What Are The Health Benefits Of Forskolin?

Many individuals have been raving about a new ingredient called Forskolin. It has even become popular as a shark tank forskolin supplement. However, it is important to ensure you receive a safe and effective daily dosage of this dietary supplement if you want to work in your favor. In our article, we will discuss a few health benefits when using forskolin in different forms.

What Is Forskolin?

Forskolin is a chemical extract that is derived from the root of a plant called Coleus forskohlii. This plant can be found in India, Nepal, and Thailand. Traditionally, it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine (1), the world's oldest medical system.

Forskolin has been used for many years to treat heart disorders, high blood pressure (hypertension), chest pains, and asthma. Fortunately, more and more uses have been found over the years when taken orally. It can however also be inhaled or received intravenously.

Forskolin is an extract derived from the root of a plant called Coleus forskohlii. It grows in areas like India and Thailand. It has been used for many years to help treat heart problems and asthma. There are many more uses thereof that have been discovered over the years.

What Effect Does It Have On The Body?

When forskolin is used, the primary result is an activation of the enzyme adenylate cyclase, which in turn increases cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate (cAMP) (2). Cyclic AMP is an intracellular (inside the cell) "second messenger" to many neurotransmitters and hormones. Other functions of cAMP include activating many other important enzymes in the body. Plainly said, cAMP is important for the communication between cells as well as the feedback control of hormones.

So, why does cAMP need to be increased? Well, an increase in cAMP results in many physiological and biological effects (3), such as:

  • Inhibiting platelet activation - This may decrease the possibility of blood clots.
  • Increasing the force of contraction by the heart.
  • Help with the relaxation of the arteries and other smooth muscles.
  • Help to reduce the release of histamine - This may decrease symptoms associated with allergies.
  • Help to increase thyroid function.
  • Help to increase lipolysis - The breakdown of fat to release fatty acids.
  • The ability to reduce inflammation.
The use of this ingredient is based on the fact that it can increase adenylate cyclase, which stimulates cAMP. An increase in cAMP is beneficial as it helps with the communication between cells and it leads to many health benefits such as reducing inflammation, inhibiting platelet activation, and increasing lipolysis.
Photo of Eye

1. Glaucoma Relief

Glaucoma is high pressure in the eyeball and it can lead to blindness. It is characterized by a high amount of aqueous humor that nourishes the eye and keeps it clean. This clear fluid may build up inside the eye due to clogged drainage channels. The use of eye drops can help to slow the production of this fluid.

Studies (4) have shown that the use of a sterile fluid extract of forskolin, directly applied to the eye, can lower this pressure. These studies have also shown that the use of a one percent coleus extract eye drop solution has resulted in a decrease of intraocular pressure for at least five hours.

The direct application of the entire plant extract to the eye has not been studied and it is not advised. It is best to first consult a doctor before the application of this extract.

A few studies have provided results where the use of a sterile fluid extract of the plant's root can help to reduce pressure in the eyeball caused by glaucoma. Still, it is best to consult your doctor before the use thereof.

2. Cardiovascular Issues

There are many different cardiovascular issues present including cardiomyopathy, hypertension, and congestive heart failure. Due to the fact that forskolin works on the muscles in the heart as well as the walls of the blood vessels, it is seen as beneficial for these issues mentioned above. Also, it produces an increase in the force of heart muscle contractions and helps to widen blood vessels which result in a lower blood pressure.

By providing this ingredient intravenously, it showed improvement in the function of the heart in individuals that have cardiomyopathy. These positive effective were seen in a very small study (5) - thus it is best to take these results with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, Coleus forskohlii has been used for many years to treat these cardiovascular issues and it seems to be very beneficial.

Coleus forskohlii has been used to treat various cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, cardiomyopathy, and heart failure. This is because the ingredient helps to lower blood pressure and relaxing the arteries, whilst promoting a stronger heartbeat. Only a few small studies have positively proven these claims. Thus, more research is needed to ensure safety and effectiveness for improving cardiovascular issues.

3. Forskolin For Weight Loss

The use of forskolin as a dietary supplement for weight loss has probably been mentioned the most recently. This is because individuals claim it can:

Photo of Woman Holding her Pants
  • Burn stored fat
  • Reduce body fat
  • Build lean muscle
  • Increase thermogenesis
  • Boost metabolism
  • Suppress appetite

All these claims are based on the fact that increased cAMP levels trigger many functions in the body that help induce the claims mentioned above. The main idea is that it can stimulate the breaking down of fat in fat cells, which can favorably alter body composition.

There is some scientific evidence is available to back these claims and forskolin reviews on weight loss present mixed feelings (6). Some say it is very beneficial and effective, whilst others say that it only loosens stool and makes you go easier to the bathroom. This has however not prevented people to fully promote the use thereof, as with the new shark tank forskolin supplement. Nonetheless, there are very few human studies done that can provide a strong positive connection between the use of this plant extract and weight loss.

A small amount of studies mention that an increase in cAMP may burn stored fat, reduce body fat, build lean muscle, increase thermogenesis, boost metabolism, and suppress the appetite. Unfortunately, there is not enough scientific evidence to back this. Still, individuals claim it will help with weight loss such as those using the shark tank forskolin supplements.

