It seems like every day there’s a new weight loss product on the market claiming to deliver instant results.
However, the reality is, when it comes to supplements that can support fat burning, only a select few have been around for a while.
CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is one of those long-standing supplements that may help promote weight loss.
When paired with a healthy diet and exercise routine, CLA supplements can help you reach a healthy weight and achieve your fitness goals. This article deep dives into the health benefits of CLA and reviews the 10 best CLA supplements on the market.
CLA, short for conjugated linoleic acid, is a fatty acid. Technically, it’s an omega-6 fatty acid, also known as trans fat.
Now, consuming trans fats to lose weight may sound counterproductive, but hear us out. Natural trans fats, like conjugated linoleic acid, are beneficial and found in many healthy foods.
Moreover, CLA is gaining popularity for its supposed health benefits, including its ability to reduce body fat. Its supplement form is mostly marketed as a weight loss product.
People mostly get CLA from eating meat and dairy products, but the amount of CLA in food can vary widely. On average, Americans get 150 to 215 mg of CLA per day through their diet alone.
Taking a supplement can make your CLA intake more consistent. In addition, increasing your intake through supplementation can enhance the benefits of CLA. Most CLA supplements contain at least 800 mg of conjugated linoleic acid per serving.
CLA has been widely studied as a weight loss supplement in recent years. Below are the potential health benefits of CLA, according to research.
For example, an animal study showed that CLA promoted the breakdown of existing fat and slowed the production of fat storage in mice.
Human studies delivered similar results. One study revealed that participants who took CLA in a randomized trial had significantly more fat loss and increased lean body mass than the placebo group.
Another study that measured weight gain over a six-month period showed that participants who took CLA supplements experienced reduced body composition and body weight compared to the placebo group.
In other words, CLA supplements can help you trim down, reduce belly fat, and build lean muscle mass.
Some clinical reviews suggest that the consumption of naturally occurring CLA can reduce the risk of certain diseases, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, and type 2 diabetes. However, the effect that CLA in supplement form has on these diseases has not been yet explored, so more research is needed to confirm this.
*Note: We do have affiliate links throughout this article, which means we receive a commission if you purchase from any of our links. This supports our mission to bring complicated health and fitness info in an entertaining package. And it keeps us from putting up annoying things like banner ads. Those suck.
Price: From $27.97
Sports Research CLA 1250 takes our top spot for being one of the highest-quality CLA supplements on the market. Each softgel has 1250 mg of CLA derived from 100% non-GMO safflower oil. It also has a 95% potency, which is more than most products offer.
Sports Research uses gluten-free ingredients and has its products third-party tested. The instructions suggest taking three softgels per day before a meal, but you can take less to extend its shelf life. Each bottle includes 180 softgel capsules.
Price: From $10.61
These CLA softgels have 1000 mg of safflower oil-derived CLA in every softgel. EVLution Nutrition CLA 1000 is a high-quality product at an affordable price. It’s also made in the USA and gluten-free. You can choose between a 90 or 180-count bottle.
Price: From $11.20
California Gold Nutrition offers a CLA supplement that anyone can enjoy. It’s gluten-free, soy-free, and suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets. Every capsule contains 1000 mg of its trademarked CLA formula derived from safflower oil.
California Gold Nutrition third-party tests its products and offers a money-back guarantee on all purchases. Every bottle contains 45 to 90 servings depending on if you take one or two per day.
Price: From $21.99
Naturewise CLA 1250 offers a potent, plant-based supplement option for vegetarian or vegan diets. Every capsule contains 1250 mg of CLA with an 80% potency, giving you about 1000 mg of active CLA per serving.
The instructions recommend taking one to three capsules per day, which provides 60 to 180 servings. It is non-stimulating and made free of wheat, gluten, soy, and dairy products.
Price: From $25.61
If you prefer powder supplements or buying in bulk, Bulksupplements CLA is a good option. Every package contains up to 125, 2000 mg servings of sustainably-sourced CLA. Bulksupplements offers a capsule-based option too. The powder is free of added sugars and soy but does include dairy ingredients.
