Forskolin is a chemical compound that is derived from the plant Coleus forskohlii. For centuries, it has been used for medicinal purposes as a natural medicine, particularly in Asia, India, central Africa and Brazil. More specifically, forskolin has been used as part of Ayurvedic medicine, an age-old type of healing practice that focuses on the whole body to achieve optimal health.
While the plant has been used in traditional medicine to treat several different health conditions, modern science has linked the use of forskolin to weight loss. As such, forskolin is commonly used as a weight loss supplement.
Other Names For Forskolin:
Forskolin is also known as:
- Indian Coleus
- Coleus Barbatus
How Does Forskolin Work?:
Forskolin activates an enzyme known as adenylate cyclase class III (AC-III), which plays a role in regulating all cells of the body. The main function of AC-III is to foster chemical messaging from outside to inside the body's cells, which is what helps forskolin promote its various benefits to the human body.
Benefits Of Forskolin:
There are several proposed benefits of forskolin supplementation, including the following.
Forskolin Could Help With Weight Loss
One of the more prominent uses of forskolin is for its effect on weight loss. Some research suggests that supplementing with forskolin may help users lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, though the studies are somewhat limited.
One small study assessed a group of overweight and obese men and found that the group who took 250mg of forskolin extract twice daily for 12 weeks lost more body fat compared to the group who took a placebo. Free testosterone levels were also shown to significantly increase in the forskolin supplemented group compared to placebo.
Forskolin May Help to Treat Asthma
Forskolin has long been taken as a remedy for asthma, with some evidence supporting this position. Forskolin seems to work similarly to how certain traditional asthma medications work by increasing levels of cyclic AMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate), a compound that helps to relax the muscles surrounding the bronchial tubes and makes it easier to breathe.
One study found that asthmatic children and adults who took forskolin supplements experienced a more significant reduction in the incidence of asthma attacks compared to when taking sodium cromoglycate, a common asthma drug.
Forskolin May Protect Against Glaucoma
Some research suggests that forskolin applied to the eyes through drops or injections may help to protect against the onset of glaucoma, a condition that damages the eye's optic nerve and progressively worsens over time. Glaucoma is the leading cause of vision loss in adults.
One study found that supplementing with forskolin may help to reduce pressure of the inner eye by as much as 10 percent in patients with glaucoma after one month. More specifically, higher doses correlated with a greater reduction in eye pressure.
Another study found that forskolin eye drops may be able to decrease inner eye pressure in those with glaucoma after the same time period.
Forskolin May Be Helpful in Treating Alzheimer’s Disease
While there isn't much evidence to support the notion that forskolin may be able to help with Alzheimer’s treatment, a couple of studies are showing some promise.
One particular research paper discovered that rodents who took forskolin showed a reduction in several negative physical factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease, including reduced inflammatory activity and plaque in different parts of the brain.
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How To Use Forskolin
Forskolin can be consumed in different formats. For starters, there are forskolin powders that can be mixed in beverages, as well as capsules (they do not typically taste good). These tend to be the more common ways to use forskolin for purposes of losing weight.
Forskolin can also be prescribed as an inhaler by a physician if being used to treat asthma, or injected or dropped into the eye to treat glaucoma.
It’s important to only access forskolin supplements from trusted manufacturers before using. In terms of appropriate dosing, it's recommended to follow the manufacturer's recommendations. Both the quality of the product and the dosing recommendations rely on the level of professionalism and reliability of the supplement manufacturer.
Generally speaking, the average dosage of forskolin is between 100mg to 250mg (10 percent forskolin) twice a day. If you're currently taking any medications, be sure to seek the advice of your physician before taking forskolin supplements.
Inhaled or intravenous forskolin can only be prescribed by a doctor. As such, the doses will be determined by your physician before being administered.
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Supplementing With Forskolin:
Forskolin is generally considered safe to use, though there could be certain side effects that may be possible from its consumption, including:
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Lower blood pressure
- Possible interaction with medications
- Throat irritation
- Stinging of the eye (from injections)
- Potential increase of cyst size in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
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Forskolin is a somewhat popular natural weight loss supplement, but its benefits in this area might not be as strong as they are touted to be. The supplement may also help with other things aside from helping to achieve optimal weight, such as helping to promote higher testosterone levels, helping with asthma, and more.