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GLA vs. CLA – What’s the Difference?

With so many different “weight loss” supplements out there it isn’t always easy to determine what you really need and why.

For many people, it can be truly overwhelming. Our team fields lots of questions every day, and one of the most common is the difference between “GLA” and “CLA.” What's the difference between GLA and CLA supplements?

And, with only one letter apart, the confusion is understandable! So, should you take one or both of them? How are they similar and how are they different?

GLA (gamma linolenic acid) and CLA (conjugated linolenic acid) are omega-6 fatty acids which help burn fat, promoting weight loss. Both are good for preventing weight gain after you’ve lost weight, and both help to control appetite. However, they accomplish these goals differently.


GLA raises your metabolism by making brown fat (adipose tissue) in the body burn calories for energy and to keep your body warm. Usually, brown fat is not as active in overweight people and that’s where GLA comes in. It can help activate brown fat and burn off the ugly “white” fat that accumulates under your skin all over your body. GLA is also a good appetite suppressant since it raises the levels of serotonin so you feel full and eat less. A study at the Welsh National School of Medicine in Cardiff, found that participants lost between 9 to 11 pounds in 6 weeks while taking GLA.

In addition to its “interior” affects, GLA also has exterior benefits! The prostaglandin it produces is an anti-inflammatory and diuretic, and helps the skin maintain tone and stay moisturized so it’s not saggy after and during weight loss.

Our favorite GLA supplement for weight loss is the GLA-90 formula which contains 90 mg of gamma linolenic acid from cold pressed black currant seed oil.


What is CLA? CLA is especially good at burning visceral fat, the kind hiding in between muscles and organs, and especially helpful for belly fat. Research published in the International Journal of Obesity (August 2001) found that a group of overweight men taking CLA lost mostly belly fat and reduced their waistlines by 1 inch without making any diet or lifestyle changes. In a similar study, women lost mostly belly and thigh fat with CLA and reduced their waistlines by 1.2 inches.

While CLA helps burn fat, it helps gain lean muscles at the same time. A year-long research study performed by the Scandinavian Clinical Research Group found that overweight people lost 9% of their body fat and increased their lean muscle mass by 2% just by taking CLA with no changes in their diet or lifestyle. And, a University of Wisconsin-Madison study concluded that CLA helped to prevent weight gain in people who previously lost weight. When the group gained weight while taking CLA, half of them gained weight back it was lean muscle! How does it work? CLA inhibits an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase which is involved in the storage of fat into fat cells. It keeps little fat cells from getting big, according to Michael Pariza, director of the Food Research Institute who conducted the University of Wisconsin Study.

CLA also helps reduce your appetite, especially when you are not getting enough sleep. It lowers levels of leptin when is raised with sleep deficiency and makes you hungrier.  Another study showed the leptin levels dropped 20-35% in 24 months in those taking CLA.

Available at the study-backed dose of 1000 mg per softgel, our CLA-1000 formula is derived from safflower oil.

So, should you take one or both of these amazing omega-6s? You decide.

I’ve taken both of them for years to help maintain my weight and have a flat stomach at 70! They work!

The post GLA vs. CLA – What’s the Difference? appeared first on Your Health Keys.

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UNI KEY Staff - January 11, 2024

Hi Terri – GLA and CLA contain bovine sourced gelatin.

Terri - January 11, 2024

What type of gelatin is used for the CLA and GLA? Pork? Beef? Vegetarian?
Thanks in advance

UNI KEY Staff - October 18, 2022

Hi Vee – Yes, CLA and GLA can be taken together. They both offer great benefits for your health.

Vee - October 18, 2022

Can CLA and GLA be used with bile buster? Can they be taken at the same time?

Also I am avoiding all seed oils. How is safflower oil not affecting the omega ratios?

Thank you!

Admin - May 18, 2021

Hi Marjorie -

GLA is an essential fatty acid that is naturally occurring in a number of different oils. GLA supplements are oil-based but contain a highly concentrated amount of GLA beyond what is found in the oil on its own normally. The most common sources of GLA are black currant seed oil and evening primrose oil. Ann Louise has found with research and experience over the years that black currant seed oil seems to be work best as a source of GLA. Our GLA supplement is sourced from black currant seed oil.

CLA is a critical fatty acid that is also found in a variety of different oils and like GLA supplements, CLA supplements isolate the CLA and create an oil-based formula that is highly concentrated in CLA. Safflower oil is the most common source for CLA and what our formula contains.

When you are determining what to take, look at the CLA and/or GLA amounts vs. focusing on the oil source so it doesn’t get confusing.

CLA and GLA are both helpful for weight loss but do have somewhat different functions as outlined in this article. If you have any further questions, please feel free to give our staff nutritionist a call at 800-888-4353.

Yours in health,

Marjorie - May 18, 2021

Now after looking at a GLA supplement I realize I already have, I’m super confused because it’s from Safflower oil! I thought the GLA came from the black currant and the CLA came from Safflower. This product I have says it’s GLA from safflower oil. The product is for maintaining weight after weight loss. Is your CLA from safflower oil different from the safflower oil product I have?

Marjorie - May 18, 2021

Wondering if I can take CLA instead of GLA if I do the Fat Flush even though the GLA is what’s recommended. I may have a contraindication (need to check with doctor) with the GLA but the CLA is just safflower oil and would be fine. Does Fat Flush need to be followed to an absolute T? Not sure if I can take Apple Cider Vinegar either lol.

Team UNI KEY - March 31, 2021

Taking CLA-1000 can help areas that need firming. Also to help rebuild muscle mass, Fat Flush Whey protein will give you the branched chain amino acids. It’s very effective. Here’s the link for the Fat Flush Whey.

Elaine - March 31, 2021

I am 68 y.o. female with the menopause pouch for waaaay too long. I’ve also developed crepey skin and it’s extremely difficult to maintain muscle mass. Any suggestions? Thank you

UNI KEY Staff - April 17, 2020

Hi Sandra, CLA and GLA are good omega 6’s. When taken in the amounts recommended in the Fat Flush Plan you do not need to worry about balancing with the omega 3’s.

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