CLA: The New Miracle Weight Loss Pill?
WebMD News Archive
Some Weight Loss, Excellent Body Fat Loss continued...
They were randomly assigned to three groups. The two groups
taking CLA got either the typical off-the-shelf pills (4.5 grams of 80% CLA)
daily or the syrup formulation (3.6 grams of 76% CLA disguised in a capsule)
daily. The third group took a placebo capsule filled with olive oil daily.
Volunteers were not required to change their diet or exercise
habits. However, a nurse did give dietary and exercise advice upon request.
Daily calorie intake was similar among the three groups; all volunteers reduced
their calorie intake a little during the study, he reports. All got about the
same amount of exercise.
"This strongly suggests that the observed effects of CLA on
body composition were independent of diet," he writes. The decreased
calorie intake may be partly due to the supplements and/or a reduced appetite.
Also, because volunteers kept a food diary, they "learned" to cut food
Several times during the 12-month study period, volunteers came
to a clinic to have their weight, BMI, and blood checked. They also completed
questionnaires on their diet and exercise in the previous two weeks.
At the end of one year:
As for the weight loss, "any weight loss is better than no
weight loss -- and at least they didn't gain weight," Moore says.
"But I'm interested in the fact that CLA is found naturally in certain
foods [like beef, lamb, and dairy products]. Do we really need to take a
Regarding other risk factors:
- The CLA pill group had slightly higher LDL "bad" cholesterol.
The CLA syrup group had slightly lower HDL "good"
Both CLA groups had higher lipoprotein levels, a marker of
inflammation and heart disease.
Both CLA groups had higher levels of leptin, a hormone thought
to be a heart disease marker.
Both CLA groups had higher white blood cell counts, which could
trigger damaging artery inflammation.
The CLA groups had only modest changes in blood sugar levels, a
marker for diabetes.
Few volunteers dropped out of the study, indicating that the
CLA supplements had no bothersome side effects, reports Gaullier.
"The results of this study corroborate and expand on the
findings of the previous short-term studies," he writes. His results show
that "the effect is greatest in those with highest body mass index,"
especially women with a 25 to 30 BMI.
'Normal' Changes in the Body
As far as the heart disease risk factors, the variations seen
in the CLA groups "are within normal physiological range," Gaullier
tells WebMD. Increased white blood cells may reflect the heightened immune
response that other studies have shown. In studies in Holland, CLA has been
shown to prevent some viral infections.
"CLA has also shown promise in animal studies in preventing
atherosclerosis [hardening of the arteries]," he says.
The increased lipoprotein levels may be a byproduct of fat
loss, says Gaullier. "The body does show inflammation caused by the process
of eliminating fat. We think this is what is happening, but we don't know for
"The mechanism(s) by which CLA decreases body fat mass and
increases lean muscle mass is not completely understood," he writes.
"CLA is known to accumulate in tissues of animals and humans where it is
readily metabolized." CLA may trigger fat cell death, shrink fat cells, or
it may speed up metabolism to promote weight loss, he explains.