If you’ve seen this ingredient on the label of your favorite fat-burner, or if you saw Matthew McConaughey outshine men half his age in the movie “Magic Mike” and asked “What’s he taking?” then read on to learn about this promising supplement.
Sometimes, a great supplement earns its fame in the gym, and researchers need years to catch up on how and why it’s special. In other cases, though, an ingredient has a clear-cut lab use long before it becomes a popular performance supplement, and then one day, trainers’ and nutritionists’ light bulbs start going off. This is the case with coleus forskohlii, more commonly known under the name of its primary active compound, forskolin.
Forskolin reliably serves a singular function in lab research. In the wake of some eye-popping studies, however, it has begun to earn acclaim as a testosterone booster and fat-burner. It’s effective enough in both of those roles that I’ve recommended it to celebrity clients who are preparing for roles that demand their physique to be totally on-point.
Coleus is a member of the mint family native to subtropical regions of Africa and Asia, such as India, Thailand, and Uganda. It has a long history of use in traditional medicine, including Ayurveda, where it has been used to support lung, heart, and urinary health, among numerous other uses.1 Its tuberous roots are also commonly made into slightly sour pickles which are served in various relishes in Indian and other continental Asian cuisines.
Like all herbs, coleus contains a multitude of active compounds. However, the tuberous roots of the plant contain its most potent active ingredient, forskolin, which is largely believed to be the most beneficial substance derived from the plant. It has been used extensively in experimental clinical research as a positive control to effectively increase the levels of the important cellular messenger compound cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate).2Healthcare providers also sometimes give patients forskolin in IV, eye drop, or powder form to treat a range of conditions.
n the supplement realm, forskolin is predominantly used within formulations to support fat burning and energy levels, but is also applicable for use in products targeting blood pressure, digestion, and testosterone levels.
One of the most rigorous and promising studies concerning supplemental forskolin was conducted by researchers at the University of Kansas a few years ago. They found that overweight and obese men lost more than 7.8 times more body fat, added 35 percent more bone mass, and increased their bioavailable free testosterone by almost 34 percent more when they added 250 mg of a 10 percent forskolin-containing coleus to their otherwise unchanged daily lives, twice per day. In other words, 50 mg of total forskolin per day—as compared to subjects who consumed a placebo—realized a significant improvement in both body composition and testosterone levels.
What makes forskolin so effective is its ability to directly and rapidly stimulate almost all known forms of the enzyme adenylyl cyclase, and therefore significantly affect the concentration of the messenger molecule cAMP. This powerful compound activates numerous other enzymes within a range of cells and tissues, and is indirectly involved in far too many cellular functions to list here.
What makes forskolin so unique, though, is that its actions on cAMP levels are reversible, and it accomplishes this action without the use of other cellular receptors such as beta adrenoreceptors, contrary to other well-known fat burners such as ephedrine. Its relative simplicity and dependability are why forskolin is such a commonly used control arm in clinical trials which are looking to assess the role of cAMP for any reason.
To reduce body fat and improve free testosterone in men, it appears that 250 mg, twice per day of a 10 percent forskolin supplement is the optimal dose. That’s the dose from the Kansas study, and it’s reflective of most forskolin supplements on the market. However, be aware that the percentage of forskolin in supplements can be anywhere between 10 and 20 percent, and dose accordingly.
As with most active ingredients, I would advise consuming forskolin approximately 15-20 minutes prior to meals. This is also a good time to consume it, since it has been indicated in some studies to help curb appetite. Since forskolin is so effective at increasing cAMP, consuming it prior to workouts could help support increased muscle contractions and improved exercise performance. Order yours here.
**These statements have not been approved or supported by the Food and Drug Administration
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