Forskolin Benefits: Is It Good For Weight Loss? (Overview, Uses, and Side Effects)

Taking Forskolin supplements is an easy and evidence-backed way to lose weight.

Up to 75% of people fail to lose weight via conventional calorie control methods. Forskolin is a natural substance shown to improve weight loss outcomes in those taking it regularly.

Evidence shows that forskolin may positively affect many cell-based processes in the body, which explains why it is the focus of recent supplement study-based research.

Aside from being a proven weight loss aid, forskolin also happens to have various other health benefits, making it a beneficial addition to your supplement regime.

Read on to learn precisely how it can help you improve your wellness today.


What is Forskolin (Coleus forskohlii)?

Forskolin, otherwise known as Coleus Forskohlii, is a particular type of compound found in the roots of a plant native to India, which is part of the mint family.

Coleus Forskohlii has a long history of traditional medicinal usage, and it has been used as a herbal remedy for several different health conditions.

Nowadays, we have the science to prove its beneficial properties and its ability to improve our health.

While forskolin supplementation is still used frequently in traditional Indian ayurvedic medicine, it is now also recommended within the world of weight management.

One of the most popular claims surrounding forskolin is its capacity to stimulate weight loss. But it may also help you if you have another health condition, as we explore below.

How Does Forskolin Work?

Forskolin is used for everything from asthma to osteoporosis.

Many people use forskolin to improve weight loss outcomes, as weight loss is tough to achieve and the long-term efficacy of traditional protocols such as increased exercise is limited.

Luckily, it does appear to encourage weight loss via a range of mechanisms.

A weight loss supplement containing forskolin may affect the rate at which stored fat is released from cells in our body, likely via the activation of a critical enzyme involved in fat cell regulation (1).

This means the effect of forskolin can be enhanced when combined with other ingredients found in a weight loss supplement, significantly if they reduce appetite, or increase energy expenditure, as forskolin’s benefits are improved in the presence of a calorie deficit diet.

Forskolin supplementation may also increase weight loss by reducing body fat cells without depleting muscle mass.

This is positive because a greater muscle mass can increase our metabolic rate and promote weight loss through more significant energy expenditure while at rest (2).

While many of the studies looking at the effects of forskolin supplements in the context of weight loss are conducted on animals, initial evidence does appear to demonstrate that the coleus plant does offer use some beneficial effect against increased weight gain and body fat.

What Are The Health Benefits of Forskolin?

Here we will explore exactly how taking a forskolin supplement may enhance our body composition and improve our general health.

Studies show that forskolin:

Promotes Weight Loss

Human studies have shown that Coleus forskolin extract can reduce weight in groups of overweight women and men.

These studies are very well conducted and are randomized control trials – the gold standard for scientific research.

This means we can trust the evidence, in this instance, that obese men lost much more fat when they took forskolin supplements compared to a placebo group.

The weight loss results do not just pertain to men; another study on overweight women found that forskolin may be protective against weight gain in the first place (3).

Another study noticed blood lipids also improved, providing additional wellness benefits and the increased fat breakdown from cells.

These studies concluded that forskolin could improve body composition and reduce the risk of excessive weight gain, making it an appealing preventive treatment for those people worried about weight loss.

Evidence suggests that one of the ways forskolin works in weight loss supplements is to increase cyclic AMP levels (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) via stimulating the enzyme adenylate cyclase.

Studies show that Cyclic AMP may be a compound that can affect fatty acid breakdown, and therefore increased camp levels can reduce fat stores in the body cells.

Ideally, aim to find a weight loss supplement that also triggers a reduction in appetite as this may increase the effects on body mass.

While women can definitely benefit, the most considerable improvements came for overweight and obese men, likely due to alterations in testosterone levels (4).

Stimulates Testosterone Formation

Coleus forskohlii may support effective testosterone formation, which is helpful, as many men suffer from a natural decline in testosterone levels as they age.

Increasing testosterone can also improve muscle mass – which is needed to support lean body mass and healthy metabolism.

Studies have shown forskolin may lead to an impressive 33.7% increase in testosterone scores, which has a number of health benefits for aging men, not least promoting a reduction in potentially harmful belly fat (5)

Treats Symptoms of Glaucoma

Evidence shows that Indian coleus products can support people suffering from the unpleasant condition of glaucoma, which is associated with increased and potentially harmful eye pressure.

Eye drops featuring coleus forskohlii extract have been used in studies as a treatment for people with glaucoma.

One study showed that products from the forskolin group reduced symptoms of glaucoma, which may provide an alternative treatment option for people with asthma, as the traditional beta-blockers therapy given to glaucoma patients can worsen asthma attacks (6).

Considering that glaucoma is the leading cause of worldwide blindness, an effective and safe natural treatment option is very desirable.

Helpfully, the use of forskolin effectively reduces the eye pressure associated with glaucoma.

Helps to relieve asthma

Oral forskolin supplements have shown to be more effective than conventional asthma treatments.

This conclusion comes from two studies that looked at the effects of forskolin on the frequency of asthma attacks in patients suffering from regular and ongoing asthma (7).

Forskolin supplements may reduce the incidence of acute asthma attacks by relaxing the airways and promoting improved airflow to the cells of the lungs.

Relaxed air passages are an excellent method to reduce asthma severity, and therefore, forskolin may be worth considering for those regularly suffering from unpleasant conditions.

Weight loss is a crucial strategy to support asthma-related conditions.

A natural and safe alternative to asthma medications is also desirable, especially as there are many side effects associated with traditional asthma treatments prescribed on the advice of a doctor.

Reduces High Blood Pressure

Pills containing the Indian coleus plant can also reduce high blood pressure.

