Everything You Need to Know About Forskolin

by Marixie Ann Obsioma, MT, undergrad MD on April 27, 2022
Last updated on May 4, 2022

Forskolin, one of the most popular natural dietary supplements, is derived from the root of a plant belonging to the mint family. Nepal, India, and Thailand are the countries where you can find this Indian coleus plant. It has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for a very long time.

Everything You Need to Know About Forskolin

Is it possible for Forskolin to aid in weight loss?

Because nearly two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, it should come as no surprise that weight loss supplements such as Forskolin have become widespread.

Forskolin, in particular, has gained popularity as a result of Dr. Oz’s endorsement on his television show.

On the other hand, the scientific evidence and clinical trials may not support the widespread publicity surrounding this popular weight loss supplement.

Forskolin is a supplement that has gained popularity due to its potential to promote weight loss. 

Here are some quick facts about Forskolin:

  • A plant known as Coleus forskohlii is responsible for the production of Forskolin.
  • Forskolin, according to theory, aids in weight loss by stimulating the production of enzymes such as lipase and adenylate cyclase, which potentiates blood vessel dilation.

What exactly is Forskolin?

As stated, Forskolin is a plant supplement derived from the root of a member of the mint family known as the Indian coleus, which grows in Thailand, Nepal, and parts of India and is used to treat various health conditions.

While Forskolin has long been used in folk medicine to treat asthma and various other ailments, it is now believed to offer weight loss benefits.

For thousands of years, the tropical coleus plant has been used in Ayurvedic medicine, a subtype of treatment that has its origins in the Indian subcontinent and has been successfully incorporated into western wellness practices.

It has long been believed that Forskolin and the coleus plant could improve overall health and well-being. Additionally, Forskolin was used to treat asthma and other breathing disorders.

Local people used the root of the coleus to make tea, which they drank to keep them healthy and promote wellness in their natural environment. Today, it is most commonly used as a weight-loss supplement.

What is the mechanism of action of Forskolin in weight loss?

An enzyme called adenylate cyclose, which creates the “second messenger” in the body known as “cAMP,” is activated in the body by forskolin. This second messenger, which is fundamental to cellular activity, can be activated by forskolin.

“First messengers” like hormones, endorphins, and neurotransmitters like serotonin, the growth hormone, and more send signals to cells via “second messengers,” which help cells interpret how to handle these signals. Additionally, they play an important role in the activation of enzymes known as protein kinases (PTKs), which regulate how proteins function in the body.

This group of messengers, which are essentially translation devices, affects a wide variety of biological cell functions.

That’s why Forskolin, according to theory, aids in weight loss by stimulating the production of enzymes such as lipase and adenylate cyclase.

These two enzymes are responsible for releasing fatty acids from the body’s cells. When the fatty acids are no longer bound together, they can be used as fuel. Fatty acid metabolism may help the body lose weight while maintaining or increasing lean muscle mass.

Unfortunately, this theory does not consider that a calorie deficit must also exist for weight loss to occur. In other words, a person must burn more calories than they consume through food and drink to maintain their weight. If this does not happen, a person will not be able to lose weight.

In other words, while Forskolin may increase fat-burning capabilities, this is meaningless unless combined with a nutritious diet and regular exercise to create a calorie deficit.

Forskolin efficacy studies have been conducted!

Forskolin has been studied for its ability to aid in weight loss, with varying degrees of success.

The results of studies on Forskolin and weight loss have been inconsistent.

Even though Forskolin was shown to reduce body fat in a study conducted on a small group of overweight and obese men, it had little effect on their overall weight. 

It also had a positive effect on their testosterone levels. Wherein higher testosterone levels are associated with lower body weight and weight loss that lasts longer. Studies show that it can alter body composition, increase bone mass, and raise testosterone levels in obese men.

Other studies that were conducted yielded a variety of results. Twenty-three overweight females were given 250 milligrams (mg) of Forskolin twice a day for 12 weeks in a double-blind study, and their weight decreased significantly. 

