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Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Supplements May Speed Weight Loss

News Promises New Tool in Weight Loss Battle for People with Hypothyroidism


Updated June 02, 2014

Woman taking pills
Paul Bradbury/Caiaimage/Getty Images
Patients with thyroid problems who are facing weight loss challenges may be helped by the dietary supplement conjugated linoleic acid - known as CLA -- which is reported to help body fat in people who are overweight.

A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, published in the December 2000 issue of the Journal of Nutrition found that CLA reduces fat and preserves muscle tissue. According to the research manager, an average reduction of six pounds of body fat was found in the group that took CLA, compared to a placebo group. The study found that approximately 3.4 grams of CLA per day was the level needed to obtain the beneficial effects of CLA on body fat.

Dr. Michael Pariza, who conducted research on CLA with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, reported in August 2000 to the American Chemical Society that "It doesn't make a big fat cell get little. What it rather does is keep a little fat cell from getting big." Pariza's research did not find weight loss in his group of 71 overweight people, but what he did find was that when the dieters stopped dieting, and gained back weight, those taking CLA "were more likely to gain muscle and not fat."

In a separate study conducted at Purdue University in Indiana, CLA was found to improve insulin levels in about two-thirds of diabetic patients, and moderately reduced the blood glucose level and triglyceride levels.

CLA has been the subject of a variety of research in the past several years, and findings also suggest that some of the other benefits of CLA include the following:

  • Increases metabolic rate -- This would obviously be a positive benefit for thyroid patients, as hypothyroidism -- even when treated -- can reduce the metabolic rate in some people.
  • Decreases abdominal fat -- Adrenal imbalances and hormonal shifts that are common in thyroid patients frequently cause rapid accumulation of abdominal fat, so this benefit could be quite helpful.
  • Enhances muscle growth -- Muscle burns fat, which also contributes to increased metabolism, which is useful in weight loss and management.
  • Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides -- Since many thyroid patients have elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, even with treatment, this benefit can have an impact on a thyroid patient's health.
  • Lowers insulin resistance -- Insulin resistance is a risk for some hypothyroid patients, and lowering it can also help prevent adult-onset diabetes and make it easier to control weight.
  • Reduces food-induced allergic reactions -- Since food allergies can be at play when weight loss becomes difficult, this can be of help to thyroid patients.
  • Enhances immune system -- Since most cases of thyroid disease are autoimmune in nature, enhancing the immune system's ability to function properly is a positive benefit.
If you're interested in taking CLA to help with weight loss, keep in mind that it's not a magic pill, and you will need a program of healthy diet and exercise in order to successfully lose weight and keep it off. And thyroid patients also need to make sure that their thyroid condition is properly treated, and levels optimized.

If You Are Interested in Taking CLA

CLA is a supplement, and does not require a prescription. It is available at health food stores, and at online outlets. Experts recommend that you use a patented name brand, as some brands have inconsistent or insufficient amounts of CLA contained in them. The brand used in testing was "Tonalin" patentd formulations of CLA. To obtain the level determined to be effective in the testing, you would need to take 3.4 g, or 3400 mg, per day, with meals.

Frequently Asked Questions About CLA

See my article, Frequently Asked Questions About CLA for the answers to the following questions:
  • Is Any Brand of CLA Good to Use?
  • Is CLA Safe to Take With My Thyroid Medications?
  • Is CLA Only for People with Thyroid Problems?
  • How Much Should I Take?
  • Does CLA Have Soy in It? Should I Take It If It Says It Contains Soy?
  • Where Can I Get CLA?
  • How Should I Take It?
  • Does CLA Have Any Side Effects?
  • Where Can I Read More About CLA's Health Benefits?
Again, see Frequently Asked Questions About CLA.

If You're Planning to Start a Weight Loss Program

And, if you are planning to start a weight loss program, a good place to start your information search is the Thyroid Weight Loss Center, feturing information, diets, diet books, and much more.
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Thyroid Disease
  4. Lose Weight Successfully
  5. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Supplement & Weight Loss

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