Forskolin is a natural compound found in the root of Coleus Forskohliiwhich is a purple flowering botanical herb. This powerful compound has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurveda medicine as a means to treat digestive issues, hypertension, and help to heal the heart. In modern times, Forskolin is taken in supplement form to help boost testosterone, build lean muscle mass, lose weight, and address several other health concerns as well.

Research shows that Forskolin has been shown to offer some weight loss assistance, but is far from being the ‘Miracle’ many promoters describe

The popularity of pure forskolin among Western cultures is still relatively new, especially within the consumer supplement market. This herbal supplement is often marketed as one of many weight loss pills able to help lose weight fast with little other effort. Research shows that Forskolin has been shown to offer some weight loss assistance, but is far from being the ‘Miracle’ many promoters describe. Typical to many herbal supplements, forskolin has very few reported side effects and is generally considered safe for use by nearly everyone.

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What is Forskolin

plectranthus-barbatus-coleus-forskohlii

Flower of Coleus Forskohlii

Forskolin is an extract from the root of of Plectranthus barbatus, also known as Coleus Forskohlii, which is a medium sized plant native to India.  In ancient human history, Ayurvedic healers made great use of this herb for the treatment of many health issues. Forskolin is a compound that is found in great concentration within the Coleus Forskohlii root. The roots of this plant have been ground up, eaten, and used in teas by Ayurvedic healers for centuries, but now isolated Forskolin supplements are readily available on the consumer market as standardized extracts. Coleus Forskohlii grows to be about two feet in height, has beautiful purple flowers, and being a member of the mint family puts out a very pleasant scent.

Forskolin has shown the ability to help manage many health conditions such as obesity, hormonal issues, heart health, and even help with allergies. As with all plants, there are many more compounds found within the Coleus Forskohlii than just Forskolin. For those adhering to more traditional herbal practices, teas made from the tuberous roots of this plant offer a more symbiotic blend of compounds. Modern research has shown that the active alkaloid Forskolin is by far the most beneficial compound for health purposes.

How Does Forskolin Work

Cyclic adenosine monophosphate cAMP digram

cAMP’s Role in Intracellular Communication

Forskolin has been touted as a miracle weight loss supplement by such personalities as Dr. Oz. Much of it’s popularity has been founded on the misunderstanding that it is some form of ‘magic’ pill that can be taken to lose weight no matter what. This, is categorically false—as are most claims by national personalities. That being said, Forskolin has shown marked ability to affect muscle/fat ratios in the body, regulate lipid levels, promote healthy hormonal levels, as well as affecting many other positive shifts in the body.

At it’s most fundamental level, forskolin is known to cause spikes in a chemical called cyclic adenosine monophosphate, or cAMP for short. This compound is involved in helping regulate many vital functions in your body, and has been known to offer benefits in the treatment and prevention of many major diseases. For a better understanding of how forskolin works, as well as why you should be mindful of your cAMP levels, let’s take a look at some of the functions that research has shown Forskolin to be effective in.

Benefits of Forskolin

Forskolin is known to have many powerful benefits as a naturally-derived treatment for many health conditions. The stark association with weight loss is merely a recent side track that forskolin has taken, and offers many benefits towards your health. Clinical research on forskolin still somewhat sparse, and much of the conclusions found are indirect in nature. For example, cAMP levels as known to regulate many vital functions in the body, and forskolin is known to increase levels of available cAMP. So, these dots can be connected to suggest that forskolin may very well be able to impact the regulation of those many vital functions—through it’s regulation of cAMP.

Forskolin is regarded as being able treat high blood pressure, chest pain, allergies, eczema, obesity, IBS, urinary tract infections, ‘advanced’ cancer, and even erectile dysfunction in men

With a lack of more research to draw conclusions from, it’s a bit tough to say anything conclusively about forskolin—although many forskolin benefits are regarded. Forskolin is reported by many ‘authority’ sites such as WebMD as being useful in treating high blood pressure, chest pain, allergies, eczema, obesity, IBS, urinary tract infections, ‘advanced’ cancer, and even erectile dysfunction in men— with little citation. While you’ll find below that Forskolin does in fact address many of those issues [9], it’s always important to understand what grounds such claims are being made on. Below, you’ll find a brief overview of some of the more researched forskolin benefits

Weight Loss

Forskolin has shown some hit or miss ability to affect weight loss, showing mixed results in clinical trials. One study found that women that were slightly overweight found forskolin to help avoid additional weight gains, but not lose existing weight. Additionally, researchers noted that those given the Forskolin supplement saw noted decreases in fatigue and appetite. [2] It’s also very noteworthy that this study was conducted among fewer than 100 participants, so conclusions based upon it’s results shouldn’t be taken to heavily.