According to the findings of the studies, Forskolin did not assist the women in losing weight. However, the supplement helped prevent them from gaining any additional weight while they were taking it.

As a result, claiming that Forskolin is the panacea for weight loss is overstating the case. While research suggests that Forskolin may help men lose weight by slowing their weight gain and increasing testosterone levels, it is not the miracle weight loss solution that some supplement distributors and television medical personalities claim it to be.

What are some of the suggested applications for Forskolin?

Forskolin may have risen to prominence due to positive press surrounding its ability to aid in weight loss. Still, scientists are currently investigating its potential for various other applications. The following are examples of possible applications:

  • asthmatic bronchitis treatment
  • preventing and treating cancer
  • heart failure patients with congestive heart failure can have their heart strength improved.
  • taking care of glaucoma
  • lowering blood pressure and stimulating the development of a suntan

Scientific studies on the effect of Forskolin on cancer in animals have been conducted, and the results indicate that it may have a beneficial impact. However, because no human studies have been conducted on this subject, the results of these studies are, at best inconclusive.

To try Forskolin, you can order it from the manufacturer’s website. It is, however, critical to consult with a physician before attempting to use this or any other supplement.

Health benefits of Forskolin explained!

Forskolin tablets may have some health benefits based on some scientific reviews. And this article will explain health benefits in greater detail in the following paragraphs.

Some say it may help to lower one’s blood pressure

Taking forskolin pills can help dilate the blood vessels. Despite the lack of conclusive evidence from clinical studies on the matter, it can lower BP. Forskolin’s ability to lower blood pressure in humans has to be studied more thoroughly.

It might aid in preventing glaucoma

The use of forskolin eye drops to treat glaucoma, which is a condition characterized by increased pressure inside the eye, may help you maintain clear vision. 

Forskolin and flavonoid rutin were found to reduce ocular pressure by 10% following 30 days of treatment in an Italian study in 2013. However, even at greater doses, intraocular pressure was significantly reduced, which may lower your eye pressure.

A study conducted in India indicated that an eye drop containing 1 percent forskolin after four weeks of use helped lower adult ocular pressure. Open-angle glaucoma with an intraocular pressure affected 90 persons in this study between 18 and 60 years of age.

Readings from individuals who used two eye drop three times a day for the first four weeks were taken at the beginning and the conclusion of each week. Between each session, ocular pressure fluctuated significantly.

It can also prevent asthma attacks 

CAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) that Forskolin’s potential to reduce asthma symptoms is based on (cyclic AMP). A more open airway minimizes the likelihood of respiratory spasms, such as asthma.

They added how the daily use of 10 milligrams of forskolin capsules for half a year helped 20 persons with asthma attacks. 

Taking the asthma medicine “sodium cromoglycate” had the same effect on the subjects’ breathing volume.

Hypoglycemia and insulin resistance may improve 

People conducted research on the effects of Coleus forskohlii extract on metabolic markers in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. A placebo or a dose of Coleus forskohlii extract was administered twice a day for 12 weeks to participants in this research.

A variety of measurements were taken biweekly, including body weight, BMI, waist and hip measurements, and the waist-to-hip ratio. Compared to a control group, those who ingested the extract experienced a decrease in insulin levels and resistance.

Both risks and benefits are discussed!

Even though Forskolin has not been shown to interact with any known medical conditions, it is still recommended to proceed with caution. Forskolin should be avoided by those taking blood thinners or medications for low blood pressure.

The vast majority of people familiar with weight loss supplements are also familiar with the numerous side effects that can occur. Forskolin appears to be relatively safe compared to many other accessories made available on the market.

Many weight loss supplements affect the cardiovascular system, raising blood pressure and stimulating cardiac tissue, among other things. According to most scientists, Forskolin is metabolized differently by the body than other weight-loss supplements and therefore does not interact with the cardiovascular system.

However, because there are no known interactions between Forskolin and other substances does not necessarily imply that forskolin supplements are risk-free.

