Lazy people all over the world have long awaited the invention of a pill that allows them to enjoy the benefits of diet and exercise without actually having to do any dieting or exercising.
Sure. Give them a pill like that, perfect the whole virtual sex thing, and they'll never have to leave the house except for when the bug man comes to tent the place.
Well, we're not there yet – on either of those scientific milestones – but there is a substance that comes closer to that no-diet/no exercise goal than practically anything else in the supplement world and it's derived from the herb, coleus forskohlii.
The active ingredient is called forskolin and it can do a variety of things for the body that you normally can't get without dieting and exercising. It does this primarily by stimulating production of an enzyme named adenylate cyclase, which in turn increases levels of a cellular messenger called cyclic AMP, or cAMP for short.
In turn, elevated levels of cAMP can have the following physiological effects:
- Increased thyroid secretion of T4 (increased fat burning).
- Increased testosterone levels (increased muscle, sex drive, fat burning).
- Increased production of protein kinase (which leads to increased levels of hormone-sensitive lipases (HSL), which helps break down triglycerides).
- Increased protein synthesis in skeletal muscles.
- Increased activation of brown adipose tissue (more fat burning, although through a different mechanism).
- Lowered blood pressure (healthier cardiovascular system).
- Inhibited platelet aggregation (less clotting).
- Increased vasodilation (more blood flow).
- Increased bronchodilation (more air flow through the lungs).
Now if you were to take one of those lazy people I mentioned, put him or her on forskolin for a few weeks, and then give them a physical, he or she might well show improvement on a number of medical parameters, just by taking a couple of capsules a day.
But imagine what could happen if somebody combined exercise with forskolin. You might really have something then.
The effects I listed above aren't just hearsay or conjecture. Much of it's been tested and validated through various studies, the highlights of which follow:
- 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 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 the placebo group) and a decrease in mean body fat from 35.8 to 34.0 percent (while the placebo group showed an increase in body fat from 38.8 to 39.0 percent).
That's an excellent question, Leroy. Even though forskolin's been around for a few years, it's never really caught on, either in the bodybuilding world or the health/life extension world. I'm pretty sure that it's because most companies that decided to produce it didn't bother to isolate and purify the main ingredient – forskolin.
They just collected up the dried leaves of the coleus forskohlii plant, ground them up, and put them in capsules, with or without Italian salad dressing. As lame as that approach is, it mighta/coulda worked in some situations, like maybe they lucked out and found a crop that was particularly rich in forskolin, the same way that one harvest of oranges might be richer in vitamin C than another.
Otherwise, they'd be left with a completely ineffective product, thus tainting and damaging the reputation of the product with a whole generation of users.
The only way to manufacture a potent forskolin product is by isolating the active ingredient (forskolin). Better yet, you could purify it and esterify it (bind it with a carbonate ester). The end product, forskolin 1,9 carbonate, would then be much more bioavailable and its efficacy in the body would extend from about 4 hours to about 12.
That's exactly what Biotest did in producing Carbolin 19®.
Many supplements and drugs initiate a biochemical reaction by binding to receptors – chemical groups of molecules that receive signals from other chemicals or other stimuli to initiate a chemical reaction.
The trouble is, these receptors eventually get desensitized to the original signal. After a while, you need a stronger and stronger dose to initiate the same response, until, ultimately, no dose is large enough to get the chemical ball rolling.
This is what docs and scientists mean when they say someone is "insulin resistant." However, at least as far as fat burning goes, forskolin is what's known as a "post-receptor" agent – it bypasses the beta-receptor and directly stimulates the aforementioned adenylate cyclase.
That means that the fat-burning effects of Carbolin 19® (purified and esterified forskolin), along with some of its other beneficial effects, should continue unabated. All you need to do is to take two capsules, twice per day.
Women, unfettered by testicles, obviously won't benefit from the testosterone-enhancing capabilities of forskolin or Carbolin 19®, but they'll still enjoy all the other benefits it conveys, like improved thyroid function, increased release of free fatty acids, and increased activation of BAT (brown adipose tissue).
- Godard, MP et al. Body composition and hormonal adaptations associated with forskolin consumption in overweight and obese males. Obesity Research. 2005 Aug;13(8):1335-43.
- Kamath. Efficacy and Safety of Forslean in Increasing Lean Body Mass. Department of Ayurvedic Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, India, 2005.
- Majeed M 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.
- Scarpace PJ et al. Thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue with age: post-receptor activation by forskolin. Pflugers Arch. 1996 Jan;431(3):388-94.
- Tsuguyoshi, Clinical report on root extract of Perilla Plant (coleus forskholii) in reducing body fat. Asanto Institute, Tokyo, Japan, 2001.