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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.

Natural Medicines 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.
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  • Hypertension.  Oral CLA seems to modestly reduce blood pressure when used along with ramipril.
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  • Obesity.  In adults and children, oral CLA seems to decrease fat mass by a small amount, including abdominal fat mass. However, it is unclear if oral CLA is beneficial for weight loss, body mass index (BMI) reduction, or improvement of metabolic measures.
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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.

There are no known interactions with medications. Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

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.

There are no known interactions with foods.

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.

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