Forskolin – The Ancient Indian Fat Burner

November 19, 2013

Coleus Forskohlii is an ancient Indian (think the country India) herb that is commonly used as a fat burning compound through its main component ‘Forskolin’. In research Forskolin is often used to activate an enzyme that increases a molecule called cyclic AMP (cAMP) in cells. When cAMP increases, a wide range of signalling occurs within the body’s cells. Forskolin’s ability to increase cAMP in vitro is potent and reliable.

The main supplementation use of Forskolin is to increase cAMP in fat cells, which increases the rate of fat loss and can make other fat burners better at fat burning.

cAMP can induce a wide variety of effects when increased in the human body. It has been shown to increase Testosterone levels in men, have some anti-cancer effects and some anti-inflammatory effects.

In regards to human studies, Forskolin’s potential is promising. One study in overweight women noted that two doses of 250mg 10% extract (25mg of Forskolin) reduced weight gain. There was not significant weight loss in the experimental group, but there was a significant difference between the experimental (slight loss) and control (weight gain). In overweight men, the same dose appeared to cause favorable changes in body composition over a period of 12 weeks. Testosterone and bone mass were also increased in the Coleus Forskohlii group. One study that did not investigate weight changes primarily noted that over a period of 2 months with 500-700mg Coleus Forskohlii there was a 2.38-2.6% reduction in BMI.

Other research observed:

Male subjects in a 12-week trial experienced a 16.77 +/-33.77% increase in total Testosterone compared with a 1.08 +/- 18.35% decrease in the placebo group. Female subjects in an 8-week study lost a mean of 9.17 pounds weight, while experiencing gains in lean body mass (without weight training). The total average body weight of a mixed group of men and women in a 12-week study decreased from 74.7 kilograms to 73.5 kilograms while experiencing increases in lean body mass (without weight training). The Forskolin users in a mixed-sex group of 50 test subjects experienced a 1.78 percent increase in lean body mass (compared with a 0.20 decrease in placebo group) and a decrease in mean body fat from 35.8 to 34.0 percent ( placebo group showed an increase from 38.8 to 39.0 percent.

Although some of the studies did not have a large number of participants, the observations reported are promising. As far as the legally available supplements on the market that purport to aid in weight loss, those with Forskolin as an ingredient have the added benefit of not only helping to decrease fat mass, but to also increase lean body mass and positively effect testosterone levels.

This is not a magic pill, but it can greatly enhance your efforts in your fat loss endeavors. There is no substitute for a good diet, exercise and active lifestyle, but this can certainly help you achieve your goals.

Here is some further things to read:

Henderson S, et al. Effects of coleus forskohlii supplementation on body composition and hematological profiles in mildly overweight women. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2005)

Godard MP, Johnson BA, Richmond SR. Body composition and hormonal adaptations associated with forskolin consumption in overweight and obese men. Obes Res. (2005)

Jagtap M, Chandola HM, Ravishankar B. Clinical efficacy of Coleus forskohlii (Willd.) Briq. (Makandi) in hypertension of geriatric population. Ayu. (2011)

Martin LF, et al. Alterations in adipocyte adenylate cyclase activity in morbidly obese and formerly morbidly obese humans. Surgery. (1990)

Majeed, et al., Diterpene forskolin: A possible new compound for reduction of body weight by increasing lean body mass,” Nutraceuticals, March/April 2002, pp. 6 – 7.

Tsuguyoshi, “Clinical report on root extract of Perilla Plant (coleus forskholii) in reducing body fat,” Asanto Institute, Tokyo, Japan, 2001.

Kamath, “Efficacy and Safety of Forslean in Increasing Lean Body Mass,” Department of Ayurvedic Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, India, 2005.


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