Updated: 01/13/2018

97% of dieters just want a product that’s effective. Yeah, we don’t understand the other 3%, either. Our in-depth review focused on GNC Total Lean CLA side effects, ingredients, level of customer care and scientific studies. Plus, we picked apart hundreds of user comments from all over the web. At this point, we compacted and summarized to give you the info you need.

GNC Total Lean CLA Readers: Click here to find out why we're giving away samples of our product, Boost.

What is GNC Total Lean CLA?

First off, GNC Total Lean CLA is a fat burner. The active ingredient is:

  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid 2,000mg (derived from safflower oil)

This supplement is supposed to help you maintain lean muscle mass, enhance metabolism and support healthy body composition. The company recommends taking two capsules per day.

GNC Total Lean CLA was released in 2011 and is made by General Nutrition Corporation. You can purchase the supplement through the official website, local GNC stores or through trusted retailers. We like that it contains a natural ingredient and it seems affordable, but read on…

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Lack of Real Results – “A Concern?”

We first noticed an issue with results with GNC Total Lean CLA ingredients. According to our Research Editor, “Even though CLA is quite popular as a daily supplement for maintaining lean muscle tissue, there is no solid evidence that this essential fatty acid causes weight-loss or reduced BMI (body mass index).” [1][2][3]

One customer said, “I bought the 180 count bottle, I didn’t notice any difference after 5 weeks.”

“While it may be effective in the lean muscle mass department. I saw no change in my weight from it,” said another user.

While results vary from customer to customer, we did find that users did notice results while using GNC Total Lean CLA. [4]

I wanted something on the more natural side of things to aid in weight loss. I feel that in addition to my gym use and diet it has helped me tone up,” reported a customer.

GNC Total Lean CLA Customer Testimonials

Poor User Reviews – “Unhappy Customers”

We found that not every GNC Total Lean CLA review posted online was positive.  [5] One user stated, “Haven’t seen any results for losing weight. The only thing that I have noticed was acne.”

Another dieter stated, “Already 2 weeks. I don’t see any changes. Neither my weight nor body shape. I have gained some weight.”

Results from GNC Total Lean CLA ingredients may depend on the user.

I’m not sure how much the weight loss was due to the diet and exercise and how much was due to the CLA but I can attest to very positive results when CLA was combined with diet and exercise,” said a dieter.

I recommend you take these after each meal! It helps me not feel bloated,” commented another.

Our research has shown that if a specific aspect of a weight-loss product or program is very bothersome, like being connected to negative reviews, the likelihood of long-term success is slim. This means if GNC Total Lean CLA does result in all sorts of user issues, this could be a big problem.

The Science – “Evidence?”

From what we can tell, GNC does not provide any clinical research to back up the weight-loss claims concerning GNC Total Lean CLA. Furthermore, according to WebMD, conjugated linoleic acid has not been proven effective at helping the dieter lose more. Since we at DietSpotlight need to see documented science that supports the product, we feel the need to keep searching for the best solution. [6]

Also: read our Boost Testosterone Booster Kit review »GNC Total Lean CLA Ingredients

The Bottom Line – Does GNC Total Lean CLA Work?

Well now, what do we have to say at the conclusion of this one? It’s nice to see that GNC Total Lean CLA may help support lean muscle tissue. However, we have doubts about recommending this one for weight reduction and fat loss. There are actually numerous customer complaints that this product does not work at all. Furthermore, there are plenty of other CLA supplements available that sell for much less. [7]

Dieters that need to slim down and shed pounds more rapidly, we suggest you go with a weight-loss supplement that is supported by positive customer reviews and contains clinically-proven ingredients for fat loss.

Among the best products we’ve found this year is the supplement Pronabolin. It’s a blend of nine ingredients. All clinically-tested with results showing help improving testosterone levels, strength, energy and more.

Also, they’re convinced you’ll love the supplement, so they’re offering a 120-day money-back guarantee and multiple-bottle discounts.

Learn More About Boost »
GNC Total Lean CLA Customers Also Bought:
Effective Ingredients
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GNC Total Lean CLA

What are the side effects of CLA GNC?

CLA GNC or GNC Total Lean CLA side effects may include stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue. We found these in several customer comments and reviews.

What are the ingredients in GNC Total Lean CLA?

CLA GNC ingredients are Conjugated Linoleic Acid from safflower oil, valerian root, hops flower extract, horsetail rush stems extract, lemon balm leaves extract, passion flower herb powder, ALA, boron, and lutein.

