Also known as: Forskolin, Indian Coleus
Effective non-stimulant fat burner that increases intracellular cAMP levels, preserves lean body mass, and may boost testosterone levels.
Often times, it can be quite a headache trying to sort the truly effective ingredients from all the wannabe imitators. Given the wide range of herbal supplements on the market, it's easy to fall prey to the hype created by the media and supplement companies as to what is truly effective.
Fortunately, there are a few diamonds in the rough that truly do deliver real, measurable results that you can see in the mirror and on the scale. One of these all-natural, and effective, herbal supplements is Forskolin, a.k.a. Coleus Forskohlii.
What Is It?
Coleus forskohlii, also known as Indian coleus, is an herbal plant with a long and storied history of use in Ayurvedic medicine. Traditionally, Forskolin has been used predominantly to treat a wide array of health complications including heart disease, convulsions, asthma, and general aches and pains.
Often times you'll see either Coleus forskohlii or Forskolin on an ingredient panel. This can seem confusing, but in all actuality, it's rather simple. Coleus forskohlii is the herb, and Forskolin is the bioactive compound responsible for all of Coleus' benefits.
What Does It Do?
Forskolin is classified as a labdane diterpene. This is a group of naturally occurring compounds widely known to exert anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal effects in the body.
Although the exact mechanism of action is still unknown, it has been proven that forskolin is a potent activator of cellular adenylate cyclase (AC). Once this enzyme (adenylate cyclase) is triggered, it activates a secondary intracellular messenger in hormonal signaling, cyclic AMP (3,5 cyclic adenosine monophosphate or cAMP).
This is where forskolin really starts to shine as increased levels of cAMP have a proven number of benefits including: increasing the body's BMR, boosting levels of testosterone, improving lean body mass, and promote the oxidation of fatty acids.
Yes, you can increase cAMP through exercise or with the use of hormones, but this comes at the risk of creating a "negative feedback" loop, meaning after prolonged expression of these hormones (or stimulation of these agonists), your body eventually down-regulates the receptor or hormonal agents, and becomes less responsive.
Forskolin, however, is not hormone or receptor-dependent, and possesses the unique ability to stimulate cAMP independently!
Basically, Forskolin is an extremely effective, and safe, way to increase cAMP without the possibility of negative long term "down"-regulation or the use of hormones!
Benefits of Forskolin
Maybe you don't care to know the ins and outs of Forskolin, and you just want to know what the actual effects are, well, here you go:
Greater weight loss
Supports strength and mass gains
Liberates stored fat via lipolysis
May stimulate the conversion of T4 into T3 (optimizing thyroid function)
Increase basal metabolic rate
Lowers blood pressure
Any Side Effects?!
The only major side effect from consuming forskolin is GI distress, usually in the form of diarrhea or loose stools. This is caused by increased cAMP of the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, causing greater contractions and motility.
One way to limit the amount of GI distress is to use products that are 95% pure Forskolin, the highest quality extract produced. Lesser quality extracts will lend themselves to endless stomach aches and trips to the bathroom...something you'd rather not waste your time with.
Research has yet to determine an "optimal" dose, but the generally supported "best" dosing protocol is 25mg of forskolin 30-60 minutes prior to a meal, twice every day.
Remember, this is the amount of the actual active forskolin, not the total coleus forskohlii amount.
It's not very often that you can come across a natural ingredient that supports weight loss, muscle building, and overall health all in one. Those ingredients are few and far between. However, just because they are rare, doesn't mean they don't exist entirely.
When you've reached a stalling point in your training or dieting and need something to really catapult you to new heights, look into Forskolin as a perfect non-stimulant remedy to jump start the gains train all over again.