We have all heard about the amazing weight loss properties of Forskolin, but how does it work? Read more on how Forskolin works to help you lose weight, but also about the health benefits of Forskolin.
What Is Forskolin?
Forskolin is the name of an active compound extracted from a plant called Coleus forskohlii, or Plectranthus barbatus. This is a tropical perennial plant that closely resembles mint, and although it originates from Southeast Asia, it can also be found in parts of Africa and South America.
For centuries, Forskolin has been used in the treatment of various diseases and conditions, especially in Ayurveda medicine. People have been taking Coleus forskohlii root extract to treat hypertension, heart health, chest pain, eczema, IBS, digestive issues, erectile dysfunction or allergies.
How Does Forskolin Work?
Forskolin mainly works by increasing adenylate cyclase levels, which in turn enhance levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). The special thing about this supplement is that while neurotransmitters or hormones can also activate adenylate cyclase, Forskolin does this on its own, without any assistance.
cAMP belongs to a group of substances called “second messengers”, which are extremely important cell-regulating compounds that manage vital functions in the body. cAMP also activates other enzymes that have diverse roles in various cellular functions.
When Forskolin increases cellular cAMP levels, you can benefit from a wide array of physiological effects, including prevention of platelet activation that prevents blood clots, reduced allergy symptoms, improved thyroid function, relaxation of smooth muscles and arteries and enhanced fat burning (lipolysis).
Reduced intracellular levels of cyclic AMP can contribute to a number of diseases, including angina, hypertension, obesity, eczema, psoriasis or asthma. This is why Forskolin is not just regarded as a weight loss supplement by some, but rather as a health supplement.
Forskolin for Weight Loss
Studies show that Forskolin triggers lipolysis, which is the breaking down of fat in fat cells.
Scientists from Penn State University have found a below average cAMP production in many obese people. After this information surfaced, scientists concluded that Forskolin might be an efficient weight loss ingredient, especially in those suffering with low cAMP production.
One study appears to confirm this theory. A twice-daily dose of 25mg of Forskolin (250mg Forskolin capsules containing 10% pure Forskolin root extract) was administered to six overweight women for a period of eight weeks. After the trial was over, participants lost an average of ten pounds, and experienced an eight percent body fat reduction. The trial also found lower blood pressure, concluding in that end that “Forskolin may be a safe, useful adjunct to losing weight and maintaining normal body composition.”
Forskolin stimulates the release of stored fat from fat cells, as in the case of the body using fat for energy. One study followed 30 overweight and obese men and divided them into two groups, while giving them a 250mg, 10% Forskolin pill or a placebo for a period of 12 weeks. The study concluded that the Forskolin group lost considerably more fat, even though that the total body weight suffered no modifications.
Forskolin for Cardiovascular Disease
We’ve previously mentioned that Coleus forskohlii extract has been used for hundreds of years to treat angina, hypertension and congestive heart failure. Forskolin works by increasing the contractility of the heart and lowering blood pressure.
Again, this benefit can be attributed to Forskolin’s ability to elevate cAMP, which contracts heart muscles and relaxes arteries. In animal trials, Forskolin has also been shown to revive failing heart tissue.
One study that followed seven patients with a fairly difficult condition to treat: dilated cardiomyopathy. The study found that administering Forskolin can improve overall cardiovascular performance and considerably improve left ventricular function.
Forskolin is also known to increase blood flow in the brain, which shows that this extract may be useful in treating cerebral vascular insufficiency and speeds up post-stroke recovery. Another thing that contributes to its usefulness in cardiovascular disorders is the ability to inhibit platelet aggregation.
Forskolin for Allergies and Asthma
Usually, drugs used in the treatment of allergies and asthma aim to enhance cAMP levels. In most times, these drugs work to inhibit the action of phosphodiesterase, which is an enzyme that breaks down cAMP. Since Forskolin can increase cAMP levels on its own, it can be used alone or along with other drugs that inhibit phosphodiesterase to treat and prevent multiple allergic conditions, including asthma.
Forskolin is effective in relaxing smooth muscles, which creates bronchodilatation. It also reduces upper airway resistance, increases forced expiratory volume and vital capacity, which contribute to a more effective pulmonary function. Forskolin can also reduce spasms in multiple smooth muscles, which help relieve hypertension, angina, intestinal colic and uterine cramps and painful urination.
Also regarding its ability to reduce allergies, Forskolin has been found to reduce the amount of allergens that make their way into the bloodstream when anaphylaxis happens. In scientific terms, Forskolin can reduce vascular permeability and increase the diameter of airways in the lungs, which can be effective in treating asthma and asthma symptoms. In an 8-month study, a daily dose of 10mg of Forskolin was shown to reduce asthma attacks by 45%.
Forskolin Side Effects
Forskolin has mild and infrequent side effects. One of the most common side effects is that Forskolin may cause diarrhea, because the potent cAMP makes muscles contract rapidly, which makes food pass quicker through your digestive system.
If you’re suffering with hypotension, make sure you avoid Forskolin, as it can reduce blood pressure and cause fatigue. Forskolin may interact with blood thinners.