Updated: 01/10/2018

CLA Review - 6 Things You Need to Know


I’m obsessed with finding diet products that actually work. Let’s find out if CLA is one of them. We spent some time conducting an in-depth review, focusing on the side effects, ingredients, clinical research and overall customer care. We also checked out countless user remarks and comments from all over the web. Finally, we summarized and compressed all of the facts to give you the info you need.

CLA Readers: Click here to find out why we're giving away samples of our product, Burn HD.

What is CLA?

First off, CLA ingredients only include conjugated linoleic acid. This is a natural fatty acid that is commonly found in dairy and beef products. However, this substance can also be derived from safflower oil. It’s often said to reduce unwanted body fat, improve lean muscle mass, promote heart health and even fight cancer. There are numerous supplements available online and in stores that contain this key component. Many of them are advertised as weight-loss or muscle-building products.

From what we gathered, CLA has been available since 1978, when it was discovered by Dr. Michael Pariza. Many diet supplements that contain this fatty acid offer several other key ingredients as well to promote weight-loss or overall fitness. There is plenty of user feedback posted on the web for conjugated linoleic acid products, which is helpful, but read on…

Products Similar to CLA

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Minimal Results – “Is It Strong Enough?”

One concern we have with CLA is minimal results. According to our Research Editor, “Numerous people who have taken conjugated linoleic acid supplements for weight-loss purposes have stated that they experience little to no effects. Obviously this is concerning.”

One person revealed, “I took it for five weeks. Not only did I not lose a pound, but it also caused me to get bad headaches.”

However, a different user said, “Didn’t experience any CLA side effects, like others report. But, didn’t really feel any other effects either.”

Another posted, “If you really look into CLA, you will see that it does not help you lose weight or reduce BMI. It’s more for promoting lean muscle when lifting weights.”

Negative User Reviews Around CLA – “Not a Good Sign”

There are quite a few discouraging user comments posted on the web about CLA supplements. In fact, one person revealed, “Every time I take this I get very sick to my stomach. I’m done feeling like crap. I’ve tried this at least five times and each time I feel like I’m going to have to run to the bathroom.”

Then again, not all users have bad things to say about CLA. One person mentioned, “Been taking this for about eight weeks now. When combined with low-calorie diet and strength training, you will see more lean muscle.”

“Not sure exactly what CLA does. I know there is quite a bit of hype. I will continue taking it until it’s gone. Hopefully it does something,” said another customer.

Our research has shown if there’s a particular part of a diet supplement that is especially bothersome (minimal results, negative user reviews, unpleasant taste) the likelihood of long-term success is rather slim. In other words, if CLA does fail to produce real effects in a lot of people, this could be a big problem.

The Science – “Is It There?”

There is some research that supports CLA for decreasing body fat in adults. However, according to WebMD, this substance, “Does not seem to decrease body weight or body mass index (BMI) in most people.” Therefore, it may help some with overall physical fitness, but may not be the answer to serious weight-loss.

What Users Are Saying

“”After 90 days I lost belly fat for the first time. I exercise 5 days a week nothing worked after using it I noticed, and others also commented about my lost gut. I take one 15 minutes before meals and 2 at my big meal dinner.””

“”I have been taking this for about three weeks now and haven’t seen any changes. I’ve been stacking it with the green tea extract and L-Carnitine, as suggested by the site, but haven’t experienced any changes. Paired with a workout regimen and good diet, I still don’t see/feel any results.””

“”There was one review that stated she immediately developed heart burn/Acid Reflux. This happened to me too immediately after taking 1000 of CLA. I stopped taking it to see if it was the CLA-it took 2 weeks for the heart burn/acid reflux to go away.””

The Bottom Line – Does CLA Work?

So, should you run out and buy a CLA supplement? Well, first off, we like that this is a natural fatty acid that helps promote heart health and lean body composition. On the other hand, studies have shown that this ingredient does not decrease body weight or BMI. Also, we’re concerned about some of the negative user comments posted online regarding side effects and no weight-loss results.

If you’d like to drop more pounds, then we suggest you choose a supplement that does not cause any harmful side effects, contains clinically tested ingredients for weight-loss and gives you plenty of bang for your buck.

Among the best products we’ve seen this year is one called Burn HD. This formula contains a blend of four important ingredients, which have been shown in documented clinical studies to help ignite fat loss and spark metabolism. We can’t find any discouraging user feedback online, and the customer comments we spotted on the web indicate people are seeing solid results.

The makers of Burn HD are so satisfied with their product they’re offering a 2-Week Sample, which is a good sign.

Learn More About Burn HD »
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How does CLA work in the body?

Humans cannot produce their own CLA. We can get this fatty acid from eggs, milk and some meats, namely lamb and beef. CLA helps regulate blood cholesterol and aids immune function, in addition to playing a role in the metabolism.

How do you take CLA?

You should take CLA three times per day within half an hour of eating a meal in order to glean the most benefits from the supplement.

How do I know if CLA is right for me?

Choosing the right product is the #1 question asked by DietSpotlight readers. We recommend trying any product before buying it and know that finding a product with a sample offer is near impossible - so we created our own product, Burn HD, with scientifically backed ingredients.

Click here to get your sample of our powerful fat burner today.

How much CLA should I take in a day?

According to research, you should take about 3.4 grams of CLA every day. However, the studies that found major benefits used twice as much as that.

What are the side effects of CLA?

Although it is perfectly safe and fine to consume naturally occurring amounts of CLA in your diet, you may experience side effects when taking it as a supplement. These side effects include digestive discomfort, diarrhea, lack of energy, and nausea.

