With obesity rising at an alarming rate all over the world, popularity of weight loss supplements like Forskolin comes as no surprise. Forskolin is a weight loss supplement, which gained popularity in America after it was featured in Dr Oz show in January 2014. But can it really help in shedding weight? Let us read science and evidence backed Forskolin reviews and learn more if this supplement works or not.

What is Forskolin?

Forskolin extract supplement is made from the roots of the Indian Coleus (Coleus forskohlii). It is a medium-sized plant which is native to India, Nepal and Thailand and is a member of the mint family.

This purple-flowering botanical herb has been used as an ayurvedic medicine to treat ailments related to the heart, digestion and hypertension (1).

Modern scientific research has also been done to see if this herb has a positive effect on health.

Forskolin weight loss effects

Numerous test tube experiments and animal studies have been done to see the impact of Forskolin on fat metabolism. Numerous Forskolin reviews and studies suggest that Forskolin stimulates the release of stored fat from the fat cells. This is similar to what happens when our body needs body fat for energy.

But this is not enough for fat loss; the fat loss will only happen if the energy expenditure is more than the energy consumed.

For a fat loss supplement to be effective, it must either increase our metabolic rate or suppress appetite. Unfortunately, Forskolin does not do either.

Does it truly help in weight loss? Forskolin reviews & studies

There have been many studies on the weight loss effect of Forskolin. While some television doctors may have promoted this weight loss supplement by calling it ‘lightning in a bottle,’ the results of the scientific research have not been very positive.

There have been two studies on the effect of this weight loss supplement on humans (2,3).

The first study was done on a group of 30 overweight or obese men at the University of Kansas in 2005. The men were divided into two groups. The first group of 15 men took 250 mg of Coleus forskohlii extract (10 % Forskolin) twice a day for 12 weeks. The other group received the same amount of placebo for 12 weeks.

Compared to the placebo group the Forskolin group lost more fat, but the total weight did not change. The levels of free testosterone on the Forskolin group also showed a rise.

Since testosterone can release the fat from the fat cells, this could be the reason for the loss of fat in this group. Testosterone also helps in increasing the muscle mass, which explains the increase in muscle mass in the Forskolin group (4).

Another study was conducted at the Baylor University and published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. In this study, 23 overweight women took 500 mg of Coleus forskohlii for 12 weeks.

The results showed that coleus forskohlii does not promote weight loss but may prevent weight gain in overweight women with no significant side effects (5).

In a study done on rats in 2014, 50 female rats were administered Forskolin/rolipram for ten weeks (6). This study found that both Forskolin and rolipram stimulated lipolysis and inhibited body weight increase by increasing cAMP levels.

So the study found that the supplement did prevent weight gain even on a diet that caused weight gain in other groups of rats.

Other health benefits of Forskolin

Different Forskolin reviews and studies show that it may not be as useful for weight loss, but it does carry other health benefits. In fact, this herb had been used for centuries as ayurvedic medicine.

1. May help in preventing asthma attacks

Forskolin helps in widening the air passage and hence prevents asthma attacks. In a study done of 40 patients of asthma, it was found that the patients who took 10 mg of Forskolin three times a day had a significantly lower number of asthma attacks during the treatment period (7).

2. Lowers risk of osteoporosis

Forskolin can increase the density of bones, and this could reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The study that showed the weight loss results in men also showed an increase in the bone mass in men who took this supplement (8).

3. Helps treat cancer

A study at the University of Madrid found that Forskolin activates protein phosphatase 2 and this stops the growth of rectal cancer tumours (9). When taken with chemotherapy drugs, it also reduces the side effects.

4. Reduces high blood pressure

Forskolin has been used to treat high blood pressure as an ayurvedic medicine for years. Now recent studies have also proved that this supplement is effective in treating heart ailments like blood pressure (10).

How to use Forskolin?

Forskolin is available as pills and in the powder form. A typical dose of this supplement is 100 to 250 mg of Coleus Forskohlii (10% Forskolin) twice a day. It is important to purchase these supplements from a reputed company and take them under the supervision of your doctor.

Side Effects

Though Forskolin does not have any notable side effects, we should be cautious while taking it.

  1. One lab study discovered that this supplement could lead to mutation and cancer (11).
  2. People with low blood pressure should avoid taking Forskolin as it can lower their blood pressure further.
  3. Forskolin can also increase the size of the cyst in women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome (12).

Final words based on various Forskolin reviews and studies

There are mixed Forskolin reviews and studies available with us. However, the evidence of whether this herbal supplement can cause weight loss is not very clear. Not to forget, it does have many other health benefits. It is better to wait until further studies prove this supplement effectiveness on weight loss.