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What are CLA supplements?

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Quick Answer

CLA supplements refer to pills that contain conjugated linoleic acid, according to WebMD. Daily doses of 1.8 to 7 grams have been studied by medical research, and doses greater than 3.4 grams per day do not appear to offer greater benefits than lower doses.

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Full Answer

CLA is a group of chemicals found in linoleic acid, a substance that occurs naturally in beef and dairy products. The normal amount of CLA people get in their daily diets is between 15 and 174 milligrams, notes WebMD. Supplements are used for cancer, hardened arteries, obesity, bodybuilding and weight loss due to chronic disease.

CLA supplements may help patients lose weight. Eight clinical trials showed that some participants lost up to 7.5 pounds, while some gained 1 pound, according to Dr. Mike Roussell for Shape magazine. Consuming more CLA did not lead to more weight loss, so Roussell speculates the reason may be the type of CLA in supplements. Certain types of CLA are found in lesser amounts in American diets, so more studies need to be completed on the different isomers of CLA. Most supplements contain a mixture of different isomers of CLA. Until more studies are done that hone in on the effects of CLA on the body, Roussell recommends people avoid CLA supplements for weight loss.

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