Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) alters body composition in animal models, but few studies have examined the effects of CLA supplementation on body composition and clinical safety measures in obese humans. In the present study, we performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to examine the changes in body composition and clinical laboratory values following CLA (50:50 ratio of cis-9, trans-11 and trans-10, cis-12 isomers) supplementation for 12 wk in otherwise healthy obese humans. Forty-eight participants (13 males and 35 females) were randomized to receive placebo (8 g safflower oil/d), 3.2 g/d CLA, or 6.4 g/d CLA for 12 wk. Changes in body fat mass and lean body mass were determined by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Resting energy expenditure was assessed by indirect calorimetry. Clinical laboratory values and adverse-event reporting were used to monitor safety. Lean body mass increased by 0.64 kg in the 6.4 g/d CLA group (P < 0.05) after 12 wk of intervention. Significant decreases in serum HDL-cholesterol and sodium, hemoglobin, and hematocrit, and significant increases in serum alkaline phosphatase, C-reactive protein, and IL-6, and white blood cells occurred in the 6.4 g/d CLA group, although all values remained within normal limits. The intervention was well tolerated and no severe adverse events were reported, although mild gastrointestinal adverse events were reported in all treatment groups. In conclusion, whereas CLA may increase lean body mass in obese humans, it may also increase markers of inflammation in the short term.