Weight loss supplement manufacturers can frequently conceal the presence of other potentially harmful ingredients in their products. As a result of these tactics, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States warns consumers about many weight loss supplements available on the market.

Additionally, there have been reports of acute poisoning in Europe following the consumption of forskolin-containing products, which may have occurred due to contamination.

Therefore, it is critical to exercise caution when using any supplement or herb because it is not regulated by the FDA and may contain questionable purity, quality, or dosage contaminants.

Beyond the possibility of contamination, Forskolin may pose a risk to specific individuals and should not be consumed by the following individuals:

  • People suffering from kidney disease
  • Those who have low blood pressure, those who take blood pressure medication, those who have a slower heart rate, and those who take blood thinners

What motivates people to take Forskolin?

There are a variety of reasons why people take forskolin supplements. However, there is very little substantial evidence to support its use in treating any health condition.

According to some research, Forskolin may benefit weight loss and muscle building. In one microscopic study, overweight and obese men were given 250 milligrams of a 10 percent forskolin extract twice a day. 

Compared to similar men who were given a placebo, they lost more body fat and experienced a more significant increase in testosterone levels after 12 weeks. However, more research is required to confirm these findings and determine the safety of the treatment.

Forskolin has a long history as a folk remedy for asthma, dating back thousands of years. According to some research, this is true. 

Forskolin appears to function like certain types of conventional asthma medications by increasing the levels of a compound known as cyclic AMP in the body. This aids in relaxing the muscles surrounding the bronchial tubes, allowing for easier breathing.

Forskolin has also been tried for glaucoma patients in the past. According to a small study, Forskolin may effectively reduce pressure in the eyes, commonly seen in people with glaucoma. It has also been a safe alternative to beta-blockers in patients with glaucoma and asthma who have also been diagnosed with asthma.

Another possible application for Forskolin is treating people who have idiopathic congestive cardiomyopathy, which can result in heart failure. In a small study, patients who received Forskolin intravenously (IV) experienced improved cardiac function.

Forskolin doses that are optimal for any given condition have not yet been determined. 

Forskolin-containing products differ from one manufacturer to another in terms of the quality of the active ingredients and the concentration of Forskolin in them, as is true of supplements in general. 

According to their findings, some experts advise that you should only take Forskolin under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

Is it possible to obtain Forskolin from foods in a natural way?

Even though Forskolin is derived from a plant, it has only been studied in the form of an extract. There is no evidence to support the existence of any potential benefits from the whole herb.

What are the dangers of taking forskolin supplements?

Because Forskolin has not been thoroughly studied, it is impossible to say whether or not it is safe to take. There have been some reports of forskolin-induced adverse reactions. These are some examples:

  • Patients may experience flushing, rapid heartbeats, and low blood pressure when administered through an IV.
  • It can cause upper respiratory tract irritation, coughing, tremors, and restlessness when inhaled.
  • Stung eyes and enlargement of the blood vessels in the eyes are two symptoms of glaucoma.
  • Headache

Note: Forskolin should not be taken by people taking blood thinners or antiplatelet medications. In addition, certain high blood pressure medications, such as the following, may interact with Forskolin:

  • Beta-blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Clonidine 
  • Hydralazine

If you take any of these medications, you should avoid taking Forskolin.

And if you have polycystic kidney disease, you should avoid taking Forskolin and other herbal supplements. Forskolin is not known to be safe in pregnant or nursing women, so they should avoid taking it during these times.

Before taking Forskolin or any other dietary supplement, consult with a healthcare provider to learn about any potential risks.


Forskolin is not a weight-loss miracle drug, and it is not a substitute for a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Not everyone fits to take this supplement, hence check with your doctor your BMI, body composition, and more.

If a person does not lose weight despite following a healthy, low-calorie diet and an exercise program, look for advice diagnosis or treatment from healthcare professionals.

While a medical professional may be able to give advice diagnosis or treatment plans to aid in weight loss, Forskolin is unlikely to be one of them. It’s not yet being considered for weight management.


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