CLA is an acronym for Conjugated Linoleic Acid. Say that a couple of times and you probably gain a clear understanding as to why we typically use the acronym in place of the full name. Thought, just making an attempt at pronouncing or spelling it has to burn away a few calories via frustration.

When it comes to CLA for weight loss and health benefits, the results are far less complicated than the unabbreviated name. In fact, CLA health benefits are well-defined and scientifically backed. Bodybuilders, elite athletes and even just the common person wanting to burn fat have long enjoyed CLA benefits.

Conjugated linoleic acid deficiency is possibly a major reason that so many people have gained so much weight. The charts for Americans and their weight aren’t pointing in a good direction, and CLA deficiency could be playing a role.

CLA NUTRITION | Where Do We Find It Naturally?

CLA is a result of grass fermentation inside of grass fed animals, such as cows, bison, and even sheep. One major source of CLA is grass-fed butter. Kerrygold’s Irish butter is grass-fed (the cows are fed grass, not the butter, butter doesn’t eat). If you choose Kerrygold over, say, a regular “corn-fed” butter, you get roughly five times the CLA intake.

So let’s get complicated for a moment, folks.

CLA is made up of what is called isomers. To be specific, it is made of two isomers. Both of which sound like two items you mix in a petri dish to invent flying frogs.

  • Isomer one: t10, c12
  • Isomer two: c9, t11

When you talk about getting natural intake of CLA, you get both isomers in combination. For example, if you eat Kerrygold’s grass-fed butter, you get both isomers. But, and here’s the kicker, c9, t11 is about 85% (or more) the CLA profile found in natural sources.

Why is this a big deal?

CLA’s fat burning principles are found in the t10, c12 isomer. This isomer helps stop fat from occurring on the body as well as assisting in burning fat. CLA supplements tend to split those isomers at 50/50. This means a CLA supplement will give you much more in the way of CLA fat burning isomers.


So what can a CLA based supplement do for you?

Increased Metabolism: There is no greater reason that men and women approaching 40 begin to notice how difficult it is to stave off belly fat. A slow metabolism is the inefficient machine at play. Increasing metabolism is the core competency of fat burning. CLA increases metabolism.

More Muscle: The enemy of fat is, muscle. Muscle will burn away fat. CLA helps with muscle production. The sum of those variables is easy to resolve.

Eases Insulin Resistance: Decreasing people’s insulin resistance, a condition which causes glucose to overload the blood, can vastly help the body lose weight. If you struggle with insulin resistance, losing weight and burning fat is an uphill battle.

Improved Immune Systems: We live in a world of superbugs due to antibiotic resistance. CLA can contribute to improving your immune system and keep you off the couch sick more often.


So, this stuff sounds just a bit too good to be true, no? There must be something terrible that happens when we take CLA, for example, our eyes falling out of our heads or being captured by aliens and inserted with microchips.

Well, there is good and bad news on this front: The good news being that there aren’t much in the way of side-effects being reported other than some stomach issues (digestive); the bad news being that there just haven’t been enough research accomplished to fully know the truth. CLA, being that it isn’t a big pharmaceutical company prize, isn’t exactly pushed into research. Money talks and pharma has mostly been left hanging on this one.

When it comes to these sorts of scenarios, your best bet is to always check with your Doctor. As well, a good idea is to try the product in an isolated manner. Meaning, I wouldn’t add in a slew of new supplements when you first begin supplementing with CLA. In this way, you can determine if a possible side effect is being precipitated by CLA. When you add in more than a few supplements at the same time, it is difficult to determine which supplement is causing the issue.


Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) has a tough name to pronounce and spell. If you get dished Conjugated linoleic acid in a spelling bee, you’re in probable trouble. If you get dished some Kerrygold butter or a CLA supplement, you have a chance to vastly improve your health by experiencing fat burn, improved immunity, and an increased metabolism.

Elite athletes supplement with CLA. It is no secret that CLA works. It seems to have few (if any) side effects, but you should still check with your Doctor.