This is very helpful for patients with blood pressure in an unhealthy range, as the risks of elevated blood pressure can include stroke and heart disease (8).

Forskolin appears to reduce blood pressure in at-risk individuals by helping to relax blood vessels and promote a smoother blood flow (9).

It is important to point out that these benefits are mainly linked to people already suffering from hypertension.

In people with low blood pressure or on medications to reduce blood pressure, a doctor may not recommend forskolin supplements as they can potentially make your blood pressure too low.

So do get appropriate advice and check for any drug interactions which might affect you before taking products from the forskolin group.

Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

A supplement containing forskolin may be able to reduce high blood sugars by improving insulin activity (10).

Of course, we need to choose foods that will not raise our glucose levels and benefit from combining fats with carbs to reduce insulin.

Unfortunately, many people use medicine to manage their insulin resistance.

When science shows it is possible to experience a reversal of pre-diabetes, we choose the right foods and supplements that function as glucose or insulin regulators.

In animal studies, blood sugar levels decreased in rats given a supplement containing Indian coleus. Improvements in blood sugar levels can benefit fat loss and body weight as metabolic wellbeing is enhanced.

The doses required for the forskolin mechanism to work are modest, making it easy to benefit from the potential of this natural supplement.

In addition to fat loss, lowered blood sugars also reduce the risk of harmful chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, which can damage each cell in our body.

One way that forskolin products may improve blood sugar is by blocking proteins involved in glucose transport, which correspondingly can reduce the risk of diabetes-related retinopathy (eye damage), which is caused by excess circulating glucose.

Lowers The Risk of Osteoporosis

Forskolin appears to reduce the risk of osteoporosis by increasing bone mineral density.

When we age, we are naturally vulnerable to reduced bone mineral density, which is exacerbated for women undergoing menopause.

Forskolin seems to be able to upregulate the minerals involved in bone density, such as calcium and vitamin D.

Additionally, by improving testosterone production and promoting weight loss, it can indirectly reduce the chance of osteoporosis.

Lack of muscle mass and being overweight are two factors that are negatively associated with poor bone mineral density and increased fracture risk.

How To Take Forskolin

There is no set dose of forskolin, and most supplements contain amounts ranging from 300-500 mg.

It is essential not to exceed the dosage instructions on your particular supplement, as each product may have different concentrations or forms of forskolin.

General advice is that you should only choose a high-quality supplement and tested for purity and authenticity.

Available Forms

You can choose from several different forms of forskolin, depending on what suits your lifestyle.

You can find a range of weight loss supplements that contain forskolin amongst other beneficial ingredients.

Also, you can take forskolin independently either as forskolin powder, coleus forskohlii extract, or tablets made from the root of the forskolin-containing plant.

How Long Does It Take For Forskolin To Work?

As for when to take forskolin, the choice is yours. Bear in mind that it can be easier to digest health supplements such as forskolin if you take them close to food.

If you are taking weight loss supplements with stimulating ingredients such as caffeine, try to avoid taking them at night as they can interfere with sleep.

When used in clinical trials, forskolin appears to show results for weight loss in around 12 weeks.

For the best weight loss effects, aim to reduce your energy intake so that you are operating at a mild calorie deficit, as this can increase the benefits of forskolin.

What Are The Side Effects of Forskolin?

Forskolin is used in many health products, including several weight loss supplements. Side effects are rare for most people taking forskolin-containing products, as they have been quite rigorously tested for their safety profile.

One of the main areas of potential concern is those with already low blood pressure or treatment for other health issues, including those taking blood thinners.

Rare side effects can include fatigue and respiratory tract irritation, so it is vital to keep an eye out for such issues.

Overall, forskolin has a good safety profile when used alongside a healthy diet and plenty of exercises, and many people report having incredible experiences with products using forskolin.

The Takeaway

People use forskolin for several different results – as a way to reduce intraocular pressure associated with damage to the eyes, to help reduce the root cause of weight gain, and to experience an overall increase in wellness.

It is clear from obesity research that a modest dosage of forskolin extracts may help to improve metabolic response and build muscles.

In conjunction with a good diet, it provides excellent weight loss benefits and a reduction in fat mass via the regulation of fatty acids.

Science has shown that forskolin also can help processes involved in asthma and improve the level of our bone mass. The Baylor University study’s main advice is to ensure that we take safe doses and avoid unfavorable drug interactions.

The effectiveness of using a quality forskolin extract makes it a great natural, drug-free medicine for daily use, whatever your unique health goal.


Is forskolin a stimulant?

Whist Forksolinn can stimulate certain physiological reactions in the body.

For example, it can stimulate gastric acid secretion – it does not act as a mental stimulant in the way that other fat burners such as caffeine do.

Note that if you are taking forskolin as part of a weight-loss supplement, other stimulant ingredients are included, such as green tea extract, so do check the label before consuming.

Can you take Forskolin together with Garcinia Cambogia?

Yes. Effective fat-burning supplements combine both forskolin and garcinia cambogia to achieve better and faster weight loss results.

This is because while forskolin promotes the breakdown of fatty acids, garcinia suppresses appetite, making it easier to reach the calorie deficit required for weight loss.

How does forskolin increase cAMP?

Forskolin works by activating a special enzyme known as adenylate cyclase, and this enzyme is responsible for increasing the levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP).

Does forskolin affect the liver?

When forskolin activates adenylate cyclase and levels of cAMP increase, then the rate of lipolysis, fatty acid break down does too.

This may lead to increased fatty acid availability in the liver, which can trigger enhanced triglyceride synthesis, a potential cause of fatty liver.

This is only likely to occur when excessive amounts of forskolin are consumed.

So as long as you are sticking to the recommended doses on your product description, you should be unaffected by this issue.