Another study conducted among middle-aged men that were reported as being ‘obese’ found much more exciting results. This study found that men given forskolin were able to see a shift in body mass composition, having less fat and more muscle. Additionally, forskolin was shown to increase testosterone levels by as much as 30% [3]. This study offers insight into the exciting potential of forskolin being effectively used to boost testosterone levels, and build lean muscle mass. The only real certainty of forskolin’s role in weight loss is that it shows potential, and further investigation should definitely be conducted.

Allergies

Another common use of forskolin is in the treatment of allergies, as well as acute allergic reactions. Researchers have found that compounds such as forskolin are able to decrease the amount of allergens able to cross into the bloodstream during periods of anaphylaxis. Specifically, forskolin demonstrates the ability to reduce overall vascular permeability [1]. Forskolin has shown the ability to increase the diameter of airways in the lungs, which is highly favorable in the treatment of asthma and asthma-like reactions. In one study conducted over an 8 month period of time, researchers found that those patients given 10mg of forskolin each day suffered from 45% fewer asthma attacks. [4]

Heart Health

Forskolin has shown the ability to revitalize failing heart tissues in animal trials,  [6] and is known to be a powerful activator of the myocardial adenylate cyclase. This enzyme is found within heart tissues, and is known to be deeply involved in many cellular processes responsible for maintaining a healthy heart. Forskolin has the ability to affect the tissues of the heart, which in turn produce a stronger heart beat, and wider blood vessels. For this reason, some heath professionals administer an IV dosage of for patients suffering from congestive cardiomyopathy[7].

Increases Testosterone

Mentioned earlier was forskolin’s ability to provide dramatic increases in overall testosterone levels in men, up to 30% boosts.  These increases seen only in the test groups receiving forskolin treatments were noted in levels of free serum testosterone. [3] Much of the available testosterone in your body is bound to another hormone, referred to as sex hormone binding globulin. ‘Free’ testosterone is measurable by blood sampling, and is relatively quick an effective. This measures the amount of testosterone that you have available for use at any given time, and can be an effective means of diagnosing male infertility, erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, and even some symptoms of fatigue. Overall, forskolin has shown very promising ability in it’s ability to boost testosterone naturally in men.

Forskolin Side Effects

Forskolin has very little side effects of note, and those that have been reported are generally mild. There have been some observations in laboratory settings that are of note, although the small amount of data suggests greater possibility of circumstantial findings. Simply put, dietary supplements receive such little clinical attention that findings from any single study shouldn’t be taken as gospel, so-to-speak. On example of this can be seen in a 2015 study that investigated the potential of Coleus Forskohlii compounds to affect genetic materials in a negative way. That research found that in some of their tests DNA was actually damaged in such as way that would possibly promote cancerous growths to become more likely.[8]

The most common issues are those where the thinning of blood or lowering of blood pressure is unwanted, such as in people preparing for surgery

Some other mild side effects that have been reported from those using Forskolin are rapid or irregular heart beats, drops in blood pressure (usually in those with already low bp), and irritation of the throat in those using inhaled Forskolin for asthma treatment. Given what we’ve learned about Forskolin’s ability to treat heart attacks by vascular dilation, the issues with blood pressure are pretty expected. If you already have issues with low blood pressure or faintness, you should exercise extreme caution when taking Forskolin for the first time, and consult your doctor for an experience medical opinion on it’s appropriateness for your needs. Overall the side effects of Forskolin are very mild, and rarely-reported. The most common issues are those where the thinning of blood or lowering of blood pressure is unwanted, such as in people preparing for surgery.

Powerful Addition to Healthy Lifestyle, Not a ‘Miracle’

In the past few years, celebrity personalities have ‘latched’ onto forskolin as powerful new product for weight loss. These so called ‘authorities’ such as Dr. Oz, have helped to build an overwhelming belief that pure forskolin is able to help lose weight fast with little other effort. Research shows that forskolin can help with lowering overall body fat percentages, but certainly not to the degree that Dr. Oz suggests. The truth is, Dr. Oz offers little more than a broad stroke of a brush with concern to healthcare, like reading the first sentence of a clinical trial. Sure, the suggestions on the Dr. Oz show regarding Forskolin may be pointed in the right direction, but the lack of details is downright dishonest. Dr. Oz has been berated during a Senate Subcommittee meeting for making outrageous weight loss claims such as “You may think magic is make-believe, but this little bean has scientists saying they’ve found the magic weight loss cure for every body type“. While this feat isn’t something many other doctors have under their belt, it’s certainly not worth bragging about.

