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CLA Shrinks Body Fat from 22% to 17% in Health Club Members

A study published in the Journal of International Medical Research, revealed that conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, reduced body fat in a group of healthy, exercising members at a health club.

Twenty volunteers with normal body weight were randomized to receive either a placebo or 600 milligrams CLA three times per day, given with each meal for twelve weeks. At the study's onset, height, weight and body fat composition were measured and recorded. No significant differences were found between the two groups in terms of gender, age, weight, height and percentage of body fat. Body fat and weight were remeasured at four, eight and twelve weeks. Participants were selected from a health club where they performed ninety minutes of strenuous exercise three times per week.

The body fat in the group taking CLA declined significantly throughout the study to 17% at twelve weeks, while remaining at approximately 22% in the placebo group. Body weight remained the same on average for both groups. No difference in fat reduction was observed between men and women. No serious adverse events were reported, although one participant receiving CLA and one receiving the placebo reported gastrointestinal symptoms which disappeared after the first week.

The benefits resulting from the use of CLA in this study were greater than those seen in previous studies utilizing older and overweight participants. The authors recommend further research (and exercise).


This study was designed to investigate the efficacy and tolerability of daily conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in healthy exercising humans. This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 20 healthy humans of normal body weight and body mass index less than 25.0 kg/m2, who did standardized physical exercise in a gym for 90 min three times weekly. Participants took either placebo (hydrogel) or CLA 0.6 mg, three times daily, as two capsules during meals, for 12 weeks. Body fat, measured using near infrared light, was significantly reduced in the CLA group during the study, but not in the placebo group. No effects on body weight were observed. Tolerability was good and similar in the two groups. Compliance, as judged by the number of returned capsules, was more than 80% of the recommended dose for all participants. Thus CLA reduces body fat but not body weight in healthy exercising humans of normal body weight.


E Thom, J Wadstein, O Gudmundsen; Conjugated Linoleic Acid Reduces Body Fat in Healthy Exercising Humans. J Int Med Res 2001;29(5):392-396.

View full article at: http://www.jimronline.net/content/html/fullhtm.asp?ArticleID=194

Key concepts: cla, conjugated linoleic acid, body fat, lean muscle