Are You At Risk for
CLA Side Effects?

Our motto here at Side Effects Site is that what you don’t know might hurt you, but in the case of CLA Side Effects, problems are few and far between, and in most studies, entirely non-existent. That is because CLA, also known as conjugated linoleic acid, are natural Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids that are present in the products of ‘ruminant’ animals such as sheep and cows. Unfortunately, due to the industrial production of milk and meat that uses grain to fatten animals rather than allowing them to feed naturally on grass, as nature intended, the CLA content  of beef, milk and dairy products is far lower than it would be were natural grazing the ‘industry standard’ for animal products.

grass fed cows have more claCLA Naturally Comes From Grass Fed Cows

The health benefits of the good fatty acid known as conjugated linoleic acid has now been replaced by animal products with less nutrition, which could be contributing to the health challenges of western countries, particularly the United States where healthy raw milk has become so difficult to get, in many places, that farmers have even been criminalized for providing a healthy product to willing customers. A lack of the Benefits of CLA, as well as the Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids,  in the diet is a Consequences of Pasteurized Milk Laws and grain-fed animals, impacting health far more than we might know.

As a result, CLA supplements are now being studied, and while the Benefits of CLA Supplements are fairly widespread, this Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid has become more well known for its possible use as a weight loss aid, while some of its other benefits on health, such as reduction of inflammation, is not as well known. As might be expected, CLA supplements have become all the rage, and more and more people are interested in knowing if this potential weight loss aid is safe to take. Well, fortunately, while it does seem as though it’s safe for the vast majority of people, there may be just a few cautions that some might want to be educated about.

Higher Cholesterol Levels
As CLA Side Effects?

At least one study showed a worsening of the ‘good’ cholesterol, known as high density lipoproteins(1), although this finding may not have even been statistically significant. However, there were several studies that contradicted this and actually showed an improvement in the healthy cholesterol levels in the blood(2). So, it might be that the different qualities of CLA supplements had different effects, or that different populations of people might react somewhat differently to supplementation. In any case, if you have any cholesterol issues, it might be prudent to check your cholesterol levels at intervals if you continue with CLA supplements for long periods of time.

Worsening Blood Sugar and Insulin Markers

Again, at least one study showed a worsening of blood sugar and insulin markers as one of the CLA side effects(1). However, again, several studies actually showed improvements in markers of blood sugar and insulin in diabetic patients(4). Unfortunately, there are not enough studies on this to definitely show one way or another if either one will occur in your case.

If you do decide to try CLA supplementation, if you are a diabetic, pre-diabetic, or otherwise have blood sugar issues, it would be a good idea to closely monitor your condition while you are on the supplements and to stop if your numbers become worse. None of the markers that changed were dramatic or irreversible, so simply being aware of the problem will result in catching and preventing this problem early. In other words, if you have blood sugar issues, it should not be a ‘deal breaker’ that makes you decide not to take these supplements and, in fact, they are just as likely to IMPROVE these markers as they are to worsen them.

Absolutely No CLA Side Effects 

In the vast majority of studies, just like the Side Effects of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, the predominant  conjugated linoleic acid side effects were…  nothing at all!  In fact, there have even been studies done for the exclusive purpose of determining the safety of CLA in human subjects, and these studies reported virtually no CLA side effects. Animal studies have also been done that gave rats ridiculous amounts of CLA, equivalent to 50 times higher than a human would take for normal supplementation, and there were no conjugated linoleic acid side effects noted even at those incredibly high dosages(3).  

All in all, CLA side effects seem to only effect a small number of people, and those side effects are not severe, easily manageable, and quickly reversible upon discontinuation of the supplement. If you are interested in finding out if the Benefits of CLA will work for you, you might want to check out my Review of PureSimpleFit CLA Complex supplements as a cost effective, good quality CLA supplement with a money back guarantee.

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  1. Treatment With Dietary Conjugated Linoleic Acid Causes Isomer-Specific Insulin Resistance in Obese Men With the Metabolic Syndrome
  2. Conjugated Linoleic Acid Reduces Body Fat Mass in Overweight and Obese Humans
  3. Perspective on the safety and effectiveness of conjugated linoleic acid- This is a 'metanalysis', or a study that compiled many studies. Very comprehensive report on the safety of CLA Supplements
  4. Dietary Conjugated Linoleic Acids in Health

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