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CLA vs Fish Oil: Benefits, Differences & How to Choose

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We are warned about fats and fatty foods and snacks all our lives. 

But what if we told you that some fats were good for you? 

Yes, there are such things as healthy fats, and today we will look at them and which ones you need and, more importantly, do not need. 

We are going to compare CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and fish oil.

But before we get into which is right for you, let’s dissect what fatty acids actually are. 

Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids. 

They have a slew of important roles for the human body, including breaking down cholesterol, promoting healthy hair growth, aiding weight loss, aiding healthy cell membrane formations, and more.

If you want a healthier thyroid and adrenal gland, essential fatty acids have you covered. The same is true if you are looking to create many hormones. Yes, EFAs can do wonders for your body. 

While we are often warned about the bad fats that we should avoid in our diets, many people do not know how unhealthy it is to avoid good fats, such as essential fatty acids. Without them, you could start losing your vision, your hair and even have serious and damaging changes to your mental health. 

While the body does manage to create these fatty acids on its own, a supplement is never a bad idea and ensures that you will have enough essential fatty acids to keep yourself healthy and happy. 

Two of these supplements are CLA and fish oil, which we will be digging into today. 

Which should you choose if you are looking to add some healthy essential fatty acids to your life?

CLA: The Science and Claims

First up is CLA or, as stated earlier, conjugated linoleic acid. 

This is a supplement that is closely related to omega-6 fatty acids. 

So, what is omega-6?

Omega-6 is one of the two types of essential fatty acids that help the body in all the ways we spoke of. 

Generally, fatty acids are broken down into two categories: omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid) and omega-6 (linoleic acid). CLA is mostly associated with omega-6. 

CLA is a fatty acid that many people think of when they are talking about weight loss. Indeed, many believe that it reduces body fat, promotes endurance when you are working out, and improves muscle tone too. 

CLA is so coveted because multiple studies have shown it can help with:

  • Weight loss. One of the major reasons people invest in CLA is because it has been shown to assist with weight loss. That reason alone is why so many people sing the praises of CLA. 
  • Reducing cancer. Here is something that everyone can get behind. Using CLA has proven to have the added benefit of helping reduce the risk of cancer in many users. 
  • Lowering the risk of heart disease. Another awful disease that CLA helps fight off is heart disease. A few studies have found that the anti-inflammatory properties of CLA help stave off heart disease for many. 
  • Helping fight off Diabetes. It can also do wonders in the battle against type 2 diabetes. 
  • Keeping your muscles strong. This is a major one, especially for aging users. Using CLA often can keep your muscles stronger and leaner as the years go on. CLA is a major warrior against age-related muscle loss. 

The science shows that CLA is helpful and good for you. Its benefits are major and can help you live a much more healthy and happy life. 

But what about its major competitor, fish oil? 

Fish Oil: The Science and Claims

What are fish oil supplements? 

They are created by pressing the flesh of cold water or wild fish to extract the oil from inside them. You can find fish oil supplements in all sorts of cold-water fish such as anchovies, mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines, albacore tuna, and more. 

Fish oil supplements are associated with omega-3 fatty acids, the most prominent of which is arguably docosahexaenoic acid which is also known as DHA. 

When omega-3s are eaten, they are broken down into what is called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). 

When you have proper amounts of EPA and DHA in your system, your body can have many positive effects on such horrible conditions as cancer, depression, ADHD, and cardiovascular disease. 

There is a whole lot more than fish oil supplements can do for you too. Many studies have found that it can improve your health in so many other ways. 

Fish oil has been shown to:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that fish oil can really contribute to a more peaceful and calm day and can take away all the loud clutter that stacks up in your brain. In this day and age, that is a benefit that should be welcome by anyone. 
  • Help you lose weight. Like CLA, fish oil may help reduce your appetite and also speed up your metabolism. It is a great tool to add to your kit when you are looking to shed some pounds. 
  • Support your joints. The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3s have been shown to help people suffering from arthritis and can relieve pain in some major ways. It has also been shown to help with the pain of menstrual cramps too. 
  • Decrease inflammation. This is a big one. Many people suffer from some form of inflammation, from joint pain to chronic disease. Fish oil can help with that as well as reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. That is huge. 
  • Provide better brain health. Everyone wants a strong brain, right? Fish oil has been shown to not only reduce inflammation in the brain but also protect brain cells and enhance cognitive function too. 