Price: From $44.99
GNC Total Lean CLA is great for readers wanting to integrate CLA into their daily supplement regimen. Its 90 or 180-count bottles contain 2000 mg of GNC’s scientifically formulated CLA in every serving. It’s gluten-free and contains no added sugars, artificial colors, or artificial flavors. GNC also offers a subscription service that can deliver more CLA to your doorstep every 30 to 120 days, depending on the option you choose.
Price: From $15.29
RSP Nutrition CLA is a good option for people who are new to CLA and want to see what dose works best for them. Every bottle contains 180, 1000 mg CLA servings. This gives you enough product to take one to three capsules per day without running out too quickly. RSP also third-party tests its products for quality and potency, so you know you’re getting a high-quality supplement.
Price: From $8.70
NOW Foods CLA offers another beginner-friendly option. Every capsule delivers 800 mg of CLA derived from non-GMO safflower oil. Family-owned since 1968, Now Foods third-party tests its products and makes them free of gluten, soy, and artificial flavors or colors.
The only downside of Now Foods CLA is that the instructions recommend taking a minimum of three capsules per day. This can make forming a habit of taking CLA every day difficult (especially if you’re lazy like me). Also, it’s unclear what kind of gelatin is used, so it may not be vegan or vegetarian-friendly.
Price: From $16.25
Natrol delivers both quality and quantity with its Tonalin CLA. Every capsule provides about 1200 mg of the trademarked Tonalin CLA blend, which equals about 930 mg of CLA per serving.
It’s also free of soy, added sugars, and artificial flavors. However, Natrol does not specify what kind of gelatin capsule is used, so it may not be suited for vegans or vegetarians. You can choose between a 60 and 90-count bottle.
Price: From $22.37
Last but not least on our list is Natural Factors CLA. It also uses a Tonalin CLA blend which delivers 1620 mg of CLA per two-capsule serving. Natural Factors also third-party tests its products for purity and potency, so you know you’re getting a reliable product. Every bottle includes 45 servings if taken as directed.
Although we ranked these supplements, we want you to decide on the best product for you.
Here’s what we took into consideration when ranking these products.
The supplement industry isn’t FDA-regulated, making finding a reputable supplement challenging.
That’s why we only select companies that adhere to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) regulations and have their products third-party tested.
Most clinical research on CLA had participants take one to six grams per day. Moreover, studies show that doses up to six grams per day seem well tolerated by most people. However, there are also risks associated with CLA overconsumption. Due to this, we looked for supplements that had doses within the lower end of this range.
Living our healthiest lives can get expensive. That’s why we selected high-quality products that won’t hurt your wallet.
CLA supplements are considered safe when taken as directed. Mild side effects include digestive upset including diarrhea. However, CLA may be harmful in large doses. Research shows that high doses of CLA supplementation can increase fat in the liver which increases the risk of diabetes. Other studies show that CLA may increase inflammation and cause insulin resistance in the body.
There is conflicting evidence on whether CLA is safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Talking to a health professional before trying this supplement is best.
Most clinical studies used one to six grams of CLA in their trials. In addition, most dietary supplements included in this article recommend taking one to three grams of CLA per day for the best results.
Any CLA dosage under six grams (6000 mg) is considered safe. However, it may be better to start with a smaller dose and work your way up. It’s all about finding the amount of CLA that works best for you.
While CLA has the potential to be an effective weight loss tool, it has its drawbacks. CLA can cause digestive discomfort, including diarrhea, in some people. Research also shows that CLA supplementation can cause insulin resistance and fatty accumulation in the liver in large doses. It is best to speak to a health professional before trying this supplement.
The amount of time it takes for CLA to work varies on the individual. Many supplement brands and consumers report that it takes three to six weeks to see results.
Most supplement brands recommend taking their CLA supplements before a meal. It can be a great addition to your pre-workout routine.
If you’re looking for a supplement that acts as a fat burner and helps with long-term weight management, then a CLA supplement is worth adding to your wellness routine.
L-Carnitine is an amino acid that helps burn fat as fuel. Caffeine also has interesting potential to support weight loss.
Most notably, though, Green Tea Extract is a simple and popular ingredient. You’ll find it in most of the (good) fat burners on the market.