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Can CLA provide salvation from cellulite?

3 min read

Are you one of the many people plagued by dreaded cellulite? If that's a yes, we have some good news for you! This post will look at some science-backed solutions that could help you can win the war on cellulite.

Cellulite is a term used to describe the dimpled appearance of skin caused by fat deposits just below the surface of the skin. It affects a whopping 85% of women in the UK. It is thought that the dimpling is caused by toxins, fat and fluid which becomes trapped under the skin and causes fibrous tissues to become hard.

Recent studies have looked at the effect of a substance called Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) on body fat levels and as an anti-cellulite treatment. CLA is a trans fatty acid found naturally in meat and dairy products.

CLA to help reduce body fat

A recent clinical trial in China took 63 obese subjects and randomly assigned them to receive daily supplements of CLA (3.4 grams) or a placebo (salad oil) in a milk product for 12 weeks. Results showed that after 12 weeks of supplementation participants in the CLA group displayed average decreases in bodyweight of 0.7kg, BMI of 0.31 kg/m2, body fat mass of 0.58kg and fat percentage of 0.6%.

Researchers concluded 'the consumption of milk supplemented with CLA (3.4grams per day) significantly decreased the body weight, BMI, body fat mass, fat percentage, subcutaneous fat mass and the waist-to-hip ratio in subjects over just 12 weeks.'

A study conducted in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Pais Vasco found that CLA interferes with a substance in your body called lipoprotein lipase, this is an enzyme  partly responsible for helping store fat in your body. The same study also concluded that CLA helps your body use its existing fat for energy, therefore showing CLA not only inhibits the storing of fat it also enhances the burning of fat.

CLA an effective anti-cellulite treatment

In a study published in the Advances in Therapy Journal, 60 females were given CLA for 60 days and 'in as many as 75% of the women, the appearance of the skin improved significantly, and thigh circumference was reduced by an average of 0.88 inch.'

These results were also supported by a study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science in which researches concluded 'CLA was proven to ameliorate the signs of cellulite and improve the appearance of skin.'

How does it work?

While further research is certainly needed, experts believe it could be down to CLA's powerful antioxidant properties that works to rid the body of toxins - in other words it's thought the CLA prevents the accumulation of toxins, fat and fluid under the skin which causes the fibrous tissue to become hard and 'dimpled.'

CLA has also been shown to reduce body fat, so with excess fat making the condition appear aesthetically worse, this could be another explanation as to how it helps reduce cellulite

CLA supplementation is easy and efficient 

CLA is found in small amounts in beef, however since it contains a relatively high amount of saturated fat getting adequate amounts of of CLA from beef alone might be counter productive. A supplement is an easy and convenient way to get an effective intake.

More ways to win the battle

Here are a few other things you can do to help improve the appearance of cellulite:

  • a good exercise regime will stimulate the body's lympathic system, helping to rid the body of toxins
  • massage with a foam roller - helps to loosen up interwoven muscle fibres and increases blood flow to those fibres thus helping the body get rid of toxins.
  • raise the body's antioxidant levels by eating foods such as blueberries and blackberries
  • give collagen production a boost by easting sulphur packed foods such as cucumbers, celery and black olives


A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.