Introduction to Forskolin
Very little was known about Forskolin until a certain doctor appeared on television and introduced it as a “miracle flower” and “lightning in a bottle”. Since then, there has been dozens of features and published articles all speaking about Forskolin and its wide spectrum of benefits. A simple Google search of Forskolin introduces you to hundreds of contradicting articles making it increasingly difficult to separate what it can do from what is nothing more than myths.
In this review, we will stay as objective as possible in uncovering everything you need to know about Forskolin. We will tell you about the five key benefits of using Forskolin supplements and whether there are any side effects that you should prepare yourself for. We will also try to highlight some of the clinical studies that looked into the forskolin plant and the findings they came up with.
What is Forskolin?
Forskolin is a plant extract from roots of an Indian plant known as coleus. It is also referred to as Coleus Forskohlii. This plant has, for centuries, been used as a source for traditional medicine where it has helped to treat different kinds of illnesses.
The uses of the supplement for modern day weight-loss purposes blew up when the plant was featured in Dr. Oz show. Since then, dozens of different manufacturers have included this compound in their weight loss supplements but how well does it perform? Can you solely rely on Forskolin based supplements to lose weight without including other products? Are there any studies backing up the efficacy of this compound?
How does Forskolin Work?
There have been only two reliable studies that have looked into the impact of the supplement in weight loss. This may seem like an issue because typically, you’d expect a supplement to be widely studied to ascertain its efficacy. The good news, however, is that in the two studies, the outcomes were promising. According to their data, Forskolin helps to promote weight loss by releasing excess fat from the body. They also went ahead to explain that Forskolin had a bigger impact in preventing weight gain than in reducing weight.
The first clinical trial involving humans was conducted in 2005 by the University of Kansas. It involved 30 overweight men. A group of these men was placed under 250mg of a 10% forskolin extract while the other group was used as a placebo. The individuals took the supplement orally twice daily.
A few months down the line, this study established that the men taking the supplement experienced changes in body composition, a decrease in body fat, and fat mass. The research also noticed an increase in testosterone levels and bone mass.
The second trial was conducted by Baylor University involving mildly overweight women. The 23 women were given 250mg of 10% Forskolin for 12 weeks.
The results from this particular study were very different and showed a completely different side of Forskolin. The scientists here did not witness any changes in terms of body composition, body lipids and the metabolism rate. Unlike the earlier study, this one showed no increase in testosterone levels in the body. Instead, this trial established that Forskolin was able to prevent the formation of new fat mass. This is one of the studies that founded the basis on which Forskolin is believed to be so effective when it comes to managing weight.
From these studies and following the recommendations of scientists, the supplement is effective in the management of weight but it needs to be supplemented by proper diet and exercising. This way, you will not just be able to lose weight naturally (which is healthier and more recommendable) but you’ll also be able to keep future weight gain at bay.
In 2011, another study involving the supplement and a few other compounds was done to investigate the overall impact of these compounds on the body. Some of the other compounds that were used here included caffeine, retinol, carnitine and tetrahydroxypropyl ethylenediamine. This trial was carried out for 12 weeks and the final outcomes were unbelievable! The subjects in this trial witnessed significant weight loss in various key parts of the body i.e. abdomen, buttocks, waist and hips. Cellulite appearance around the body had also decreased. Now, we understand that this study involved more than one compound and hence we can’t attribute all these benefits to the supplement but it still shows just how well the compound can work if supplemented with other weight loss ingredients.
After the above human clinical trials and a few others done on lab rats, scientists established that Forskolin supplementation will benefit your body in the following ways:
- Helps in Weight Management
The first benefit that every clinical study involving Forskolin has been able to identify is its impeccable ability to manage weight. Forskolin supplements will help overweight individuals and ones that have already lost weight to maintain a healthy weight. This is a great benefit especially to people whose overweight issues are due to inherited genes. The supplement will ensure that you avoid further weight gain and if you are to put an extra effort in following a healthy diet and working out then you will experience an even bigger impact on weight loss.
- Lowers High Blood Pressure
Coleus Forskohlii has been used to treat heart conditions for decades. Reducing high blood pressure is one of the oldest medical uses of Forskolin. One trial done in India established that proper usage of coleus forskohlii extracts reduces blood pressure in over 75% of all patients treated.
Forskohlii, therefore, offers a natural solution to your high blood pressure problems and this is much safer than all the pharmaceutical grade pills out there. Combine this compound with a healthy lifestyle and hypertension will be the least of your worries.
- Treats Cancers
According to a 2011 study done by the University of Madrid, the supplement can help in the treatment of rectal cancer. This study pointed out that the presence of Forskolin in the body activates Protein Phosphatase 2 or PP2A. This is an enzyme associated with anti-tumor effects. It increases the rate of cell division stopping their growth and development into tumors. This study, however, said that depending on the specific type of rectal cancer, forskolin may either be able to stop or slow down the tumor’s growth. The compound can also fight cancer cells through apoptosis i.e. cell death with multiple myeloma.
Other than fighting cancer cells, Forskolin will reduce the annoying effects of other chemotherapy drugs.
- Helps with Asthma Attacks
Asthma is characterized by inflammation of airways which interferes with normal breathing. The common treatment of asthma is cromoglicic acid/ steroidal inhaler, non-steroidal inhaler, bronchodilators and other anti-inflammatory medication.
If you are looking for a natural solution to Asthma attacks then Forskolin is one of the few effective options you have. In fact, some clinical trials explain that Forskolin is more effective in dealing with asthma attacks than cromoglicic acid. Another study that compared the supplement to a steroidal inhaler (beclomethasone) showed that the two compounds had relatively the same impact.
So, why would you go for a pharmaceutical-grade asthma medication when there is a natural and, perhaps, safer Forskolin option?
- Treats Diabetes
A study published in The International Journal of Medical Sciences showed that regular usage of the product helps in reducing levels of blood glucose in the body. This study pointed out that for one to enjoy this benefit, they’d have to take it for at least eight weeks. The compound was hence recommended for both diabetic and pre-diabetic individuals.
Usage of Forskolin has been linked to very few adverse reactions. Most of the complaints reported were due to one’s body reacting negatively to the drug and the best solution is usually to discontinue the dosage.
The most common reported side effects to include irregular heartbeat when taken orally and coughs, throat irritation and restlessness when used through inhalers.
A few women have also complained of an increase in the cyst and that’s why women with PCOS are discouraged from using this compound.
We explained that the supplement reduces high blood pressure and this means that people with low blood pressure should never use the product to avoid further complications.
People with blood disorders, pregnant women, and patients taking nitrates and beta blockers should also avoid using the supplement.
The thing about weight loss supplements is that there are so many retailers and a good majority of them are frauds. We recommend that you get a trusted dealer and purchase pure Forskolin to enjoy the best results.
Take note that intravenous and inhaled forskolin can only be prescribed by the doctor and hence you shouldn’t buy it over-the-counter or through the internet.
Forskolin is not a magical weight loss pill. Don’t take this supplement and sit back expecting to lose weight. To enjoy its benefits in staying healthy or even in losing weight, you’ll have to take it alongside a healthy diet with some exercises. Using this compound will benefit you in the variables as discussed above and can also be useful for Alzheimer’s and Glaucoma patients.