Forskolin works without exerting any pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action or effects on the human body

Forskolin: Fueling the top weight management brands in the United States

Forskolin is a labdane diterpene found in the roots of the Indian Coleus plant plectranthus barbatus (Coleus forskohlii).

Coleus forskohlii is a member of the mint family native to India and Southeast Asia, and has a centuries-long history of use in Hindu and Ayruvedic medicine for weight management, as well as a natural support for cardiovascular and respiratory health.

In the 1970s researchers isolated a unique chemically active extract from the herb and called it forskolin. Recent research has shown that the active ingredient in coleus is forskolin, which plays a major role in a variety of important cellular functions, including inhibiting histamine release, relaxing muscles, increasing thyroid function, and increasing fat-burning activity.

Researchers have also found that forskolin can help to promote the breakdown of stored fats in animal and human fat cells. It may also release fatty acids from adipose tissue, which results in increased thermogenesis, resulting in loss of body fat and improve body composition by the way of increasing lean mass and decreasing fat mass.

The Science Behind Forskolin

As with other members of the large diterpene family of natural products, forskolin is derived from geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate (GGPP). Forskolin, however, contains some unique functional elements, key among them is the presence of a tetrahydopyran derived heterocyclic ring. This ring is synthesized after the formation of the trans-fused carbon ring systems are formed by a carbocation mediated cyclization. The remaining tertiary carbocation is quenched by a molecule of water. After deprotonation, the remaining hydroxyl group is free to form the heterocyclic ring. This cyclization can occur either by attack of the alcohol oxygen onto the allylic carbocation formed by loss of diphosphate, or by an analogous SN2' like displacement of the diphosphate. This forms the core ring system A of forskolin.

Cyclic AMP (cAMP) is one of the most important secondary messengers in the cell. It is considered to be one of the most important cell regulating compounds. Forskolin is commonly used to stimulate and raise levels of cyclic AMP (cAMP), in the study and research of cell physiology. Cyclic AMP (cAMP) is a molecule that triggers the release of a thyroid hormone that also burns body fat and calories. There are several benefits of increasing cAMP levels, especially for athletes, including relaxation of the arteries and smooth muscles, lowering blood pressure, enhanced insulin secretion (which can help drive carbohydrates and protein into muscle cells for energy and recovery), increased thyroid hormone function (which can help enhance metabolic rate), and significantly increase lipolysis (fat burning)

Forskolin activates the enzyme adenylyl cyclase and increases intracellular levels of cAMP, and cAMP acts by activating cAMP-sensitive pathways such as protein kinase A and Epac. It transfers instructions waiting on hormone receptor sites directly to the active inner cell components. Forskolin also provokes signaling agents within adipose tissue that attack excess fat to release fatty acids and glycerol into the bloodstream where they are extracted to provide adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This form of energy is consumed by cells in their mitochondria. cAMP is required for cell communication in the hypothalamus/pituitary gland axis and for the feedback control of hormones. This sends your metabolism into overdrive and produces natural energy.

One of the overlooked benefits of forskolin includes its stimulation of digestive enzymes, which can allow individuals to digest and assimilate their food better. It has been shown to increase nutrient absorption in the small intestine. Forskolin also seems to benefit other cellular enzymes as well. As mentioned earlier, the breakdown of fat for fuel (lipolysis) is actually regulated by cAMP. Forskolin has been shown to not only enhance lipolysis but it may also inhibit fat storage from occurring. This is very good news for individuals trying to lose bodyfat and get lean.

Efficacy Studies

Forsoklin been shown to be highly effective for a variety of other uses like:
  • Weight Loss
  • Bladder infections
  • Appetite Suppressant
  • Allergies
  • Menstrual discomfort
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Urinary tract infections

To date, there have been more than two clinical studies examining the effectiveness of forskolin as a weight loss aid. One has been peer-review and published in a medical journal. This clinical study also observed forskolin's role in significantly increasing lean mass, bone mass, and testosterone in the overweight and obese men involved. These men took 250 milligrams of a 10% forskolin extract twice a day. They showed a decrease in body fat and an increase in testosterone levels after 12 weeks, compared to similar men taking a placebo.

Body Composition and Hormonal Adaptations Associated with Forskolin Consumption in Overweight and Obese Men

Article first published online: 6 SEP 2012 DOI: 10.1038/oby.2005.162

Objective: This study examined the effect of forskolin on body composition, testosterone, metabolic rate, and blood pressure in overweight and obese (BMI ≥ 26 kg/m2) men.

Research Methods and Procedure: Thirty subjects (forskolin, n = 15; placebo, n = 15) were studied in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study for 12 weeks.

Results: Forskolin was shown to elicit favorable changes in body composition by significantly decreasing body fat percentage (BF%) and fat mass (FM) as determined by DXA compared with the placebo group (p ≤ 0.05). Additionally, forskolin administration resulted in a change in bone mass for the 12-week trial compared with the placebo group (p ≤ 0.05). There was a trend toward a significant increase for lean body mass in the forskolin group compared with the placebo group (p = 0.097). Serum free testosterone levels were significantly increased in the forskolin group compared with the placebo group (p ≤ 0.05). The actual change in serum total testosterone concentration was not significantly different among groups, but it increased 16.77 ± 33.77% in the forskolin group compared with a decrease of 1.08 ± 18.35% in the placebo group.

Discussion: Oral ingestion of forskolin (250 mg of 10% forskolin extract twice a day) for a 12-week period was shown to favorably alter body composition while concurrently increasing bone mass and serum free testosterone levels in overweight and obese men. The results indicate that forskolin is a possible therapeutic agent for the management and treatment of obesity.

Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Sciences, Applied Physiology Laboratory, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

Product Safety

Do not use forskolin if:
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • You have heart or blood pressure problems.
  • You have any condition which makes you more likely to bleed.
  • You are scheduled for surgery in the next two weeks.

Forskolin might decrease blood pressure. Taking forskolin with medication for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low. Don't use forskolin if you are taking high blood pressure medications.

Forskolin increases blood flow. Taking forskolin with medications that increase blood flow to the heart might increase the chance of dizziness and lightheadedness. Don't use forskolin if you are taking medications that increase blood flow to the heart.

Forskolin might slow blood clotting. Taking forskolin along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Products with Forskloin

Forskolin is included in a variety of weight management products, which are available worldwide through exclusive partners. Please click on the link below to go to the websites of products made with Forskolin.