At first glance, you may be a bit confused by its name. More commonly referred to as forskolin, it’s been used for centuries in Indian medicine to treat many disorders.
More recently, however, it’s been making its way into fat burners and other workout supplements because of its chemical richness in alkaloids, compounds which are highly influential to the biological system.
Because of this, it may play a supportive role in managing body weight and promote lean body mass.
If you’re still unsure of why you should consider using forskolin, look no further. We’re about to let you in on a secret of the fat burner world.
What is Coleus Forskohlii?
Coleus forskohlii is a native plant to India that’s been used for ages to treat several types of cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and CNS disorders.
Forskolin, the component used in workout supplements, has been isolated from the root of the Coleus forskohlii plant, which, interestingly enough, is actually part of the mint family.
Since the 1980s, it’s been used as an agent to help cardiovascular disease conditions due to its vasodilatory effect; vasodilation is achieved by increasing adenylate cyclase activity within the body 1, which helps to improve blood flow and decrease blood pressure.
What Does It Do?
Technically speaking, forskolin is a diterpene that acts directly on adenylate cyclase, an enzyme that activates cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), and cAMP is responsible for promoting the breakdown of stored fat in fat cells 2.
Cyclic AMP is a vital molecule to know if you’re looking for fat loss. It’s responsible for 2:
- Regulating the body’s thermogenic response to food
- Increasing basal metabolic rate
- Increasing utilization of body fat
- Releasing fatty acids from adipose tissue
What forskolin does is increase the accumulation of cAMP, which ultimately stimulates lipolysis.
As levels of cAMP start to increase, the rate of lipolysis does as well. This increase in fat breakdown enables usage of fat for fuel, but also promotes more significant fat and weight loss without compromising muscle mass.
It’s a win-win for everyone. You drop levels of body fat without losing all the time and hard work you’ve put in at the gym to gain size.
The Benefits Of Coleus Forskohlii
May Promote Fat And Weight Loss
As a potent cAMP stimulator, forskolin stimulates the production of the active form of hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL), which is directly involved in the mobilization of triglyceride (TG) stores.
Multiple studies have shown the efficacy of forskolin in boosting fat loss because of its lipolytic effect. One study, specifically, looked at the effects of forskolin supplementation on body fat levels over 12 weeks and results were shown to be significant compared to the placebo group 1.
The mechanism behind forskolin’s effect on lipolysis is the ability of forskolin to increase levels of cAMP within adipose tissue drastically.
As cAMP accumulates within tissues, it activates protein kinase A, which in turn activates HSL. As we mentioned before, HSL breaks down stored triglycerides for energy and increases free fatty acid release.
Thus, the change in fat mass in individuals taking forskolin may be attributed to direct free fatty acid release within adipose tissue through cAMP accumulation, which directly induces a reduction in body fat 1.
Keep in mind that results of studies are somewhat inconsistent, but lean towards forskolin eliciting a positive effect on reducing body fat.
May Boost Testosterone Levels In Men
As a male, if you’re looking to boost lean body mass, having a sufficient supply of endogenous testosterone is needed because it is a significant contributor to increases in muscle mass and reduction in fat mass.
But if you’re not taking shots of T (not recommended), testosterone production is reliant on a complex hormonal cascade in the body:
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GRH) is secreted by the hypothalamus, which controls the secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) by the anterior pituitary gland.
LH functions to regulate the production and secretion of testosterone by the Leydig cells of the testes, while FSH stimulates spermatogenesis. So, any deficiency in any of these hormones is going to alter levels of endogenous testosterone.
Where forskolin comes into play is because it may have a beneficial effect on enhancing serum testosterone through its influence on cAMP.
Because LH elicits its effects on Leydig cells through cAMP, it’s hypothesized that there is potential to increase production and release of testosterone too.
One specific study looked at the effect of forskolin supplementation on men’s lean body mass and testosterone levels.
Results showed a significant difference in free testosterone levels across the 12-week trial period among the group taking forskolin versus the group taking a placebo.
This may support the idea that increases in testosterone while taking forskolin contribute to reductions in body fat percentage and fat mass 1.
BONUS: It May Reduce Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
Aside from being beneficial for weight and fat loss, muscle preservation, and muscle gain, forskolin may also help with stress resistance.
It elicits antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties through inhibition of macrophage activation, causing a subsequent reduction in thromboxane B2 and superoxide levels; thromboxanes are potent vasoconstrictors that contribute to a hypotensive state, while superoxide is a reactive oxygen species (i.e. free radical) 3.
Studies show that the antioxidant effect of forskolin may be comparable to that of vitamin E.
And because of its impact on cAMP levels, forskolin may attenuate cytotoxicity and cell apoptosis (death), as well as protect against the intracellular effects of hydrogen peroxide, a free radical, and increase levels of glutathione, one of the body’s major antioxidants.
Most studies looking at forskolin and oxidative stress are conducted on rodents. Still, it is thought that the administration of forskolin may have effects in humans similar to those observed in rat models.
Should You Take Forskolin For Fat Loss?
Based on the available research, forskolin appears to elicit a favorable effect on body fat reductions by increasing cAMP levels, which in turn liberates stored fat from fat cells to be burned as fuel.
However, the effects of forskolin for fat loss may be more potent when combined with other fat-burning ingredients.
Burn Lab Pro combines five powerful ingredients—including forskolin—that work together to ignite, burn, boost, and build.
Burn Lab Pro uses ForsLean, the only Coleus forskohlii shown in human research to help shed fat and build muscle.
Used in conjunction with diet and exercise, ForsLean bioactivities unleash maximum fat loss and muscle gains.
It’s specifically designed to mobilize fat, stimulate lipolysis, increase metabolic rate, prevent fat storage, and maximize your muscle strength, growth, and performance, all the while preserving muscle and supporting proper recovery.
- MP Godard, BA Johnson, SR Richmond. Body composition and hormonal adaptations associated with forskolin consumption in overweight and obese men. Obes Res. 2005 Aug; 13(8): 1335-43.
- S Henderson, B Magu, C Rasmussen, et al. Effects of coleus forskohlii supplementation on body composition and hematological profiles in mildly overweight women. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2005; 2(2): 54-62.
- M Ríos-Silva, X Trujillo, B Trujillo-Hernández, et al. Effect of chronic administration of forskolin on glycemia and oxidative stress in rats with and without experimental diabetes. Int J Med Sci. 2014; 11(5): 448-452.