Losing weight and gaining muscle can be difficult especially for those who have a slow metabolism, testosterone and protein levels in their body. According to studies a mere 15% of people succeed in getting fit using traditional weight loss methods. Unfortunately those who fail tend to seek solutions that may be harmful in the long run. One of the supplements that has accumulated a lot of controversy in this regard is Forskolin.

What is Forskolin?

In order to understand this supplement, we need to delve into the science behind it [1]. Forskolin is actually an extract from the plant Coleus forskohlii plant which belongs to the mint family of plants. It is available in the wild in Burma, India and Thailand and it has been investigated thoroughly for its beneficial cardiac and weight loss properties.

Several studies have also been conducted which have linked this extract to muscle gain since it enhances weight loss without loss of lean muscle, a fact that is crucial for those who wish to get leaner. It was also discovered that as a cyclic adenosine monophosphate, forskolin also triggers the production of a lipase that causes the release of fat stores in the body which are then burnt away with the body’s natural metabolism. Since this process occurs without loss of lean muscle, individuals who wish to enhance their body mass also take these before a workout.

How it Aids Weight Loss

Forskolin or Coleus Forskohlii stimulates the production of the aforementioned cAMP or cyclic adenosine monophosphate, a molecule that helps our cells communicate with each other. However, when there is an increase or decrease in cAMP, it changes the way cells interact and perform specific functions. One of the things it does is trigger a hormone sensitive lipase which should encourage fat loss and it also releases a thyroid hormone which burns both fat and total calories. As a supplement it is also used by those suffering from blood pressure issues, digestion and managing testosterone levels such as body builders [2].

A study conducted in the University of Kansas proves that the extract is very efficient as a weight loss supplement. The study examined a group of overweight and obese men and discovered that the latter lost more weight compared to the former and even added more than 30% of muscle mass while taking the pill. The study also discovered that the formerly obese individuals experienced an increase in free testosterone levels by more than 30% when they were given 250mg of the supplement twice a day.

The reason why forskolin is so effective is because it has the ability to stimulate enzymes such as adenyl cyclase which in turn trigger cAMP. What is unique and fascinating about this fact is that the effect can be reversed without the interference of cellular receptors which are commonly triggered by other fat burners such as ephedrine. This is one of the reasons why forskolin is used so much in clinical trials that examine the role of cAMP in the body.

How Forskolin Improves Fitness Levels

The main draw for athletes and body builders when it comes to forskolin is more than its weight loss effects. As proven in the mentioned study, the extract boosts testosterone levels, which besides being a growth hormone is also responsible for increasing and defining musculature. When there is a high concentration of cAMP in the body, there is a natural boost in testosterone levels. This can even help your beard grow in thicker. cAMP actually works as a luteinizing hormone which is responsible for testosterone production in the body.

As most people are aware this hormone is one of the main fuels that promotes muscle growth in the body. Elevated levels of cAMP also increase protein synthesis in the body, a process that is key when it comes to muscle repair and muscle growth. When both of these effects work together there is a noticeable growth in lean muscle tissue.

It is also known to reduce weight and hunger pangs in women which encourages fat burn but only if those taking it have an active lifestyle. Some evidence also suggests that forskolin offers specific fat loss in certain areas in obese women but that fact is still under investigation.

Side effects

There are certain side effects of this supplement that can be problematic and reduce the effectiveness of a weight loss regime. One of them is diarrhea which is a common ailment if there are excess levels of cAMP in the gastrointestinal tract. This causes more contractions and motility which basically means that your food will move way too fast through your digestive tract.

The result would be waste that might not have been stripped of all its nutrients, nutrients which are necessary for muscle gain and fat loss. The supplement has been known to reduce blood pressure but that is not considered to be an adverse side effect as such. On the other hand, if you suffer from low blood pressure or hypotension then you should avoid ingesting it as that could lead to further complications that can get aggravated during strenuous activities such as a high intensity workout.

Bottom Line

The data on fat burning is still premature for this supplement but its effects on testosterone levels cannot be ignored. Even though the supplement has been touted as a weight loss pill it is mostly know for its ability to increase muscle mass and maintain musculature by aiding protein synthesis in the body. Side effects seem negligible but it would be wise to ask a physician if you should take it. An undiagnosed disease or condition can get aggravated otherwise which will not bode well for your fitness regime.