Coleus is a perennial plant in the mint family. Forskolin, a chemical found in coleus, activates an enzyme (adenylate cyclase) that affects every cell in the body and significantly influences metabolic processes. Forskolin can improve calcium concentration in cells, increase thermogenesis and lean body mass, and promote weight loss. The calcium concentration in cells is important for muscle contraction, secretory processes, hormone function, and to promote the health of vital body organs. Coleus aids in weight loss and maintenance of lean body mass due to its ability to break down stored body fat, as well as inhibit the synthesis of adipose tissue. It increases thyroid hormone production and the release of fatty acids, thereby increasing metabolism. Coleus may also reduce inflammation and improve blood pressure and cardiac function.
Two recent studied suggest that coleus forskohlii has significant metabolic qualities. In one study conducted in 1999, six overweight women were given 250 mg. of coleus forskolin extract two times daily for eight weeks. During the study, body weight and fat content decreased significantly, while lean body mass increased significantly. The average weight loss was about 9 pounds.
Dr. Richard Kreider, a respected sports nutrition professional, recently studied 23 overweight females who received 25 mg of forskolin two times a day for twelve weeks, while others received placebo. The
forskolin group had a decrease in bodyweight while the placebo group experienced weight gain. Those in the forskolin group also reported more energy and decreased appetite. Dr. Kreider concluded that coleus may promote weight and fat loss and diminish weight gain in overweight subjects.
Although there has not been a great deal of clinical research regarding the effects of coleus on weight loss, the existing information is very promising.