Conjugated linoleic acid, more commonly known as CLA, is an altered form of linoleic acid, which is an omega-6 fatty acid. It cannot be made by the body, but can be obtained from meat, milk and butter.
CLA has potent antioxidant qualities, and can help to fight the damage caused by free radicals in the body. It has also been shown to help boost the immune system.
It is sometimes sold as a weight loss supplement, because by increasing the body's basal metabolic rate it makes it easier to burn fat.
CLA is also believed to help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and it can also lower insulin resistance, another factor which may help with weight control.
Common as a fitness and body building supplement, CLA is thought to help reduce fat deposits on the abdomen. Enhanced insulin sensitivity means that glucose does not accumulate in fat tissue, which in turn results in a better muscle to fat ratio in the body.
CLA is widely available as a supplement, in powder format as well as in tablets and capsules.