Welcome to my science-backed guide, where I'll show you all the scientifically proven dangers, risks, and side effects of CLA.

So instead of painting a rosy picture, this part will give you an honest insight into the problems you could be running into with CLA.

Again, regardless of whether or not you're struggling with a health issue or a medical condition, you need to discuss taking CLA with your own doctor.

First, an example of CLA troubles I personally know of.

A real life example of CLA side effects

The reason why I even started looking into the side effects of CLA was because one of my clients ran into some trouble when taking it.

She was trying to get rid of some extra body fat and she bought a couple different supplements that she believed could help speed up fat loss.

Taking a couple different "fat burners" at once may (or may not) maximize fat burn, but you'll also be exposed to the risk of side effects of ALL the supplements.

Anyways, after three days of taking a CLA supplement she found out that she gets stomach pains within a couple of minutes after taking a CLA pill.

Naturally, I told her to stop taking CLA and I promised her to take a closer look at the science on any problems connected to CLA.

So here's what I found...

Diabetics should NEVER use CLA supplements

If you visit my guide to the scientifically proven benefits of CLA, then you'll see the science on how CLA increases the levels of fat in the liver.

This may worsen blood sugar control and worsen insulin resistance in people struggling with diabetes.

Researchers from the Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology (CSCB) found out that the synthetic CLA used fot the pills by the weight loss industry could throw you into a diabetic state.

(The natural CLA, on the other hand, won't do this to you.)

Scientists from Trinity Centre for Health Sciences and St. James also discovered that CLA supplements boosted glucose levels and lowered insulin sensitivity

(Both of these are bad news for diabetic patients).

So as a bare minimum, get a blood test to check your blood sugar levels before taking a CLA supplement.

If you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, then you should definitely avoid taking CLA.

Let's take a look on one more thing, the effect CLA has on the cholesterol and triglyceride levels in your blood.

How does CLA affect cholesterol?

The problem with CLA supplements and your cholesterol levels is that different studies came to completely different conclusions.

Some studies have shown that CLA supplements reduce the "good" cholesterol[1], while others showed CLA will decrease your good cholesterol levels.

This might have happened because different CLA supplements were used in the studies. But at this point, you simply can't be sure either way.

So yet again, if you want to start taking a CLA supplement, talk to your doctor and check your before/after cholesterol levels.

Another crazy side effect of CLA

CLA supplements can cause you to bleed out of your nose and can slow down the healing of your wounds. If you're struggling with a bleeding disorder you should be extra careful with CLA, though this can also be a problem even for perfectly healthy people.

This problem can be made even worse if you take a CLA supplement with herbs that increase the risk of bleeding. Ginkgo biloba, garlic and saw palmetto are just some examples of such herbs.

Because CLA can cause extra bleeding during and after surgery, it's best to stop taking CLA supplements at least 2 weeks before any kind of surgery.

On to how CLA effects kids and pregnant/breastfeeding women.

Is it safe to take CLA during pregnancy/breastfeeding?

During pregnancy, many woman are afraid to put on too much weight. Some women turn to weight loss products even as they're still pregnant or breastfeeding.

At this point, we can’t know if CLA supplements will hurt the unborn or breastfeeding baby, simply because no studies have looked at the CLA effects on this yet.

(And I don't see this changing anytime soon, because I can't imagine too many mothers volunteering for this kind of research.)

Again, if you are thinking about taking a CLA supplement during or after pregnancy, be sure to talk to your doctor about it.

An extreme case of side effects after taking a CLA supplement

In one medical case, doctors connected quite a few serious health risks and side effects with taking a CLA supplement.

A 46-year old healthy woman started taking a CLA supplement because she wanted to get rid of her body fat.

After 14 days she had symptoms of asthenia, nausea, anorexia, jaundice, and pruritus.

The biopsy of her liver showed she also developed hepatoxicity. Soon after she stopped taking CLA, the levels of enzymes in her liver returned to normal[2].

If you notice any of these side effects when taking a CLA supplement, you should stop taking CLA immediately and go to your doctor for help/advice.

Summary (actionable takeaways)

As you saw, CLA has the potential to cause some pretty serious side effect.

And even though I'm repeating this all over the place, it doesn't make it any less true:

Talk to your doctor before taking a CLA supplement, especially if you're struggling with diabetes, fatty liver disease, or high cholesterol levels.

And even if you don't have any health issues, only your doctor can confirm taking CLA is a good idea for you.

This guide is a part of a much bigger and more complete guide to CLA (visit that guide for more information).

Written by

Rok Sprogar is a NASM Certified Nutrition Coach (NASM-CNC) and a NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist (NASM-WLS) who has been contributing highly actionable and science-based content to Leanhigh.