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Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate (cAMP) is an important biochemical molecule involved in many metabolic processes including enhanced thermogenesis (calorie burning), insulin secretion, thyroid hormone function (increases metabolic rate), and lipolysis (the breakdown of fat for fuel). These events help the body maintain lean body mass levels and promote weight loss. cAMP is derived from the high energy molecule ATP (Adenosine triphosophate) by the enzyme, adenylate cyclase. Also called a second messenger, cAMP facilitates the body's primary messengers, or hormonal and other bioactive actions in the body.

The traditional ayurvedic herb, Coleus forskohlii, has been used for centuries to treat obesity, hypothyroidism, asthma, and high blood pressure. Forskolin, an extract of Coleus forskohlii, activates the cAMP enzyme, adenylate cyclase, which increases the formation of cAMP. Research has shown that forskolin supplementation reduces body fat while enhancing lean body mass. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that forskolin supplementation significantly decreased body fat and  increased lean body mass and testosterone levels in overweight and obese men. "Oral ingestion of forskolin (250 mg of 10% forskolin extract twice a day) for a 12-week period was shown to favorably alter body composition while concurrently increasing bone mass and serum free testosterone levels in overweight and obese men," the study authors conclude. "The results indicate that forskolin is a possible therapeutic agent for the management and treatment of obesity."

Supplementation with the common herb, clary sage (Salvia sclarea), has also been shown to increase cAMP levels and promote lipolysis and weight loss. Like forskolin, salvia extract, a fermented clary sage compound, activates the cAMP enzyme, adenylate cyclase. This action subsequently increases the formation of cAMP. 

Although more research is needed, supplementation with forskolin or salvia has shown promise in increasing cAMP levels and enhancing lean body mass, lipolysis and weight loss. Since low calorie diets often lead to the loss of lean body mass and a decrease in the metabolic rate and thyroid function, supplementation with forskolin or salvia can be especially useful. The combined effects of exercise and supplementation with forskolin or salvia can promote body composition management and healthy weight loss. Supplements such as Lipitrex contain Coleus forskohlii.

  1. Cyclic adenosine monophosophate, Wiklpedia.com:

  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclic_adenosine_monophosophate.

  3. Insel PA, Ostrom RS. Forskolin as a tool for examining adenylyl cyclase expression, regulation, and G protein signaling. Cell Molec Neurobiol 2003 Jun;23(3):305-14.

  4. Godard MP et al. Body composition and hormonal adaptations associated with forskolin consumption in overweight and obese men. Obes Res 2005 Aug;13(8):1335-43.

  5. Han LK et al. Effects of Coleus forskohlii on fat storage in ovariectomized rats. Yakugaku Zasshi 2005 May;125(5):449-53.

  6. Georgieva Zh and Uzunov P. [Study of the effect of sclareol glycol diterpene on the 3',5'-AMP level]. Eksp Med Morfol 1989;28(3):1-7.

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