The popularity of Forskolin supplements has exploded in recent years, mostly due to TV personalities like Dr. Oz promoting them heavily in front of millions.
At this point, we’ve established that Dr. Oz exaggerates the benefits of supplements. In fact, he was called to testify before Congress for doing just that!
Still, out of all the “miracle weight-loss supplements” he’s endorsed over the years, Forskolin is by far the most promising. Unlike supplements like Raspberry Ketone and Garcinia Cambogia, there’s actually a lot of research behind Forskolin.
What Is Forskolin?
Although there are many other compounds in Coleus Forsokohlii that may offer some sort of benefit, supplements tend to be standardized just for Forskolin content. When we discuss Coleus Forskohlii as a supplement, we’re really just talking about Forskolin.
There may be other benefits to Coleus Forskohlii as a whole, but research indicates Forskolin is responsible for the majority of the benefits Coleus Forskohlii has to offer.
So that’s what most of the studies have focused on.
What Are The Research-Backed Benefits?
Coleus Forskohlii supplements are used by many people for a variety of different purposes. Thanks to people like Dr. Oz, many people use them specifically to lose weight, but research has revealed a few other uses as well.
Of course, most people who are considering Celeus Forskohlii supplementation are primarily concerned with weight-loss.
So, we’ll just start from the top…
Most people who take Forskolin are doing so in the hopes that it will them burn fat and lose weight.
Scientists use Forskolin to increase cAMP. It is considered highly reliable in this regard.
A 2005 study at the University of Kansas found that Forskolin supplementation elicited noticeable anti-obesity effects in overweight male subjects over the course of 12 weeks.
Specifically, Forskolin increased lean body mass by about 1.5kg on average. The difference between the subjects receiving Forskolin and the subjects receiving a Placebo are shown below:
Perhaps the most important finding of this study, however, was that Forskolin supplementation actually reduced fat mass pretty considerably. Subjects lost, on average, 4.5kg. Subjects in the Placebo group lost only half a kg.
The results of this study could not be more clear. Supplementation was effectively for cutting fat in overweight subjects.
Another study, this time in somewhat overweight women, found that Forskolin was effective for preventing weight-gain after weight-loss had occurred.
Interestingly, in a 2011 study which primarily investigated the effects of Forskolin on hypertension noted a decreased in lean body mass, consistent with the first study we discussed above.
The fat-loss effects of Forskolin are due to an increase in cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), a signaling protein which regulates quite a few bodily processes. In particular, it triggers Lipolysis (fat-breakdown).
Numerous studies have proven that Forskolin not only increases cAMP, but is very reliable at doing so. It has been used regularly by scientists for the purposes of increasing cAMP when a high-cAMP environment is required. In fact, it’s is so reliable for increasing cAMP levels that it’s often used as a benchmark when comparing measuring the cAMP-boosting effects of other supplements.
If you take a step back and look at the research as a whole, it’s pretty clear that it is effective to some degree. The degree of benefit depends on several factors though, and it’s possible that men respond differently than women (more on that later).
Although it has not been studied specifically with regards to its impact on hormonal health in men, there is some evidence to suggest a Testosterone-boosting effect.
The same study which measured body composition changes in men (discussed above) also measured Testosterone levels.
The results are depicted in this chart:
As you can see, the subjects taking the Placebo experienced a slight drop in free Testosterone, while the subjects taking Forskolin saw an increase. It was hypothesized that this increase in Testosterone was partially responsible for some of the fat-loss effects and increases in lean body mass also observed in the study.
Testosterone itself has powerful fat-burning effects. That’s why certain steroids (which boost Testosterone) burn fat and build muscle at the same time.
Unfortunately, this is literally the only published study regarding Forskolin and Testosterone. Luckily, that hasn’t stopped researchers from hypothesizing about how exactly it boosts Testosterone.
The leading hypothesis is that Forkolin increases cAMP levels in the testicles which elicits similar effects to Luteinizing Hormone (LH) by directly increasing seroidogenesis (Testosterone production).
Basically, anything that increases cAMP levels to a significant degree an indirectly boost Testosterone levels to some degree as well. This appears to be the case with Forskolin. It’s not so much a “test-booster” as it is a cAMP-booster which just happens to have Testosterone-boosting effects.
The ability of Forskolin to increase cAMP levels in the testes is well-established at this point, but research also suggests it can increase cAMP in muscle tissue as well. Due to this increase in cAMP, researchers have hypothesized that Forskolin can increase muscle protein synthesis.
Of course, at this point that’s just speculation. Human studies have yet to confirm this. I would explain, however, the increase in lean body mass noted in the study referenced above.
In mice, Forskolin has been shown to increase muscle contraction force, These findings have been replicated in a separate study as well. It looks like this enhanced muscle contraction is the result of an increase in cAMP, which in turn increasing Ca2+ (Calcium Ion) release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR).
Okay, so some of those words may be confusing, so let me make it simple…
The sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) is a structure in muscle cells that regulates the release of Calcium Ions (Ca2+) and therefore controls muscle contraction. The more calcium ion release, the greater the muscle contraction.
