Fat Flushing CLA

May 17, 2011
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Part one in our series on Fat Flushing supplements.

A powerful tool for dieters, CLA—or conjugated linoleic acid—offers profound fat loss and healing benefits. This necessary fatty acid helps reduce body fat while retaining lean muscle mass and is an important building block for cellular growth. Before the 1970s, Americans didn’t need to worry about supplementing their diets with CLA since dairy products and meats contained ample amounts naturally.

But, today—because livestock is no longer grass fed—our intake of CLA has dropped by 80 percent. People who have shied away from eating meat and dairy products because of their fat content have further compounded this deficiency. Fortunately, researchers discovered a way to create CLA from the linoleic acid found in sunflower and safflower oils, allowing CLA to be available in a convenient capsule form.

Why is CLA such a boon to waist watchers? Study after study has shown its effectiveness in reducing body fat. The Journal of Nutrition published the results of the first human clinical trial using CLA, which showed a dramatic 20 percent decrease in body fat, with an average loss of 7 pounds of fat in the group taking CLA. These results were achieved without a single change in dietary habits, establishing CLA supplementation as a simple, effortless weight loss tool.

Another clinical trial, conducted at the University of Wisconsin, assessed the effects of CLA on the body composition of 80 obese men and women. All the participants dieted for several months, lost weight, and then returned to their old eating habits. While the group taking CLA did regain some weight, they put the pounds back on in a ratio of half fat to half lean muscle, compared with 75 percent fat to 25 percent muscle for the control group. This evidence suggests that CLA increases lean muscle mass and results in a stronger, healthier body.

And the benefits of CLA don’t stop at weight loss. Over the past two decades, researchers have found that CLA also modulates the immune response, protects against heart disease, and inhibits the growth of various cancers. It may also prevent and control adult onset diabetes—a disease running rampant in our overweight country. And, because it helps prevent bone loss, CLA may also be a potent agent for preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. The message is clear: Along with a balanced diet and a daily exercise program, CLA can help you fight disease and pare off the pounds.

Just the Facts
• CLA was first discovered in 1987 by researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
• CLA permeates muscles cells, where it has been shown to increase muscle mass by as much as 5 percent.
• You’d need to eat 6 pounds of steak or 50 slices of Colby cheese to receive the same amount of conjugated linoleic acid found in most CLA dietary supplement products. I personally recommend CLA-1000, which contains 600 mg of CLA per serving.

Boost the Benefits
• Occasionally, people find that if they take CLA close to bedtime they have trouble falling asleep. I recommend that you experiment and see how your body reacts. Most people can take CLA after a late dinner and have no problems sleeping.
• It’s best to avoid taking CLA with fiber supplements or high-fiber meals because the fiber may absorb some of the CLA. For best results, take CLA an hour or so after a high-fiber meal or fiber supplements.
• For weight management, most people report noticeable results after taking CLA for about 6 weeks.

Part Two: GLA: The Good Omega 6 that Flushes Fat
Part Three: Feed Your Liver with Milk Thistle
Part Four: Choline Clears the Fat Log Jam

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Administrator

    I noticed the difference in a couple of weeks – my body literally shrunk and I went down a whole pants size…guess I was very deficient in this critical fatty acid.

  2. Carole

    How often should we take CLA?

  3. liz

    I’ve found it is best to take one with every meal. The research with the most weight loss was that amount.

  4. Lisa

    Some manufacturers suggest taking CLA 2-3 x’s before meals….but its hard for me to remember to take them like this. I am hoping there is a better way to take CLA……

  5. Sierra

    I always take 1 with each of my meals! I’ve heard from Dr. Gittleman though, if you have more than fifty pounds to lose, you may take 2 softgels 3 times daily (with meals) for the first two weeks!

  6. Hélène

    I almost always eat high fiber meals! I am trying to correct my insulin imbalance and fiber plays a big part in this, along with regulating my hormonal imbalances. How in the world would I take CLA then?? 🙁

  7. Sierra

    Helene- one softgel with meals would be perfect 🙂

  8. Dominique Collado

    I understand that you can do the full Fat Flush plan for 2-4 weeks but how often can you do it say in a year? Can you have a break for 2 weeks and then do it again or how much time should there be in between each time you do it?

  9. liz

    The Fat Flush Plan is a lifestyle. Phase 1 is the detox and Phase 2 is the weight loss phase. You can stay on that until you lose all the weight you want to. You can also do the Smoothie Shakedown to keep you moving.

  10. Adam

    Is there a real source for this belief that fiber will absorb and reduce the effectiveness of CLA? I’ve googled and the only actual study I’ve found had to do with micro-organisms and fiber actually increased the amount of CLA present through fermentation or somesuch.

    People seem to just replicate what they find on other sites regarding this, instead of citing a source.

    • Sierra

      Fiber can reduce the efficacy of medications like thyroid support and birth control, so I would venture to guess it could have the same affect on any type of supplement.

  11. pam

    can you take cla and glass together.?



  1. GLA: The Good Omega 6 that Flushes Fat | Ann Louise Gittleman - […] Part One: Fat Flushing CLA Part Three: Feed Your Liver with Milk Thistle […]

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