Forskolin has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and has entered Western medicine only recently (1). This supplement is an extract from the roots of a perennial plant grown in India called the Indian Coleus. It is related to the mint family, but only the roots have been used for medicinal purpose, despite the fragrant leaves. Keep reading to see how forskolin treats many diseases and can even be used as diet pill.
Forskolin and Weight Loss
Forskolin has had mixed results when being tested for weight loss. The bulk of this article will explore how athletes use forskolin to burn fat and build muscle. There were only a few studies that proved how forskolin elevated testosterone levels and helped participants lose weight after taking 250 mg of this supplement for a few months. One study even proved how it reduced weight gain and hunger pangs in women, but their body fat levels remained the same (2, 3).
How does this work? Forskolin has been proven to raise the levels of cyclic AMP (cAMP) in your brain (1). In turn, hormones like adrenaline and glucagon are triggered. Your heart will pump faster and the glucose levels in your blood are raised. Forskolin then helps your body absorb the glucose in your system as it releases insulin. In men, this whole process has shown to burn extra fat stores, and in women, there was no weight gain.
Forskolin may suppress your appetite, so taking it before the meal will make you feel more full and eat less. Eating less leads to weight loss, even more so than exercising (4). Weight gain occurs when you consume more calories than you burn. Even if you love to work out, unless you have daily strenuous 30-minute exercises or more, you are more likely to lose weight by eating less than exercising.
Take Home Note:
Research has shown that forskolin can help prevent weight gain and also suppress appetite by increasing the level of the hormone cAMP in the brain.
Which is the Best Supplement?
Finding a reliable supplement is difficult as there are so many brands available. Find a supplement that has at least 10% forskolin for best results (5). There are capsules that have 250 mg per serving or 500 mg per serving. Although there are no side effects or ability to overdose on this supplement, it is not advised to go over the advised dosage on the bottle. To take this supplement, make sure you take it half an hour or so before a meal with a full glass of water. Taking it before a meal will allow you to eat less, helping you with weight loss. Taking it with water is important so the supplement is fully absorbed into your system. You also may get symptoms like nausea if you take forskolin on an empty stomach.
Buying any supplement in general should come with a reasonable amount of research. There are many sites that have honest reviews of different supplement products, checking how effective the dosage is, which ingredients should be included in the supplement, and even if the capsule is vegetarian or not. Look for products that also include a guarantee, in case the supplement doesn’t work for you. Most of these reviews sites can also tell you if this product was produced in a FDA registered facility. Try to learn everything about your supplement so you won’t be putting any foreign chemicals in your body.
It is inadvisable to take this supplement if you are pregnant, nursing, have diabetes, or high blood pressure. You can talk to your doctor about taking forskolin to see if it will benefit your health.
Take Home Note:
When it comes to buying a forskolin supplement, doing your research is important. Look out for things such as potency, money-back guarantee and if the product was produced in an FDA-approved lab.
What Else Can Forskolin Treat?
Ayurvedic medicine has been using the coleus plant to treat a few conditions, including:
- Bladder infections
- Dry, itchy skin caused by psoriasis (6)
There has been some research to see if these conditions can be treated with forskolin. Surprisingly, this supplement has been proven to help mice with bladder infections as it flushes out the bacteria from the folds of the bladder, helping antibiotics to kill the bacteria in the urinary tract (7). There has been one study done that showed four patients had less symptoms of psoriasis, or red, itchy patches on the skin (8). However, due to the small amount of research, it is more reliable to take a different medication than to just rely on forskolin to treat either of the two diseases listed above.
Once forskolin entered Western medicine, more research has been done to see its effect on the following disorders or diseases:
High cAMP levels relaxes throat muscles, making it easier for someone to breathe if they are suffering from an asthma attack.
Forskolin has shown to relieve pressure on the eye.
Forskolin lowers your blood pressure, which reduces inflammation in your cells.
- heart disease
Low blood pressure reduces your risk of heart disease overall.
Take Home Note:
Forskolin has many other health benefits on top of its weight loss benefits it is so popular for.
Something that is not discussed among the amazing usage of forskolin is its severe side effects, such as:
- thinning of your blood, which can trigger hemophilia or other blood disorders
- low blood pressure, also known as hypotension. Low blood pressure can lead to dizziness, fainting, nausea, and blurry vision.
- interaction with NSAIDs and other medications
- enlarged blood vessels in the eye
- DNA damage that can eventually lead to cancer (11)
Another source stated that due to the little research done on forskolin, most of the side effects are highly suspect if they are directly related to forskolin.
Take Home Note:
As with any new product, it is important to discuss the potential risks with your doctor before you start using it, especially if you have any health conditions.
Is It Worth It? Think It Over
If the concept of forskolin is intriguing to you, remember to buy smart. Look at different reviews of supplement brands and see which supplement has at least 10% forskolin, 250 mg, and comes with a guarantee. Forskolin has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a few conditions, but recently, more research has come out that it can assist in weight loss, glaucoma, psoriasis, and other conditions. Explaining how it boosts your metabolism, allowing you to lose weight quickly. However, you need to be aware of the side effects that can be more unpleasant than the condition you are treating. The best piece of advice we could give you is to be in touch with your doctor to see if forskolin can help.