away from each other; they are all polyunsaturated fatty acids, and some may be trans fatty acids, one called c9t11 (cis-9, trans-11) and the other t10c12 (trans-10, cis-12), named after what bond occurs where on the side chain. CLA has been investigated as a fat burner and health promoting agent due to its effect on a molecular signalling receptor family named PPAR which is related to fat burning, steroid signalling, inflammation, and glucose/lipid metabolism.Dairy products and beef are the major dietary sources. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is used for the following:

  • Limiting food allergy reactions
  • Atherosclerosis cancer
  • Obesity
  • Cachexia
  • Swine flu
  • Bodybuilding
  • Atherosclerosis

Also known as:  Acide Linoléique Conjugué, Acide Linoléique Conjugué Cis-9, trans-11, Acide Linoléique Conjugué trans-10, cis-12, Acido Linoleico Conjugado, ALC, Cis-Linoleic Acid, CLA, CLA-Free Fatty Acid, CLA-Triacylglycerol, LA, Linoleic Acid

Diseases and Conditions

Conjugated linoleic acid is possibly effective for hypertension and obesity. Clinical evidence shows that taking four and one-half grams of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) per day along with thirty-seven and one-half milligrams of ramipril per day for eight weeks reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to ramipril alone in individuals with stage one uncontrolled hypertension. Taking conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) orally also seems to improve body composition in patients who are overweight or obese by taking one and eight-tenths to six and eight-tenths grams daily.

Conjugated linoleic acid is possibly ineffective for the common cold, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia.


Conjugated linoleic acid is likely safe when consumed orally in amounts found in food, and when used orally in medicinal amounts.

It is likely safe for children to consume conjugated linoleic acid at doses of 3 grams daily for up to 7 months.

Conjugated linoleic acid is generally well-tolerated in healthy adults, however, obese adults may be more prone to side effects which may include the following:

  • Decreased HDL levels
  • Reduction in brachial artery flow-mediated dilation
  • Rashes
  • Hives
  • Esophageal irritation
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal distension
  • Nausea
  • Flatulence
  • Kidney function when consumed at high doses
  • Increased leukocyte counts
  • Toxic hepatitis
  • Increased autoimmune symptoms
  • Backache
  • Headache

Conjugated linoleic acid may reduce platelet aggregation which can cause excessive bleeding; discontinue use at least 2 weeks before the procedure.

Medication Interactions

Conjugated linoleic acid has moderate interactions with the following medications:

  • Anticoagulant/Antiplatelet drugs
  • Antihypertensive drugs
  • Ramipril

Clinical evidence has suggested that dietary intake of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) reduces platelet aggregation by approximately ten percent, which means CLA might increase the effects and adverse effects of antiplatelet drugs. Evidence from animal research has suggested that a particular form of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) reduces systolic blood pressure and that CLA enhances the blood pressure-lowering effects of ramipril, an antihypertensive drug. Concomitant use of CLA with antihypertensive drugs or rampiril might have an additive effect and increase the risk of hypotension.

Supplement and Food Interactions

Conjugated linoleic acid may have interactions with the following supplements, herbs, and foods:

  • Anticoagulant/antiplatelet herbs and supplements
    • Angelica
    • Clove
    • Danshen
    • Garlic
    • Ginger
    • Ginkgo
    • Panax ginseng
  • Herbs and supplements with hypotensive effects
    • Andrographis
    • Casein peptides
    • Cat's claw
    • Coenzyme Q-10
    • Fish oil
    • L-arginine
    • Lycium
    • Stinging nettle
    • Theanine 
  • Vitamin A,
  • Vitamin E

Concomitant use of conjugated linoleic acid with other herbs and supplements that affect platelet aggregation might increase the risk of bleeding in some people. Combining CLA with other herbs or supplements with blood pressure-lowering effects might increase the risk of hypotension. Evidence has suggested that conjugated linoleic acid might increase vitamin A (retinol) storage in liver and breast tissues and increase levels of alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) in the liver.


The correct dosage of any supplement requires a comprehensive analysis of many factors including your age, sex, health conditions, DNA, andlifestyle. 

The recommended dosage for conjugated linoleic acid depends on what it is being used for.

  • For allergies, the recommended dosage is two grams of CLA daily for twelve weeks.
  • For asthma, the recommended dosage is four and one-half grams of CLA daily for twelve weeks.
  • For cardiovascular disease risk factors, the recommended dosage is up to four grams of CLA daily for up to six months.
  • For diabetes, the recommended dosage is up to six and four-tenths grams daily for up to sixteen weeks.
  • For exercise performance enhancement, the recommended dosage is six grams of CLA plus three grams of fatty acids daily for twenty-eight days.
  • For hypercholesterolemia, the recommended dosage is three grams of CLA daily (as a fifty to fifty blend of cis-9,trans-11 CLA and trans-10,cis-12 CLA) for eight weeks.
  • For hypertension, the recommended dosage is four and seven-tenths grams of CLA (c9,t11 and t10,c12 CLA isomers in equal amounts) daily for five weeks.
  • For immune function, the recommended dosage is one and seven-tenths grams of Clarinol or one and six-tenths grams of CLA taken daily for twelve weeks.
  • For obesity/weight loss, the recommended dosage is up to six and four-tenths grams of CLA as free fatty acid, three and four-tenths grams as triglyceride, or six and eight-tenths grams of CLA for as long as two years.
  • For weight maintenance after weight loss, up to three and six-tenths grams of CLA daily for up to one year.
  • For rheumatoid arthritis, the recommended dosage is five grams of mixed CLA daily for twelve weeks.


CLA is a fatty acid naturally found in beef and dairy products.

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