What is Forskolin?
Forskolin, also known as Coleonol is a chemical compound extracted from a plant native to India and had long been used in Ayurvedic medicine for treatment of skin disorders and respiratory issues. However, recently it has been studied for possible effects on cardiac function, lung function, glaucoma and also for weight loss.
Where Does Forskolin Come From?
Forskolin is extracted from the Plectranthus Barbatus plant, also known as Coleus Forskohlii. Parts of the plant can also be made into a herbal tea which has been shown to possess some antioxidant and antibacterial activity.
As previously mentioned, the herbal tea derived from the plant has been shown to possess antioxidant activity as well as inhibition of bacteria which can cause dental caries. In addition, one animal study was able to show that it also has the ability to inhibit acetylcholinesterase, which may perhaps benefit those suffering from Alzheimer’s. Perhaps the most important benefit of Forskolin is its ability increase body levels of cyclic AMP or cAMP. cAMP is a molecule which helps to activate PKA or protein kinase A, an enzyme which has an extremely large range of biological functions in the body including control of glucose, protein and lipid metabolism, vasodilation and activating our reward system. As such, Forskolin has been implicated to help with reductions in blood pressure, to help treat glaucoma and perhaps even to help with colon cancer treatment.
Forskolin Benefits for Bodybuilding
Perhaps the most interesting benefit of Forskolin for bodybuilders and for the average population is its potential to aid in fat loss. Because increases in PKA are also able to affect fat metabolism, there have been a few studies examining the potential for Forskolin to be used as a fat loss ingredient. Earlier animal studies have indeed shown that Forskolin was able to increase cAMP levels and as such was able to increase the level of fat burning. Human studies have been inconclusive however with some studies unable to show any changes in body composition to loss in body fat percentage and body fat mass in another study. In another study, Forskolin supplementation was able to help overweight participants to maintain their weight with no other significant changes.
Forskolin Negatives & Side Effects
While there aren’t any significant side effects from Forskolin use, due to its potential at lowering blood pressure, one should avoid combining it with blood pressure lowering medications or Nitrate based medications as this could potentiate or increase the effects of the medications. This in turn could cause unwanted side effects such as dizziness and even fainting.
Forskolin Recommended Doses & Ingredient Timing
Unfortunately, not enough studies have been conducted to conclusively recommend a dosing protocol for the use of Forskolin for weight loss. However, the studies that have shown positive benefits have used 250mg of a 10% extract to be consumed twice a day.
You can generally find forskolin as an ingredient in many fat loss supplements, however, you can also find forskolin capsules on its own.
One can stack forskolin with most supplements however, it may be more beneficial to stack it with another fat loss supplement such as a fat metaboliser or a fat loss protein for best effects.
1. Porfírio S, Falé PL, Madeira PJA, Florêncio MH, Ascensão L, Serralheiro MLM. Antiacetylcholinesterase and antioxidant activities of Plectranthus barbatus tea, after in vitro gastrointestinal metabolism. Food Chem. 2010; 122: 179-87.
2. Neusa L. Figueiredo a, Sara Raquel M.M. de Aguiar a, Pedro Luis Falé, Lia Ascensão, Maria Luisa M. Serralheiro, Ana Rosa L. Lino. The inhibitory effect of Plectranthus barbatus and Plectranthus ecklonii leaves on the viability, glucosyltransferase activity and biofilm formation of Streptococcus sobrinus and Streptococcus mutans. Food Chemistry 119 (2010) 664–668.
3. Falé, P.L., Madeira, P.J., Florêncio, M.H., Ascensão, L., Serralheiro, M.L., Function of Plectranthus barbatus herbal tea as neuronal acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Food Funct. 2011, 2, 130-136.
4. Ammon HP, Muller AB: Forskolin: from an ayurvedic remedy to a modern agent. Planta Med 1985, (6):473-7.
5. Ammon HP, Muller AB: Effect of forskolin on islet cyclic AMP, insulin secretion, blood glucose and intravenous glucose tolerance in rats. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol 1984, 326(4):364-7.
6. de Souza NJ, Dohadwalla AN, Reden J: Forskolin: a labdane diterpenoid with antihypertensive, positive inotropic, platelet aggregation inhibitory, and adenylate cyclase activating properties. Med Res Rev 1983, 3(2):201-19.
7. Litosch I, Hudson TH, Mills I, Li SY, Fain JN: Forskolin as an activator of cyclic AMP accumulation and lipolysis in rat adipocytes. Mol Pharmacol 1982, 22(1):109-15.
8. Litosch I, Saito Y, Fain JN: Forskolin as an activator of cyclic AMP accumulation and secretion in blowfly salivary glands. Biochem J 1982, 204(1):147-51.
9. Henderson S, Magu B, Rasmussen C, Lancaster S, Kerksick C, Smith P, Melton C, Cowan P, Greenwood M, Earnest C, Almada A, Milnor P, Magrans T, Bowden R, Ounpraseuth S, Thomas A, Kreider RB: Effects of coleus forskohlii supplementation on body composition and hematological profiles in mildly overweight women. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2005, 2:54-62.
10. Godard MP, Johnson BA, Richmond SR: Body composition and hormonal adaptations associated with forskolin consumption in overweight and obese men. Obes Res 2005, 13(8):1335-43.
11. Kreider RB, Henderson S, Magu B, Rasmussen C, Lancaster S, Kerksick C, Smith P, Melton C, Cowan P, Greenwood M, Earnest C, Almada A, Milnor P: Effects of coleus forskohlii supplementation on body composition and markers of health in sedentary overweight females. FASEB J 2002, LB59.