Here’s a rapid-fire compendium of results from just a few studies on the fat burning, muscle building, testosterone-raising herbal derivative, forskolin. And they’re not rat studies, either. They were done on real-live humans:
- 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 from 38.8 to 39.0 percent).
And there are lots of other studies, too, all pretty impressive.
Increased Testosterone and Thyroid Hormone Production
Forskolin is a compound derived from the herb, Coleus forskohlii, and it stimulates an enzyme called adenylate cyclase, which increases cellular concentrations of a cellular messenger called cyclic AMP, or cAMP.
Now cAMP is one versatile little bugger in that it interacts with a host of different types of cells. When you raise levels of cAMP, you lower blood pressure, reduce intraocular (eye) pressure, inhibit platelet aggregations (clotting), promote vasodilation (opening up of blood vessels), increase bronchodilation (improved breathing), and, most importantly to us, increase thyroid hormone secretion and speed up lipolysis (fat burning).
Forskolin’s thyroid stimulating strength has even been compared to thyrotropin or TSH, which is pretty damn impressive. Not only does this increased thyroid hormone production increase fat loss, but increased levels of cAMP activate something called protein kinase that’s been shown to activate hormone-sensitive lipases, which are involved in the breakdown of the building blocks of fatty tissue known as triglycerides.
Basically, if you use forskolin to increase levels of cAMP, you end up mimicking the effects of mild calorie restriction and exercise, without actually reducing calories or even exercising, and it does this without making you all jumpy and sweaty-palmed like a lot of compounds that burn fat. Of course, if you add some actual exercise to the picture, you naturally get much more impressive results.
Oh Yeah, It Builds Muscle, Too
In addition to breaking down and burning fat, forskolin also increases lean body mass significantly. A higher level of intra-testicular cAMP mimics the action of luteinizing hormone and that translates into an increase in testosterone production, which is a pretty nice thing to have if you want more muscle.
This increase in testosterone levels contributes to additional lean body mass, but higher levels of cAMP in skeletal muscle also leads to an increase in protein synthesis (which is amplified by the complimentary increase in testosterone), so you get a nice two-pronged mode of action.
The Only Problem
Most conventional forskolin supplements, i.e., those made with ground up parts of the plant, suffer from the same triad of problems affecting most herbal supplements: standardization, potency, and absorption.
What you need to do to get an effective product is extract and purify the active ingredient, in this case, forskolin 1,9-carbonate (a “carbonate ester” of forskolin). Then you get a highly pure, single compound that gives powerful, consistent results. Furthermore, by extracting and purifying the active ingredients, you extend forskolin’s duration of action from 4 hours to 12 hours.
Lastly, you combine forskolin 1,9-carbonate with a self-microemulsifying nutrient delivery system, which improves the bioavailability considerably. (Carbolin-19 is a good choice.) That way, you make sure that you actually do get an increase in testosterone and thyroid hormone, along with the fat burning and muscle building effects you’re looking for.