So, by increasing Calcium Ion release in muscle tissue, Forskolin may directly increase muscle contraction.
Further studies are needed to determine the degree to which this occurs though.
Forskolin is also of interest as a heart-health agent. Preliminary studies (in animals) have shown that Forskolin can actually reduce blood pressure. Of course, the most notable benefits occur in those with initially higher blood pressure levels.
Interestingly, higher doses of Forskolin don’t appear to decrease blood pressure even more, but instead, the same lower in blood pressure lasts a longer time. Although these results should be viewed as strictly preliminary, they do support the notion the Forskolin supplementation may be useful for controlling blood pressure.
Forskolin, in the form of eyedrops administered to human subjects, decreased intra-ocular pressure (pressure felt in the eyes), indicating that it may be an effective treatment for Glaucoma. Similar results have been obtained in other studies, but these studies have been confounded with other nutrients.
Enhancing The Effects Other Fat-Burners
Given Forskolins inherent fat-burning properties, it makes sense that research would seek to determine whether it may be synergistic with other known fat-burners.
It has been shown to enhance the fat-burning effects of a beta-receptor agonist known as Isoproterenol.
Research has also shown us that Forskolin is capable of rescuing the effects of beta-receptor agonists in non-responders and even reversing beta-receptor agonist desensitization (tolerance).
Put simply, all the preliminary evidence there is indicates that Forskolin synergistically enhance the fat-loss benefits of beta-receptor agonists. This includes beta-receptor agonists such as Synephrine and Higenamine.
On it’s own, is a moderately effective fat-burner, the benefits may be amplified by combining it with beta-receptor agonists.
Just about every human study involving Forskolin used a dose of 50mg/day, usually from 250mg of Coleus Forskohlii extract. Ideally, that’s the dose you should aim for.
Unfortunately, a lot of supplement companies sell Coleus Forskohlii Extract but don’t disclose the amount of active Forskolin. Without the Forskolin content, it’s impossible to say whether a Coleus Forskhlii supplement will be effective or not.
So make sure you go with a supplement that is actaully standardized for precise amount of Forskolin and dose accordingly. In other words, if you have a supplement which provides 250mg of Coleus Forskohlii, standardized for 10% Forskolin, you need to take 500mg/daily to achieve a clinical dose.
Not Much Of A ‘Miracle Supplement’ But Still Worth Supplementing With
Dr. Oz once pitched Forskolin as the next big weight-loss supplement and, while the preliminary research certainly supported what he claimed, he stated it like a fact when studies were still ongoing. This is downright unethical.
It’s truly a shame that Dr. Oz continues to over-hype terrible supplements that don’t really work, show after shown, and middle-aged women who are desperate to make changes in their lives continue to eat it all up.
Some of these people spend hundreds of their hard-earned cash on these BS supplements that don’t work, and that grinds my gears to say the last. At SuppWithThat, our loyalty is to science. We let the research do the talking and the research is pretty clear…
It on’t magically make you lose weight, but it can ABSOLUTELY be helpful for losing fat when used in combination with a responsible diet and exercise program.
Choosing The Right Forskolin Supplement
Here’s the thing…
Due to the massive surge in popularity of Forskolin supplements over the last couple years, there are about a million different brands to choose from. Of course, all of them claim their product is the absolute best forskolin supplement, but talk is cheap..,
Ideally, you should go with a brand-name extract such as ForsLean® which is guaranteed to contain the stated amount of active Forskolin.
You can certainly roll the dice on an off-brand extract, but chances are you’ll just get ripped off. The truth is that most supplement companies to shady things (like use inferior ingredients) to improve their bottom line.
May Be Especially Effective For Men
Although Forskolin does appear to be effective for burning fat and losing weight in both men and women, men may have a slight advantage. The reason for this relates back to the study in which elevated Testosterone levels were found in male subjects who also happened to lose a lot of fat with Forskolin supplementation.
As previously stated, Testosterone has it’s own inherent fat-burning properties. By increasing Testosterone levels, Forskolin offers another mechanism by which it can burn even more fat.
Men obviously have more Testosterone then women, so the effects are more pronounced in men.
Now, it’s important to understand that this was just one study. We’ll need at least a few more studies in both men and women before determining with absolute certainty that men stand to benefit more than women…but until then it’s just speculation.
Are There Any Side Effects?
There’s no evidence to suggest that Forskolin is dangerous in any way for normal, healthy people. In individuals with stomach ulcers, it could potentially cause problems though. So, if that’s something you suffer from, don’t don’t take it.
The term LD50 refers to the amount of a given substance it takes to kill half a population of test animals
In cats, the LD50 for Forskolin is somwhere in the ballpark of 68mg/kg, WAY MORE than any human would realistically need to consume…So no worries there.
It’s remarkably safe!
The Bottom Line
Forskolin, derived from the herb Coleus Forskholii, has proven to be a moderately effective supplement for fat-loss and increasing Testosterone in men. It may also:
Anything to Add About Coleus Forskohlii or Forskolin? Comment below…