Forskolin is made from the root of a plant in the mint family. The plant grows in Nepal, India, and Thailand. It’s native to tropical regions around the world, and has been used in traditional folk medicine in those same regions for hundreds of years. Its scientific name, Coleus forskohlii, is where the supplement gets its commercial name.
Forskolin plant is also named after the desired compound in this herb that achieves the fat-burning effects. It is a labdane diterpene unique to Indian Coleus only. Labdane diterpenes are found in many other plants, but what make the ones from Indian Coleus so exciting are their unique, impressive effects: found in no other plant in the world.
Is it an effective fat burner?
So far, two small studies have investigated the effectiveness of the supplement plant as a fat burner in humans. Both of them were randomized controlled trials, the gold standard of scientific research in humans. The largest trial recruited 30 overweight and obese men, who were then randomly assigned to two groups:
- Forskolin Group: 15 men were supplemented with 250 mg of Coleus forskohlii extract (10% forskolin) twice a day for 12 weeks.
- Placebo group: 15 men took the same amount of dummy pills (placebo).
Compared to the placebo group, it was noticed that the supplement acted as a real fat burner in men who took the supplement although total body weight did not change. Additionally, there was a significant increase in free testosterone in the forskolin group. Testosterone can stimulate the release of fat from fat cells, which may partly explain the fat loss observed in the study. A rise in testosterone can also promote an increase in muscle mass.