4. Skin Conditions Such As Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition where the skin cells' life cycle is so fast that it causes a buildup of cells on the surface of the skin. These extra skin cells result in a scale red patches that form a rash. The best way to treat this condition it to slow down the skin cell growth and promote a longer life cycle for these cells (7). The coleus herb has been used for many years to try help treat this condition.

It is based on the fact that psoriasis is characterized by a decrease in cAMP levels which increases cell division resulting in an increased amount of skin cells. As mentioned many times in this article, forskolin helps to increase levels of cAMP. As a result, it should help to normalize the cAMP levels. Unfortunately, after all these years there are still so few clinical trials to back this theory of treating psoriasis. The extract should be taken orally and not applied to the skin.

For many years, individuals claim that an oral intake of the plant extract has been used to help treat skin conditions such as psoriasis. It works on the theory that there is a decrease in cAMP and the use of this plant extract can help to normalize these levels and prevent this rapid skin cell turnover. Unfortunately, the evidence therefore is very little and a lot more clinical studies and scientific research needs to be done.

5. Allergies and Asthma

man wiping mouse with tissue paper

Inhaling forskolin has been an old remedy for treating asthma. Similar to commercial asthma drugs, this plant extract helps to boost levels of cAMP (8). Also, as mentioned before, it can help relax the smooth muscle. Thus, the bronchial tubes relax, making it easier to breathe. It works in the same way for various types of allergies where there is a need in an increase of cAMP. There are a few small studies that back these claims.

Like commercial asthma and allergy drugs, this plant extract has similar effects - it can also help increase low cAMP levels. Additionally, it helps to relax smooth muscles such as the bronchial tubes allowing one to breathe more easily. A few studies back these claims.

6. Other Claimed Benefits

Due to the fact that forskolin increases cAMP levels, there have been many ideas in the use of this ingredient for the treatment and prevention of numerous issues. These include:

  • Libido and erectile dysfunction (9)
  • Cancer
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Immune enhancer
  • Depression
  • Urinary tract infections (10)

Each of these problems mentioned above are backed by few clinical studies or only the idea that it may work. As a result, if you wish to use this extract for the treatment or prevention of these problems mentioned above, it is best to first get medical advice.

Due to the ability of forskolin to help increase levels of cAMP, it has been speculated to help with various health related problems, however, there is a definite lack of evidence.

Are There Any Possible Side Effects?

Doctor Checking Blood Pressure

The side effects documented with the use of this substance has provided very mild results. When looking at the use during weight loss, many people have experienced loose stool. Inhaling coleus can cause irritation in the throat, as well as coughing. When applied to the eyes as an eye drop solution for glaucoma, there may be a slight stinging sensation. Other than these few issues, no serious adverse effects have been heard of. It is however important that pregnant or breastfeeding women and persons with low blood pressure should first consult their healthcare professional before using this extract.

The side effects found with the use of this plant extract are not very serious. Mild issues have been documented, such as loose stool. Pregnant or lactating women as well as individuals with low blood pressure should consult a doctor before the use thereof.

Final Summary of The Health Benefits of Forskolin

What started out as an Ayurvedic medicine many years ago for the treatment of high blood pressure, chest pains, and asthma, has now become one of the most sought after ingredients that claim to be beneficial for many different health problems.

The forskolin extract, derived from the coleus forskohlii plant, found in India, Nepal, and Thailand has been seen in many forskolin reviews and also as a shark tank forskolin supplement.

In this article, we discussed the many benefits this substance can provide. It has mainly been used for the treatment and relief of glaucoma as a liquid eye drop solution, cardiovascular diseases as an intravenous solution, weight loss in the form of a dietary supplement, and for asthma as an inhaled solution thereof. Clinical studies and research is available for these health benefits, with more studies which are currently being conducted.

There have been claims that forskolin can be used to treat issues like erectile dysfunction, depression, cancer, and urinary tract infections, however more research is needed.

Still, the idea that this ingredient could promote weight loss due to the breakdown of fat cells and the possibility that it could reduce high blood pressure does seem very beneficial. Moreover, the idea that it has been used for so many years and that individuals claim it is effective may prompt researchers to do more clinical trials and study this coleus forskohlii plant extract in more detail.

In conclusion, even though there is a lack of evidence supporting the effectiveness of this extract, your idea or perception thereof may be otherwise. Still, it is best to consult your healthcare professional before the use of this ingredient, even though the side effects are minimal.

Brought to you by our expert team at Authority Health.

Sabrina is a gem in the world of nutrition and health. She is our go-to resource for articles about healthy eating, balanced diet and the science behind food. She obtained her degree from the Rutgers School of Nursing in New Brunswick before qualifying as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). However, nursing didn’t fulfill her completely and so her journey with nutrition and health began. Her philosophy is simple - ‘prevention is the cure’ and she strongly advocates that food is medicine.

Sabrina eats only organic food and hopes that one day, she will have her own organic garden because she feels the benefits are untold.

She has made it her life's purpose to teach others about creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and has just set-up her own private practice. She is currently working to build her own website for online advice and guidance. She has a lot to say.

Her other passions include biking, Zumba and exploring the great outdoors with her partner, John.