When browsing the labels of the supplements collectively called fat burners, we may repeatedly encounter one ingredient, the extract from Coleus forskohlii, Indian nettle or just forskolin. What are its properties?
From Chinese medicine to the market of supplements
Therapeutic properties of Coleus froskohlii have been known to Asian people for 3 thousand years. Indian nettle extract has been used in Hindu medicine to counteract the problems with circulation, digestion, skin, nerves and also as a substance supporting vitality and helping in the fight with obesity and excess weight.
Scientific studies on the properties of Plectranthus barbatus, as this is the proper name of this plant, began in the 70s of the XX century, when the main active ingredient of this plant – forskolin, was isolated. The mechanism of its activity consists in increasing the production of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), which is an intracellular signal transmitter, controlling the intensity of life functions in all the tissues of the organism and also protein kinase PKA, the pathways of which are used by many hormones.
Thanks to forskolin, it is possible to intensify such reactions, as fat breakdown, burning fatty acids developed in such a way in muscles and brown adipose tissue and also activate the process of protein synthesis, which enables not only muscle tissue growth, but also accelerates regeneration and adaptation of training strain. This effect was confirmed by many studies carried out at the beginning of the XXI century, in which people of different sex, age and physical activity took part (also obese people). All the studies, which consisted in the application of 25-50 mg of forskolin to the control group during the day made the subjects decrease general body mass and the amount of adipose tissue. They also noted significant gain of dry muscle mass, but these gains were the highest in physically active men. In certain cases, they managed to lose 10% of body weight and total fat in only 2 months!
How does forskolin work?
Forskolin activates certain enzymes and intensifies the reactions caused by them. Importantly, this substance – depending on the tissue it affects – causes a distinct reaction of the organism. In adipose tissue, forskolin activates lipase, which accelerates the process of lipolysis – the processes of destroying fatty tissue. What is important, Coleus forskohlii extract allows to intensify these reaction in two ways – by increasing the amount of the enzyme and by intensifying its activity.
Forskolin also affects gland tissue of testicles, intensifying particular stages related to testosterone secretion. It happens thanks to the increase of the production and intensification of the action of the luteinizing hormone (LH), the amount and activity of which conditions the process of secretion of the strongest anabolic hormone in the organism.
More testosterone means more intensive muscle mass growth. Forskolin increases the synthesis of new muscle fibers, not only indirectly, but also directly influencing the increase of the level of anticatabolic proteins and beta-catenin, which is largely responsible for the growth response of muscle fibers to training strain.
Supplementation with forskolin
Supplementation with the preparations containing forskolin is recommended primarily to people, whose aim is fast reduction of adipose tissue and the increase of lean muscle mass, i.e. the improvement of body proportions and the appearance of the silhouette. It may be effectively used by people who are on a reducing diet and during shaping the body.
Forskolin effect may be intensified by combining it in one preparation with such ingredients as extracts from citrus fruit (especially bitter orange extract rich in synephrine), caffeine, guarana, tea, cocoa (theobromine), flavonoids. These substances work synergistically with forskolin, intensifying the activation of signal pathways of cAMP/PKA, causing even stronger fat burning and intensification of muscle mass growth.
The majority of the above mentioned active ingredients with forskolin on top makes up the thermogenic formula of Formotiva Lipo Killer Capsules. The composition of the supplement Thermo Speed Hardcore by the company Olimp also looks impressive, where each capsule contains as much as 35 mg of Indian nettle extract. Forskolin is also a component of such fat burners as Thermo Elite, Thermo Drine Pro and Lean Boss Scitec Nutrition.