How do I know if GNC Total Lean 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, Boost, with scientifically backed ingredients.

Click here to get your sample of our powerful testosterone booster today.

Does GNC Total Lean CLA Work?

We didn’t find any strong clinical results showing the ingredients in GNC Total Lean CLA works better than other CLA supplements out there. Plus, it may not be the best choice for weight-loss.

How much does GNC Total Lean CLA cost?

GNC Total Lean CLA is available for $41.99, plus shipping and handling for 120 softgels. It will last a month or two, depending on how much you take per day.

How should I take GNC Total Lean CLA?

Take two capsules once or twice a day with meals and a glass of water.

Is this a vegetarian supplement?

No, the supplement contains gelatin which is an animal product.

Is this product gluten free?

Yes. It is also free of dairy, artificial colors, flavors, and yeast.

GNC Total Lean CLA Ingredients

GNC Total Lean CLA is a simple product from General Nutrition Centers. This company is one of the larger vitamin retailers. They sell outside brands in addition to their own. Science is around for CLA, but the dieter may expect more than this ingredient can offer.

GNC Total Lean CLA Ingredients and Supplement Facts

Serving Size: 2 Softgel Capsules
Serving Per Container: 45
Amount per Serving% DV
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (from Safflower Oil)2000mg*

Other Ingredients: Gelatin, glycerin

We focused closely on the GNC Total Lean CLA ingredients to give you the facts.

CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)

Conjugated linoleic acid [1] is commonly found in beef and dairy products. It can also come from safflower oil. This substance is often referred to as CLA, and it’s used in all sorts of fitness supplements and weight-loss products.

What Does CLA Do?

CLA contains a mixture of natural fatty acids that may help promote heart health, lower blood pressure and improve lean body mass. Conjugated linoleic acid is supposed to reduce unwanted body fat by encouraging the use of stored fat cells as energy.

Clinical Research

According to WebMD, “Taking conjugated linoleic acid by mouth daily might help decrease body fat in adults, but it does not seem to decrease body weight or body mass index (BMI) in most people.”


Gelatin is essentially a substance that is derived from animal products. It’s typically colorless and flavorless. This ingredient is used in countless manufactured foods like candy, marshmallows, yogurts, ice creams and gelatin desserts.

What is it Supposed to Do?

Gelatin[2] is often used to manufacture capsules or shells for pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements. This substance basically houses the key ingredients until they reach the stomach, and then the gelatin dissolves.

Clinical Research

There is no actual research that supports gelatin as an effective ingredient for weight-loss. However, this component has been shown to work well as a substance for manufacturing shells or casings for supplements and pharmaceuticals.


Glycerin is used to manufacture a variety of food products, dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals and personal care items. This substance is often colorless and odorless. It is a viscous liquid, and it may have a sweet taste.

What is it Supposed to Do?

Glycerin is an inactive component when used in pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements. In fact, it’s typically used to manufacture the gel capsules or casings that house the key/active ingredients.

Clinical Research

There is no research that supports glycerin as a key or active ingredient for weight reduction or fat loss. But, the Food and Drug Administration does recognize this substance as a safe component for the manufacturing of capsule supplements and pharmaceuticals.

GNC Total Lean CLA Scientific Abstracts


A dose effect analysis had suggested that fat loss in comparison to placebo was −0.024 kg · g CLA−1 · wk−1 (P = 0.03). Following adjustment to the median dosage (3.2 g CLA/d) CLA had been effective and created a decrease in fat mass for the subjects of CLA group alone (0.05 ± 0.05 kg/wk; P < 0.001) as well as the group in comparison to placebo (0.09 ± 0.08 kg/wk; P < 0.001). It was concluded that when CLA was administered at a dose of 3.2 g/d, it had created a modest loss in body fat within human subjects. [1]

The mean (± SD) body fat mass in the CLA-free fatty acid and CLA- triacylglycerol groups were at 8.7 ± 9.1% and 6.9 ± 9.1% respectively. These had been lower than those in the placebo group (P < 0.001). The participants who received CLA-free fatty acid had 1.8 ± 4.3% more lean body mass than participants taking placebo (P = 0.002). The alterations had not been linked to diet and exercise. LDL had elevated in the CLA-free fatty acid group (P = 0.008), HDL reduced in the CLA-triacylglycerol subjects (P = 0.003), and lipoprotein had raised in both groups (P < 0.001) when compared with month 0. The fasting blood glucose had not been changed in any of the groups. Glycated hemoglobin had elevated in all participants from month 0, yet there had not been any significant alterations between the groups and negative effects had not differed within the groups. It had been concluded that supplementation of CLA- triacylglycerol or CLA-free fatty acid in the long-term does decrease body fat mass in healthy overweight adults. [2]