Dr. Oz has been berated during a Senate Subcommittee meeting for making outrageous weight loss claims

If you are looking to lose weight fast, there are’t many healthy or sustainable ways of doing so. Dehydration methods used by many competitive fighters is one of the most effective, but far from being safe. Weight loss supplements never measure up to the hype they are given, but can still be very useful and effective when used properly—and with reasonable expectations. No one ever wants to hear it, but the most effective way of losing weight is through diet and exercise—using supplements as a tactful way to help close nutritional gaps or give you a little boost. For example, if you regularly eat rice and have chosen to drastically cut back carbs to lose weight—you might be missing some of the amino acids and proteins you were getting before. A protein powder supplement could help you make up for this, and help aid in your lower overall carbohydrate intake. Forskolin can offer an extra edge if you have already implemented an exercise program into your daily routine, and have already began adjusting your diet in accordance to your goals.

Forskolin Reviews

If you feel that forskolin has the potential to help you in reaching your personal health goals, you’re likely considering which products to buy. Pure forskolin is a popular supplement, that is an isolated form sold in powder form. Many herbal forskolin supplements are either tinctures or dried Coleus root, processed into a near-powder form and encapsulated. Forskolin is also available from many supplement brands as Coleus Forskohlii, which offers access to all the associated compounds found in the entire plant. Regardless of your preference, there are many considerations to be made before you make your purchase. Vitamins and supplements can vary in quality from brand to brand, and you should only ever buy supplements from brands you know well and trust. These brands are trusted among health professionals to deliver powerful and consistent results. These brands also ensure you’re getting what your buying, which is especially important when gauging your reaction to a new supplement.

Vitamins and supplements can vary in quality from brand to brand, and you should only ever buy supplements from brands you know well and trust

Many store brand supplements have been found to contain little or none of the active ingredient, as well as a plethora of other harmful ingredients. Taking this into account, below you’ll find some of the best forskolin supplements currently available—all sold by the best supplement brands on the market. These products are sold under a few different names including ‘Forskolin,’ ‘Coleus,’ and ‘Coleus Forskohlii.’ The important thing to note is the amount of actual forskolin listed on the label, which is typically in the 10% range. So in effect, a 100mg Coleus capsule standardized to a 10% reduction, would effectively provide a 10mg dose of forskolin. Another type of forskolin supplement available is a blended supplement, where forskolin is offered as one of many ingredients. Typically speaking, forskolin is usually found in Thyroid Support supplements, which offer several other herbals and compounds known to help promote healthy thyroid function.

Pure Forskolin Extract from Integrative Therapeutics

integrative-therapeutics-pure-forskolin-extract

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Integrative therapeutics is a company dedicated to the use of quality ingredients and tightly-controlled manufacturing processes. They’ve been around for 20 years, and in have certainly become one of the brands most-trusted by professional health practitioners to deliver powerful results. They demonstrate a continued commitment to integrative healthcare, which is basically a combination of traditional and alternative therapies to help provide powerful health care to modern needs. They have an extensive product line that has been developed of years of research-backed decisions, all of which are influenced by their advisory board of medical professionals. The pure forskolin extract from Integrative Therapeutics comes with all the quality found in the company, at a very reasonable price. It provides a 18% forskolin product from the root of Coleus Forskohlii, delivering approximately 9mg of forskolin per capsule.

Coleus Extract from Douglas Laboratories

douglas-laboratories-coleus-extract

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Douglas Laboratories is another supplement brand that offers a very pure product. This company has been around for over 60 years, which is near-unheard of for a supplement company. During their tenure among the elite supplement brands, Douglas Laboratories have helped pioneer research related to the powerful benefits of quality supplements. They are considered to be one of the doctor trusted supplement brands that are used by integrative doctors to provide powerful health benefits. In addition to their long-record of research and commitment to healthy lifestyles, Douglas Laboratories also helps put on many educations events that focus on helping the public gain health awareness. In a world brimming with Dr. Oz types trying to ride any wave of sensation they come across—Douglas Laboratories has captained a very respectable and very dedicated presence in the health industry. The Douglas Laboratories Coleus Extract provides an extract of the Coleus Forskohlii root standardized to contain 10% forskolin. In a single 250mg capsule, this product delivers 25mg of pure forskolin per serving.