There are so many benefits to using fish oil supplements. You can get a whole lot of good out of such a tiny fish and it is no wonder why so many people subscribe to the power of fish oil. 

However, we have shown that CLA can also be incredibly good for you too. 

So, which should you choose? 

When is CLA Right For You?

As we stated, there are many health benefits of using CLA. 

Most people get a lot of omega-6 in their diets already but if you are looking for that extra punch of it, CLA is a good idea. 

CLA pills are free from sugar, gluten, soy and dairy and have no preservatives. 

Are there any downsides to CLA? 

Some people have mentioned that they often feel drowsy after ingesting CLA so that is something to keep in mind. If that does affect you, perhaps you can take them before a period of the day when you do not need to feel super awake and active. 

However, a high dosage of CLA could potentially lead to fatty liver so make sure you take it in moderation.

When is fish oil right for you?

Fish oil supplements are a wonderful way to add multiple major benefits to your body and life. The added help they bring you is enormous and almost jaw-dropping. Who knew you could gain so much from just one pill?

If you are looking for an omega-3 boost, you need fish oil in your life. Sadly, most people do not get enough omega-3s in their diet so fish oil is more essential than people know. 

The pros to fish oil are huge, as we said. They are also usually quite well priced and suitable for kids and adults to take too, so you are never too young to use them. 

They only have a couple of cons, although one can be a deal-breaker for some people. For one, they often smell a bit fishy, which isn’t surprising considering how they are made. 

Secondly, fish oil usually comes in large capsules that can prove difficult to swallow. This is something to consider when adding fish oil supplements into your life. 

Frequently Asked Questions About CLA vs Fish Oil

How much is an average bottle of fish oil pills?

This depends on the brand, they can run anywhere from $10 to $30 or even more. But if you are looking for a reliable starting bottle to begin your fish oil regiment, you can typically find one for a bit more than $10. 

How much is an average bottle of CLA?

CLA pills seem to generally cost a bit more than fish oil. You can find pills for about as cheap as $10 but many cost closer to $20 and $30. It isn’t wild to see a CLA bottle coming in at $35 depending on the brand. 

Will they make me feel sick if I eat them on an empty stomach?

Yes, they can. It is best if you take both fish oil and CLA pills on a full stomach, preferably with a meal. Some people have also found that freezing the pills can do away with the possible side effects of nausea. 

Do I have to take them daily?

It is recommended that you take around 3 grams or less per day. You should not take more than 3 grams a day. So if the pills you buy are 3 grams or less, one a day should be just fine. Make sure you keep track of each pill’s measurements and size. 

A Final Word: Which is Right For You?

At the end of the day, both fish oil and CLA have many, many benefits that can work wonders on your body. They both bring a lot to the table. So which one is right for you?

This depends on what you are looking for. Since their benefits outweigh their shortcomings, it is hard to recommend just one. It comes down to this: are you looking at these supplements to lose weight or to improve your overall health in other ways?

If you are looking to simply lose weight, CLA is the way to go. Studies have shown that CLA may help to enhance weight loss in some major ways. You will still need to eat healthily and work out and look after yourself. But CLA can provide a major assist too. 

If you are looking for benefits more than just losing weight and want an overall healthier lifestyle then you should use fish oil supplements. They have a long list of added benefits from keeping your brain working strong to boosting your immune system. Will fish oil help you lose weight? Not as much as CLA might but it will do so much more. 

Both options are beneficial in their ways so it all comes down to you: what exactly are you looking for?

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.
Article by:

Wellness Nova Team

Our detailed review has been contributed to by multiple members of the Wellness Nova Review Team to ensure the best research and highest standard of quality. Have a good or a bad experience with one of the products? Please let us know, we love the feedback!

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