What is Forskolin Extract?
Forskolin Extract (7 beta-acetoxy-8, 13-epoxy-1 alpha,6 beta,9 alpha-trihydroxy-labd-14-ene-11-one) is the main active ingredient in the Ayurvedic herb Coleus forskohlii. Coleus is a member of the mint family and grows in subtropical areas in India, Burma, and Thialand. Forskolin has been extensively researched. It has also recently gained popularity as a fat loss agent. What application does forskolin have? Forskolin, along with a few select others, is the standard substance used in scientific studies when a lipolytic (fat burning) agent is needed. Unfortunately, not very many clinical studies have been done on the use of forskolin as a weight loss aid, however, one study on six individuals with 50 mg per day found significant fat loss, but these results are only suggestive at best, since this study was funded by a company that has a patented forskolin product. Another controlled study produced positive weight loss with similar results and that study did not have a alternative motive.
How does forskolin work? Forskolin works by activating the enzyme adenylate cyclase. Lipolytic hormones such as epinephrine (adrenalin) activate adenylate cyclase as well, but forskolin does not have the same CNS effects, so Forskolin works by essentially bypasses the step that is associated with the unwanted side effects (nervousness, restlessness) we find with other fat loss agents that function by increasing lipolytic hormone levels. When adenylate cyclase is activated it then converts to cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). This increase in cAMP levels has many effects on the body, but the one that is of most interest for fat loss is the activation of cAMP-dependent protein kinase, which in turn activates hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL), which ultimately breaks down fat and releases it as free fatty acids in the bloodstream. This process is commonly referred to as the “cAMP cascade” or “lipolytic cascade.” On top of all this, there is an added bonus – forskolin also acts as a thyroid stimulant, most likely through a cAMP-mediated process. What other benefits does forskolin have? Many studies have shown forskolin, as well as other actives in Coleus forskohlii, support cardiovascular health.