Who wouldn't like to lose a little excess belly fat? Let’s face it – fat in the abdomen and thighs is hard to lose, even with persistent exercise. However, a 2006 study showed that Conjugated Linoeleic Acid, or CLA, when added to a weight loss program or healthy diet, could reduce fat in the belly and legs of women and in the abdominal area for men. Those who took part in the study lost anywhere from 1.5 to 3 pounds just by adding CLA to their diet.

CLA is a naturally occurring substance which can be found in dairy and meat products but it can also be taken as a supplement. In the 2006 study, as well as other studies, participants took 3.4 grams of CLA per day to get results.

CLA was also found to preserve muscle tissue, along with reducing belly fat, according to the 2006 study. One study, done in December, 2000, found that participants lost an average of 6 pounds when taking 3.4 grams of CLA per day.

Other research on CLA has found the following benefits:

1. A study done at Purdue University in Indiana, found that CLA improved insulin levels in about two-thirds of diabetic patients. CLA also moderately reduced the triglyceride and blood glucose levels.

2. In other studies CLA was found to Lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels

3. CLA increased metabolic rate-this has been shown to benefit those with hypothyroidism

4. Muscle growth was enhanced and, as we know, muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, which would also benefit weight loss

5. CLA lowered insulin resistance, which could help prevent adult-onset diabetes

6. CLA helps build a strong immune system and so helps build the body’s resistance to disease and illness.

CLA may also aid tumor reduction in animals, however more research is needed to substantiate this.

CLA research and studies were done with participants who were already eating a healthy diet and following a basic exercise program.

Once CLA has reduced belly fat, how long do the effects last? Some noticed that the effects of CLA slowed after several months and a small number of people experienced some bloating.

Currently more research is being done on CLA.

How much CLA should you take and where can you find it?

To purchase CLA supplements, look in your local health food store or order online. Be sure to purchase a patented name brand as others may have inconsistent or insufficient amounts of CLA.

In studies and testing, the brand of CLA used was “Tonalin” which can be purchased in 1,000 mg capsules. The recommended dosage is 3.4 mg per day so you would need t take 4 of the 1,000 mg per day to achieve the effects found in the study.

It is best to take CLA supplements with meals.

Last summer, I decided to put CLA to a test of my own. My husband, my daughter and I took CLA for about 6 months, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise program. All of us experienced a significant reduction in abdominal fat and lost about 4-5 pounds in the space of 2-3 weeks after beginning the supplements.

After about 8 months, the effects waned. However, after taking a break from the supplements for another 3 months, we started them again, with the same beneficial results. None of us experienced any abdominal discomfort or bloating.

Maximum benefits cam be obtained from CLA supplements by following a low-glycemic diet program and getting regular daily exercise.

Author's Bio: 

Joan Jones is an award winning journalist who specializes in the fields of health, wellness and weight loss. [Weight Loss Tips, Healthy Recipes