When a combination of isomers was given to the animal subjects, chemically triggered tumorigenesis of skin, mammary and colon was reduced. There are a plethora of isomers of CLA that are already metabolized to de-saturate and beta-oxidize products, indicating that the metabolites could be important anticancer compounds. Mechanisms of suppression of carcinogenesis could include decreasing cell proliferation, inducing apoptosis and alterations in the cell cycle components. Additionally, CLA modulates markers of eicosanoid formation and immunity in an array of species as well as lipid metabolism and gene expression. CLA is likely to exert blocking properties in carcinogenesis through one or several pathways. [3]

Participants had felt increased fullness and satiety while experience decreased hunger following 13 weeks CLA intervention when compared to placebo. Appetite, which includes fullness, hunger and satiety were all favorably affected by intake of 1.8 or 3.6 g CLA per day. This had not led to a decreased EI at breakfast time nor did it lead to a body weight management improvement following weight-loss. [4]


Previous GNC Total Lean CLA Review (Updated January 22, 2014):

What You Should Know

GNC Total Lean CLA claims to provide energy and support a healthy metabolism. CLA is conjugated linoleic acid and was once considered a healthy supplement to boost fat burn and protect lean muscle. Clinical studies have proven this claim to be untrue and reviews by consumers have deterred many dieters from taking products like GNC Total Lean CLA in sort of the same way as Tru Ultra Lean. CLA is linked to gastro-intestinal products in adults including digestion problems and upset stomach. CLA is not a fat burner or appetite suppressant, so there is no reason to believe the supplement will increase weight loss or help make weight loss easier. Among other products recommended for energy and health, HGH Pro is a fitness supplement that increases muscle mass and reduces body fat.

List of Ingredients

Conjugated Linoleic Acid.

Product Features

GNC links the GNC Total Lean CLA product to a review on WebMD of proven weight loss products. Our favorite ingredient, green tea is on the list and so is conjugated linoleic acid. According to the WebMD report, some clinical trials have proven CLA can increase weight loss. But, reading further into the article WebMD also notes the dieters were given 3.2 grams or 3200 mg of CLA every day for six months. This is a higher dose than other CLA products just like, as the name suggests, CLA 1250 contains 1250 mg. GNC Total Lean CLA contains only 2000 mg or 2 grams per serving and dosage directions state it can be taken once a day, if desired. There is not enough CLA in the supplement at one dose to be comparable to the study listed. The dieters also gained fewer pounds during the winter months while taking the supplement. Gaining weight is not an option when it comes to a weight loss product. Unfortunately CLA Core has considerable complaints about negative side effects. Side effects are also listed for CLA including nausea, stomach upset and diarrhea.

GNC Total Lean CLA sells for $21.99 in stores and $16.99 online. CLA 500, in contrast, is priced at $85 or so depending where you go. Some dieters who have tried the GNC Total Lean CLA product claim the supplement needs to be taken up to 4 times a day for any weight loss benefits. Taking more CLA will simply increase the chance of having negative side effects. Going back the WebMD article, researchers called for more trials to establish how much is too much before making recommendations for the supplement. Taking a quadruple dose could be defined as too much.


  • None.


  • GNC Total Lean CLA may cause stomach upset and diarrhea.
  • The supportive link listed by GNC does not support the supplement.
  • CLA is not a proven fat loss or weight loss supplement.


There is no price that is low enough for a dieter to take a product that may work to increase weight loss. Proven weight loss products are available that are both safe and effective unlike CLA products. Eternal Lean similarly may be unsafe for people with mental illnesses. Green tea and chromium cost fat less than GNC Total Lean CLA and are both proven to increase weight loss without diarrhea or other stomach problems.

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.

44 GNC Total Lean CLA Reviews

  • Need exercise with it?

    Do I have to exercise with this product?

    • Your Name


    • Maribel (Editor)

      Hi Mary, exercise will definitely help you achieve your goal faster.

  • Annette

    Does CLA contain stimulants?

    • Anna (Editor)

      Hi Annette! It is stimulant free.