Forskolin from Cardiovascular Research

cardiovasular-research-forskolin

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This supplement manufacturer has undergone a name change in recent years, and is most commonly known by the name ‘Ecological Formulas’. They specialize in high quality extractions such as minerals, and active alkaloid compounds such as Forskolin. They offer little public information regarding their company or processes, but have been somewhat of an ‘underground’ favorite among professional health practitioners for years. They have a long track record of providing unique and quality products, often offering compounds not available from other brands. Their Monolaurin supplement, sold under the Ecological Formulas’ name, is very popular among those seeking to boost their immune system. Products from this brand are sometimes able to be found in some local stores such as The Vitamin Shoppe, but only rarely so. The Cardiovascular Research Forskolin contains a 10% standardization of Forskolin from Coleus Forskohlii root, and offers 25mg per capsule.

Vital Nutrients Coleus Forskohlii

vital-nutrients-coleus-forskohlii-pure-forskolin

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Vital Nutrients is another one of the most reputable supplement manufacturers around. They offer highly pure formulations of very unique compounds. Coleus Forskohlii is just one among their many unique blends, such as their lithium orotate supplement.Vital Nutrients goes above and beyond federally-mandated requirements for the processing of supplements—which has landed them on a short list of the best vitamin and supplement manufacturers. Vital Nutrients tests all their products for contaminants such as heavy metals, PCBs, alfatoxins, pesticides, and Allergens. Additionally, they never rely on skip-lot testing or third party certificates for verification of quality. Although, they do have all their products third-party verified as a nice addition. Vital Nutrients Coleus Forskohlii is a 10% standardization of forskolin delivered in a 90mg capsule—effectively offering 9mg of pure forskolin per dose.

Where to Buy Forskolin

Forskolin has become a very popular supplement in recent years, with much thanks to such public figures as Dr. Oz—which have greatly exaggerated it’s ability to promote weight loss. Nonetheless, the supplement market has been flooded by Forkskolin products from brands that aren’t well known, and often use inferior ingredients. Many manufacturers believe that by purchasing bulk Forskolin from overseas suppliers, then cramming it into a bottle with a catchy label, that they’ve produced a quality product. This is not the truth, and there are plenty of these products out there floating around. The Forskolin products that have already been mentioned in this article represent supplements that are of the highest possible purity, thus offering the highest possible potential benefit.

Fortunately, many of these products are available to purchase directly through such retailers as Amazon or Pure Formulas

Unfortunately, most doctor-trusted supplement brands aren’t available in local health food stores and retailers like the Vitamin Shopped. These products are only available for direct purchase from a licensed health care professional, such as an integrative doctor. Fortunately, many of these products are available to purchase directly through such retailers as Amazon or Pure Formulas. If you are serious about the quality of your supplements, or if you buy a lot of supplements, you’re likely already shopping through one of these online retailers. While searching for products can sometimes be annoying, you’ll always be able to find a lower price, and higher availability.

The True Potential of Forskolin

Forskolin is a potent natural compound that has demonstrated a remarkable ability in helping with certain health conditions such as cancer, heart attack, eczema, asthma, and even low testosterone. Pure Forskolin is available from several supplement brands as an standardized extract from the root of the Coleus Forskohlii, a beautiful purple flower native to India. Forskolin is most well-known as a means of helping to lose weight fast, although it’s actual ability to cause weight lost is greatly exaggerated by such personalities as Dr. Oz—just as the Senate Subcommittee that questioned him on the subject. Forskolin can be of great benefit as an extra edge in losing weight, as a part of an already healthy diet and exercise routine.

Forskolin is a powerful herbal compound offered to us by the Earth—capable of helping to restore and maintain our natural balance

Several Forskolin products are available from very reputable supplement brands that offer anywhere from 9-25mg doses of pure Forskolin. It’s very important to buy from supplement brands that are well-established and trusted by health professionals in their delivery of pure and powerful products. Many of these products are only available through licensed health professionals, but can often be bought directly online through authorized retailers. If you are considering forskolin as a means of losing weight, it is highly advisable that you consult with your doctor first, and be well-aware of what to expect. Forskolin is a powerful herbal compound offered to us by the Earth—capable of helping to restore and maintain our natural balance.

Forskolin
Powerful Herbal Supplement
Forskolin for weight loss has been a subject of much discussion in recent years. Research has shown forskolin to demonstrate the ability to increase testosterone and promote lower overall fat composition. However, it is far from being the 'miracle' weight loss supplement many claim it to be. It has few side effects, is available online, and can be taken in mild to moderate doses.
Benefits
Heart Health
Treats Allergic Reactions
Treats Asthma
Boosts Testosterone
Promotes Healthy Bone Density
Lowers Body Fat Percentage
Overall Rating
Available on Amazon

NOTE: This article was updated on 1/30/2017 to correct some errors, and provide additional citation.


References

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/articles/2479953/

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2129145/

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16129715 

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22393824

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16749416

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC425203/

7. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1044-coleus.aspx?activeingredientid=1044

8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25726172

9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3215419/

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