Last updated on July 20th, 2021 at 04:46 pm
Overweight and obesity are serious health concerns in different parts of the world. In the US, the CDC reports that over two-thirds of the adult population is obese or overweight. What’s worse is that excess weight increases the risk of other more severe medical issues like diabetes and cardiovascular conditions.
Luckily, there are many ways of dealing with overweight problems. Conventional methods like dieting and working out are relatively popular. Sadly, data shows that only about 15% of the people who use these methods manage to lose weight.
In most cases, people have to use dietary supplements and other alternatives to see results. As you can expect, this has increased the value of the weight loss industry significantly.
Forskolin is one of the many supplements available on the market. The product is marketed as a powerful natural weight loss solution that delivers the desired results quickly. Is that true, though? Let’s find out.
What is Forskolin?
Forskolin is the active compound present in a plant called Coleus Forskohlii. It is extracted from the roots of this plant which belongs to the mint family.
Coleus forskohlii is natively found in Nepal, India, Thailand, and other parts of Southeast Asia. The plant extract has been used by the locals in these areas for a very long time.
However, it didn’t gain popularity in the west until early 2014, when it was featured in the Dr. Oz show. Since then, many coleus forskohlii products have emerged promising to deliver dramatic weight loss results within a short period and with less effort.
Are there any trials supporting the purported benefits, though? A few studies show that, indeed, some of the claimed Forskolin benefits are true. Several scientists have also tried to explain how exactly the compound works to boost weight loss.
How Forskolin Works
According to researchers, Forskolin promotes the activities of enzymes adenylate cyclase and lipase. These are involved in several processes that increase fat breakdown in the body.
For instance, adenylate cyclase synthesizes cyclic AMP or cAMP, which regulates physiological processes like lipid metabolism.
Lipase, on the other hand, promotes the hydrolysis of fats.
Studies show that these processes increase the breakdown of fatty acids for energy. Therefore, they should theoretically support weight loss.
Sadly, there is one key aspect of weight loss that Forskolii does not address. You see, for you to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you are taking. Coleus forskohlii may help you break down calories, but it does nothing to reduce your calorie intake.
That would explain why some forskolin weight loss supplements do not rely on this ingredient alone. They use additional compounds for appetite suppression to reduce calorie intake.
The other challenge with Forskolin is the limited number of clinical trials. So far, only two randomized control human trials have been done.
In one of the trials, 30 overweight and obese men were split into two groups. One group was given 250mg of coleus forskohlii containing 10% forskolin twice per day. The placebo group did not receive any forskolin. The study ran for 12 weeks.
At the end of the study, the men given coleus forskohlii lost more fat than the placebo. However, there were no significant changes in total body weight.
Another interesting observation from the study was an increase in testosterone levels. This might actually explain why the men lost weight. That’s because the hormone creates an anabolic atmosphere that triggers fat breakdown while preserving lean mass.
The second study involved overweight women who received a similar dosage. However, there was no significant difference in weight loss. The noteworthy observation was that the compound prevented weight gain.
This could mean that coleus forskohlii might be more effective as a weight-loss supplement due to its ability to boost testosterone. This would explain why it helped the men lose weight, yet the same results were not observed in women. Sadly, there is no way to know with absolute certainty until more clinical trials are done.
Besides weight loss, Forskolin is also said to be beneficial for:
- Erectile dysfunction – This is due to the testosterone boosting abilities observed in trials involving male subjects
- Increasing bone mineral density
- Relieving menstrual cramps in women
Is Forskolin Safe?
The use of forskolin has not been linked to any severe medical complications. In both of the clinical trials highlighted above, the subjects did not report any severe adverse reactions. However, these trials used coleus forskohlii alone.
In contrast, most of the coleus forskohlii supplements present on the market today are filled with other ingredients. For instance, you could get the compound mixed with glucomannan, stimulants, and other appetite-suppressing compounds.
While the said ingredients help reduce calorie intake to promote weight loss, they also pose several risks. For example, the consumption of stimulants can lead to headaches, irritability, and restlessness.
Cases of contamination are also not that rare. Some users have reported poisoning, which was traced back to the contaminated forskolin supplements they used.
Therefore, coleus forskohlii may not be dangerous, but you must be very careful about which supplement you are using. Read the label and make sure there are no potentially harmful ingredients in there. Also, check the manufacturers if they conduct any purity and potency tests on their products.
Do not use Forskolin supplements without consulting a physician if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions should also consult a physician before taking products containing this compound.
In the above studies, scientists used 250mg twice per day. This dosage was well-tolerated even though it didn’t produce the most dramatic of results.
Where to buy Forskolin?
Coleus Forskohlii supplements are available in many online stores. Even big retailers like Amazon stock some of these products.
Since it’s a natural formula, you won’t need any physician prescription to use Forskolin supplements. However, it’s advisable to buy and use the highest-quality supplements you can find. The formula should be pure and free from any compounds that may stimulate adverse reactions.
Here are a few user reviews based on some of the forskolin supplements available on the market:
“This product I have been taking for some time now and add the Garcinia Cambodia to it and the weight keeps coming off like crazy. My appetite is suppressed, and I can just tell my metabolism has sped up. Thanks so much for making a great line of products.” Michael Gardner on Amazon
“My son and I started a carb restrictive diet, and we also cut out processed foods and added sugars. Along with this, we ordered these pills. It has been over two weeks, going on three, and I have lost 20 pounds, and my son has lost 35. We are not hungry, and if you know about us at all, we are always hungry. We get to eat real food like steaks and eggs, bacon, peanut butter. These pills, along with the diet, have simply been amazing.” By Scott Hansen on Amazon
“I only lost 3 lbs, I followed the instructions, and it did not make much of a difference. A bit dissatisfied. I even exercised and watched my calories.” By Erika on Amazon
Final Thoughts: Does Forskolin work for weight loss?
On its own, forskolin will not give you the insane weight loss results you want. That’s why most of the positive reviews regarding the compound were based on supplements that contained other ingredients. Not coleus forskohlii alone.
Therefore, if you are looking for the absolute best results, you’re better off going for a more proven weight loss supplement. Something that can curb your cravings and enhance your metabolism.