  • Does the pill really work?

    does the pill really work?

    • Maribel (Editor)

      Hello. According to our research there is no solid evidence that this essential fatty acid causes weight-loss or reduced BMI. Also, one user mentioned seeing no improvements after 5 weeks. But, keep in mind that all users are different and may experience varying results. A product you might check is Pronabolin, that claims to help you lose significantly more weight than with diet and exercise alone.

  • Quantity of Caffeine

    How much caffeine does it have. Gnc total lean?

    • Prov31Julia

      To answer Matthew’s query, my bottle does not indicate any caffeine. I would not have bought it if it had caffeine. It says CLA from Safflower oil, gelatin, glycerin. It does not indicate what the gelatin was sourced from (pig, beef, sheep, fish, shellfish? I’ve seen all these and vegetarian source used for other products!).

      I have a known allergy to shellfish, but when I bought this (on sale – pretty sure I did not pay $41.99 for 180 capsules!), I was noticing pain in tummy as if it was soy based. They claim they do not use soy, wheat, gluten, fake colors, fake flavors, sugar, starch, sodium free, no preservatives, no dairy, corn, but they conveniently do NOT mention anything about what gelatin was sourced with.

      I managed to gag down 90 caps and saw none of the results I had gotten with other brands of CLA that I had purchased prior to GNC releasing this Total Lean CLA version. This just happened to be on sale and I happens to be nearby. I thought I would try it, to see if it was as effective as brands I had bought from health food stores (not at GNC). I did not experience any fat burn or similar results. Meanwhile I still don’t know if this evasiveness on the label truely does mean that the capsule is made with shellfish or pork. It’s not clear at all what, exactly, it was made with. So, pretty blue bottle aside, that’s not gonna cut it, and so far I haven’t been able to find out the ingredient used to produce the gelatin, even on their website. I hadn’t even used much of the second bottle, and finally just quit using it. Was thinking I would throw out the rest and recycle the pretty blue bottle (at least RecycleBank dot com will give me rewards for my recycling efforts…).

    • Maribel (Editor)

      Hi Mathew! This product is actually caffeine free.

  • Steven

    It says refrigerate after opening. Is it neccessary?

    • Everly

      Hi Steven! It is best to follow the product instructions and refrigerate after opening so it won’t spoil.

  • Andrew

    Dose it make everybody hair fall out or dose it depend on the person? and will it grow back?

    • Anna (Editor)

      Hello Andrew. Hair loss is among the potential side effects, other users have reported so. if this happens, please make sure to consult with your physician immediately.

  • Maggie dekur Name

    Hi, I started on CLA yesterday and feel sort of dizzy. Should I go on taking them?

    • Veronica

      Hi Maggie. Many users have reported feeling fatigue. Please do not continue taking this product without first consulting your physician and let them know about the dizziness you’ve been experiencing. If your side-effects continue, another option is Pronabolin, it could maybe be a better fit.

  • Alex

    Let me tell you a little about my experience using CLA someone recomended this to me and it really worked to get rid of my belly fat… but after a month or so my hair started falling off really bad, of course I was scared when looking at the amount of hair I was losing and I’m talking about severe hair loss not 50-100 strands of hair. To make the story short I found out I had developed insuline resistence these pills affect the way we process sugar but it would have worked wonders if I had been healthy to begin with and this just made it worst so always consult your doctor if someone in your family has diabetes. It took about 6-8 weeks for me to see a difference in my hairloss but for anyone concered about hairloss caused by CLA it will get better I promise !

  • Tina

    When taking diet pills you can not just sit on your butt thinking you can eat whatever you want and that your fats going to melt away. You have to eat healthy and cut out sugary drinks and still exercise. In my experience so far it has definitely given me a great burst of energy, helping me to work out longer and harder. Also just because you haven’t lost weight doesn’t mean it’s not working. You could be gaining muscle which weighs more than fat!

  • How to take this supplements

    i bought this recently but i wanted to know if you take this with food or without food?

  • Donnie

    Just bought it today …..reading g about lots of hair loss from people …..what’s the deal …any answers

    • Devon (Editor)

      Hi Donnie. Telogen effluvium is the most common form of drug-induced hair loss. It usually appears within two to four months after taking the drug. This condition causes the hair follicles to go into their resting phase (telogen) and fall out too early. People with telogen effluvium usually shed between 100 and 150 hairs a day.

