Life Extension Magazine®

CLA for Weight Loss and Diabetes

CLA for weight loss and diabetes, SAMe for depression, and arthritis, too?, plus…

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Life Extension Editorial Staff.


Q I am a type II diabetic and need to lose weight. Would CLA help and can I take it considering that I am a diabetic?

A CLA supplementation has been shown to improve the lean mass to body fat ratio, decreasing fat deposition, especially in the abdomen and enhancing muscle growth. One mechanism by which CLA reduces body fat is to prevent the excess accumulation of glucose and fatty acids in the body's adipocytes (fat cells). People become fatter when the volume of their adipocytes expands. CLA also facilitates fat loss by improving insulin sensitivity and increasing energy expenditure. This means it can be helpful not only for weight loss but for diabetes too. The University of Wisconsin released results of a six-month study involving 89 overweight people. Individuals who supplemented with CLA were better able to lose weight and maintain goal weight, with less fat regained and more muscle mass retained.

In reference to diabetes, CLA may have advantages over current drug therapies considering overall health benefits. Animal studies at Purdue showed that when Zucker diabetic fatty rats (those specially bred to become obese and develop glucose intolerance) were given the drug, TZD, they got fatter. Conversely, when laboratory animals were given CLA they became leaner. Also, during the course of the CLA study, obese animals lost 10% of body fat. After two weeks, CLA-supplemented rats were diabetes free; all of the un-supplemented rats had developed diabetes.

Q My brother takes SAMe for depression and it really seems to help him. I recently read an article that stated that SAMe could be used for arthritis. Do you have any information about this?

A SAMe stands for S-adenosyl-methionine. It is an amino acid derivative normally synthesized in the body. However, in sick or elderly people, system levels may become depleted. Researchers from the University of Maryland discovered that SAMe is as effective in reducing arthritis pain as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but without all the side effects [J Fam Pract 2002 May;51(5):425-30]. In a double blind Germany study, researchers concluded that SAMe was just as effective as ibuprofen in treating patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, hip and spine [Am J Med 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):81-31].

Q I noticed you offer CLA with Guarana, why? I need to lose around ten pounds. Should I take this one or the regular CLA?

A Guarana is an herb that contains a form of caffeine called guaranine, which is 2.5 times stronger than the caffeine found in coffee, tea and soft drinks. What makes guaranine unique from caffeine found in beverages is its slower release. That's because the guarana seed is fatty (even in powder form) and is not readily water-soluble. Therefore the body does not quickly absorb it.


Since the guaranine is released slowly, the energy boost that is experienced from guarana is not like that of coffee with its sudden rush and quick drop-off. Rather, it continues to escalate over hours. Guarana was added to the CLA to further enhance weight loss. It aids in a temporary, natural increase in body temperature and metabolic thermogenesis through nutritional stimulation of the body's beta receptor pathway, which can induce the breakdown and release of stored body fat, thereby allowing stored fats to be turned into energy. Recent animal studies showed that it reduced the number of adipocytes by 50%. Guarana should probably be avoided by those who are sensitive to caffeine, have uncontrolled hypertension or must avoid caffeine for other health reasons.

A person who is sensitive to caffeine and only needs to lose ten pounds should take the CLA-stand alone product first. However, if caffeine is not a problem, the CLA plus Guarana should be considered to provide quicker and more sustainable results.

Q I am premenopasual and take DHEA and feel great. But I recently heard that it might be contra-indicated for birth control pills, which I also take. I am getting too much estrogen or other hormones?

A According to the PDR for Nutritional Supplements, DHEA is not contraindicated for use with birth control pills. The best way to know if your estrogen or other hormone levels are too high is to have a complete hormonal blood test, including your DHEA levels. The Foundation offers these tests and members can receive a 25% discount. For more information go to or contact Life Extension's blood testing lab at 1-800-208-3444.