Forskolin is a compound found in the roots of the Coleus Forskohili plant. Native to India, this plant is a part of the mint family and has been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Although this herb is well-known in the East, it’s only recently been introduced to the Western world.
Forskolin can affect the body in numerous beneficial ways. Studies show that the compound can improve thyroid levels in both men and women, increase metabolism and boost testosterone levels in men. It’s also been shown to stimulate the breakdown of fats. For this reason, forskolin is often used as a fat burning supplement, and has even been endorsed by Dr. Oz as an effective weight loss aid.
The compound’s beneficial effects on can be attributed to the compound’s ability to raise cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) levels. cAMP is believed to be the most vital cell-regulating complex in the human body.
Increased cAMP levels:
- Lower blood pressure
- Open up the blood vessels
- Improve breathing
- Speed up lipolysis
- Increase thyroid hormone secretion
In addition to the benefits listed above, increased cAMP levels also activates protein kinase and lipases, both of which help breakdown triglycerides (the building blocks of fat).
Forskolin is so effective at stimulating the thyroid that it has been compared to TSH (thyrotropin). As you know, your thyroid is what regulates your body’s metabolism. By stimulating the thyroid gland, you increase your metabolism and signal the body to increase its fat burning rate.
Forskolin for Weight Loss
Although it was primarily used to treat heart and respiratory conditions, such as asthma and high blood pressure, researchers have also found that forskolin facilitates the breakdown of stored fats.
Fat loss is triggered by the compound’s ability to activate the adenylate cyclase enzyme. This particular enzyme sets off a chain of events that allows fat stores to be broken down and used for fuel.
At the same time, forskolin also helps release fatty acids, which creates a thermogenic reaction. As a result, the body burns more fat and you increase your lean body mass. Increased cAMP levels also boost testosterone production in men and protein synthesis, which work together to further increase your lean body mass.
To put it simply, taking forskolin mimics the effects of mild exercise and caloric restriction without you having to actually change your diet and exercise. That’s pretty impressive, and something you don’t see with most other weight loss products.
Unlike other fat burners, pure forskolin extract does not contain any stimulants, so you can burn more fat and lose weight without feeling jittery or experiencing other negative side effects.
The Benefits of Forskolin
Aside from weight loss, forskolin offers several other health benefits as well, including:
- Improved immune function – Just like other plants in the mint family, forskolin contains anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties. Many users have reported reduced recovery times from illnesses, or felt that their symptoms were far less severe.
- Increased bone density – One study noted a significant increase in bone density in males who took forskolin for 12 weeks. An increase in bone density consequently strengthens the entire body.
- Increased energy – During clinical trials, users of forskolin experienced an energy boost after taking the supplement.
- Improved digestion – Forskolin increases gastric acid and stimulates digestive enzymes. As a result, users are better able to digest their food and absorb its nutrients.
In supplement form, forskolin has also been used to help treat eczema, blood clots, urinary tract infections, psoriasis, menstrual cramps and even allergies. Because of its ability to increase testosterone production, it’s sometimes used to treat erectile dysfunction.
Risks and Side Effects
Forskolin is a naturally-occurring compound that, in most cases, causes zero side effects. Some users may experience rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure or headaches.
Because forskolin increases gastric acid, those who have ulcers should avoid this supplement. Diabetics should also avoid this herb as it increases glucose production and encourages the release of lipids.
Speak with your doctor before you start taking forskolin, especially if you are on blood thinners, to ensure that the supplement is safe for you to use.
Dosage and Concentration
Taking just 125mg of forskolin in the morning can help boost your weight loss efforts, but in order for the supplement to be effective, it must contain 20% forskolin. Supplements that contain less than this standardized amount will not be as effective.
Does Forskolin Really Burn Fat?
Of course, the biggest question on everyone’s mind is: Does forskolin really burn fat? Like most other fat burning supplements, the claims seem too good to be true.
There are a surprising number of studies that actually back these fat burning claims.
- In a recent study, 6 overweight women took 25mg of forskolin twice a day for eight weeks. After the eight week trial was complete, the women lost an average of 10 pounds, and they reduced their body fat by almost eight percent. As an added bonus, many of these women also saw a decrease in their blood pressure.
- Another study conducted by researchers at the University of Kansas found that men who took forskolin for 12 weeks lost a considerable amount of body fat and saw a boost in their testosterone levels.
- In yet another study, a mixed group of men and women lost an average of 2lbs while taking forskolin for 12 weeks. At the same time, the group also saw an increase in lean body mass without any weight training.
The results of these studies are impressive, and there are many more studies that back of up these claims. Forskolin is so effective simply because it activates the adenylate cyclase enzyme and increases cAMP levels. This sets of a chain of events that stimulates the thyroid and increases testosterone production. All of this leads to increased fat burning and a boost in your body’s metabolism.
Just like any other weight loss supplement, forskolin is most effective when combined with a healthy diet and exercise. Even though the compound can simulate mild exercise and caloric restriction on its own, the results are amplified when you add exercise and a balanced, healthy diet into the mix.