  • it's a fat burner only
    Debbie (Verified User)

    I just purchased the GNC pro performance CLA. Reminder people, it’s a fat burner only. It keeps the lean muscle and reduces the fat. There is no actual weight loss. This is just to help melt the fat away. I’m sure after a spell you could see some weight loss, but not in the beginning if you have a lot of fat to lose.

  •   i look so trimed i love it
    dezi (Verified User)

    its been a week now since i started using this product i wolud feel feel very tired and a bit weak at first but in two days i had my energy back i take two capsules in the morning and two at night i dont excersise i dont eat strched food i drink smoothis which consist of fruits and vegies and drink the flat belly detox water i weighed 96.7kg four days ago i now weigh 90.3kg and i look so trimed i love it

    • Sebastian

      Hi. Isnt they said 2 tap per day. U took 4 per day. Isnt it overdose

  •  Its giving result !
    Julio De la Cruz (Verified User)

    I started using CLA a month ago and saw loss of fat in my problem areas including belly and face. I hadn’t thought about the results coming from CLA but it was one of the 2 products I started using which I had never used before. I was still doing my regular cardio but saw quicker result. My workouts again are the same as I’ve been doing for years.

  • will this product work

    Hi I haven’t used gnc total lean cla before but would like to know if it will help me to gain some muscles and weight and will this product work

  •  Had effect on my hair
    Your Name (Verified User)

    I have the same issue I use to have very thick hair and now my hair is thining just like yoy. I did stop taking it also hope it will stop thining

  • I have been losing lots of hair

    Ever since I started taking this supplement I have been losing lots of hair!! Its breaking off at the root and pretty soon I will be bald! I lost prob 1/2 of my hair. Please let me know if this is or could be a possible side effect.
    Thank you

    • Carol

      CLA works very good for me,I don’t have no side effects taking CLA, I loss six pounds in my first week. I was weighing 235 when I started taking them in July of 2014 and now I’m down to 175 in December 2014, love this product GNC put on their shelves.

    • Your Name

      I’ve been concerned about this lately as well. Been taking CLA for months and my hair is def thinning! I’m going off before I’m left with bare spots. Not worth the risk even tho I’m not sure this is the cause.

      • Stephanie

        Hi there! I used this product about 1 1/2 months and my hair is falling really bad, I stopped about 3 weeks ago because I was really concerned about it, not worth the risk in my oppinion

    • Maribel (Editor)

      Hi Marcy, another user asked about this. Sorry to hear this. Please make sure you consult with your physician before continuing to take his product.

  • I m hypothyroid can I take cla as well as l-carnitine?

    I m hypothyroid can I take cla as well as l-carnitine

    • Itonia

      I’m small (frame) w/a bit of belly fat as soon as I took one, I got this sudden cramp as if I was having menstral cramp then suddenly to the bathroom I go (I know “TMI”) so I just did not continue to eat anymore that’s my exp. I suggest go natural as possible and sit up will do. Thx for reading tata!

    • Maribel (Editor)

      Hi Preetiy! Other users with Hypothyroid have reported using this product and reported an improvement. But, every user is different so, it is best to consult with your physician first.

  • My child ate one. Is it safe?
    Stacy (Verified User)

    My 3-yr old accidentally ate one of these capsules; will this be harmful?

    • Chris


    • Maribel (Editor)

      This product is intended for people who are 18 years or older. please take your child to his physician immediately.

  • Does it really work?

    Does this really work? My doctor recommended it to me. I get heartburn
    from this cla and was wondering how to
    stop or get rid of heartburn, hopefully
    weight at the same time. Also I was told
    to take 2 in am and 2 in pm cla is 2000mg
    4 pills Really? please advise. There are so many products for weight loss
    i need one that really works. I need to lose 40 pounds.

    • Sam

      My husband take Ceyenne Pepper supplement in the middle of every meal and this has worked wonders for his heart burn. He is trying to only use all natural products.

    • Maribel (Editor)

      Hey JoAnne, there is no solid evidence that it causes weight-loss or loss in BMI. This pill is taken three daily, either 30 minutes before eating or during a meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Please consult with your physician if you continue feeling heartburn.

  • Safety in pregnancy

    Can I take this while trying to conceive?

  •  Help me tremendously
    Dave (Verified User)

    I actually lost quite abit of belly fat using this product with a good diet and exercise. I added it after I had hit a plateau just exercising and getting well and this help me tremendously.

    • Anonymous