Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) has been used successfully to take off pounds. It generally works for a good two months before stalling out according to some human studies. Used in a dose of 3.4 grams it has been claimed to speed metabolism, decrease abdominal fat, enhance muscular growth, decrease cholesterol and triglycerides, decrease insulin resistance and enhance immune responses. It is commonly sold as Tonalin in 1,000 mg caps.


A recent study in the Journal of Lipid Research states that the rapid weight loss that CLA causes may come with some problems. A study in mice showed that CLA can cause weight loss without the aid of the protective hormone leptin. This causes an increase in insulin resistance. The rapid loss of fat tends to end up in the muscle or liver. If that fat cannot be used as energy, insulin resistance results. The insulin resistance may cause or worsen diabetes.

The finding that CLA can result in weight loss with or without leptin was a new discovery. But more significantly to understanding the mechanism of action was that the insulin sensitivity was restored when CLA was fed to the mice with leptin present. Lowering body fat in general lowers leptin levels was the point. So, should leptin be given with CLA is the question.

Parallel human studies on CLA are currently being conducted. So far it is known that CLA could decrease fat for women in postmenopausal phase with Type Two of Diabetes. Another trial is experimenting whether CLA could reduce the gain of weight for people who are undergoing weight gain as a side effect of drug treatment for their diabetes .

The scientists state that dosages of CLA have not been standardized and we don’t know how long it should be taken. More controlled studies on humans are needed to answer some of these questions on the use of CLA in weight loss therapy both in people with and without diabetes.

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