What does CLA do for you?

CLA helps reduce the negative effects of diabetes. It also helps you lose weight and fat while keeping muscle strength intact. CLA is found in milk and some meats and can also be taken as a supplement.

Is CLA harmful?

CLA can cause a range of minor side effects, such as stomach troubles and diarrhea. Children and pregnant women should also avoid it until it is deemed safe for them to use. There is some evidence that overconsumption of CLA can contribute to fatty liver disease.

What foods contain conjugated linoleic acid?

Lamb, veal, beef and turkey are the best natural sources of CLA that you can get in your diet; other meats are more lacking in this nutrient. Vegetarians can still get a decent amount of CLA from milk and dairy products.

What is conjugated linoleic acid made of?

Certain animals, such as sheep and cows, synthesize CLA in their digestive systems from ruminants. CLA is a type of double-bonded fatty acid that can be either a trans-fat or a cis-fat. There are nearly 30 different isomers of CLA.

Can CLA make you bloated?

CLA can make you bloated, and it can also cause diarrhea, excessive gas, nausea, headaches, bad body odor, body aches, and a slew of other side effects. You should be careful with it if you take blood pressure medicine or supplemental herbs. Also, be careful if you have an autoimmune condition; excessive CLA intake can cause flare-ups.

CLA Ingredients

CLA Ingredients and Supplement Facts

Serving Size: 1 softgel
Serving Per Container: 90 softgels
Amount per Serving% DV
Tonalin CLA1000 mg*
- 78-84% Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)**

Other Ingredients: Gelatin, Glycerin and Caramel Color.

  • References
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Previous CLA Review (Updated September 20, 2013):

CLA - What You Should Know

CLA, also known as conjugated linoleic acid, is essentially an isomer of linoleic acid. This makes it a "fatty acid" with different chemical functions than LA (linoleic acid). CLA has been incorporated into dietary supplements in order to assist men and women with weight reduction. This element is stated to be commonly found in safflower oil, dairy products and meat. Overall CLA aims to decrease body fat, increase muscle mass and even assist with battling cancer. One diet product that offers CLA is Tonalin CLA. This supplement can be purchased in health food stores, pharmacies and GNC stores. CLA was discovered by one Dr. Michael Pariza back in 1978. Beef and dairy products appear to be the key sources of CLA. Similar to many other weight loss products currently on the market, Tonalin CLA is recommended to be taken in conjunction with a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise routine. The official website states that some studies have shown that CLA may minimize the user's number of fat cells, boost metabolic rates, increase fat breakdown rate and reduce the quantity of fat that's stored after eating. The supplement Tonalin CLA doesn't appear to be offered with a 100% money-back guarantee. However, there are some customer testimonials offered on the official website. There don't appear to be any free trial samples of CLA offered at this time.

List of Ingredients

Not available on the official website.

Product Features

Tonalin CLA is a weight loss supplement that is marketed toward both men and women alike. This diet drug endeavors to increase fat breakdown rates, decrease body fat, increase lean muscle mass, minimize fat cells and even assist with battling cancer. The primary ingredient is CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which is an isomer of linoleic acid. There are some clinical studies presented for CLA online, as well as on the official website for the diet product Tonalin CLA. Although Tonalin CLA cannot be purchased through the official website, this diet product is available in health food stores, drugstores and general nutrition centers.

Advantages of CLA

  • Tonalin CLA comes in a simple and convenient pill form.
  • Tonalin CLA can be purchased in most health food stores and pharmacies.
  • A healthy diet and regular exercise are encouraged with Tonalin CLA.

Disadvantages of CLA

  • Some components of Tonalin CLA may not be suitable for all individuals.
  • There are no free trial samples of this supplement provided through the official website.
  • Tonalin CLA doesn't appear to be offered with a 100% money-back guarantee.
  • Tonalin CLA is not conveniently available for purchase through the official website.
  • It's difficult to determine whether or not Tonalin CLA comes with any potential side effects.
  • It doesn't appear that Tonalin CLA is approved by the FDA.


Like many diet drugs and weight loss supplements, Tonalin CLA endeavors to assist with anything from an increased fat breakdown rate within the body, to decreased body fat, to increased lean muscle mass, to minimizing fat cells. On the bright side, the active component CLA comes naturally from meat, safflower oil and dairy products, and is claimed to assist with battling cancer. A diet rich in these foods could be enough to get the body the CLA that it needs. However, in regards to the diet supplement form of CLA, it would be nice to see some free product samples of Tonalin CLA provided via the official website, along with a 100% money-back/satisfaction guarantee.
Summer Banks Dietspotlight Author
About the Author:

Summer Banks, Director of Content at Dietspotlight, has researched over 5000 weight-loss programs, pills, shakes and diet plans. Previously, she managed 15 supplement brands, worked with doctors specializing in weight loss and completed coursework in nutrition at Stanford University. full bio.

5 CLA Reviews

  • janet

    Can CLA be taken before getting pregant?

    • Maribel (Editor)

      Hi Janet! Please make sure to consult with your physician before starting a new product if you are planning to conceive.

  • interfere with station drugs

    will it interfere with station drugs?

    • Stephen (Editor)

      Hi BC, by “station” do you mean over-the-counter drugs? It’s best your doctor gives the thumbs up to use this product.

  • Is this product absorbed by liver?
    Brenda Jeter (Verified User)

    I suffer from Hep C and have noticed pain and swelling after 2 weeks of taking.Is this product absorbed by liver? I have had no change in weigh.BooHoo!