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Forskolin for Weight Loss

Forskolin for Weight Loss


DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Losing weight is an overwhelming task and only 25% of people are able to maintain the lost weight. The rest of people regain weight and need some supplements or natural medicines.[1] Forskolin is one of those supplements obtained from a natural plant and is known to do wonders when comes to weight loss. Various clinical studies are conducted to support the bold claims about the weight loss effects of forskolin. After reading this article, you will get the answer of “do forskolin supplements really work?”

What is Forskolin?

Forskolin is a natural compound extracted from the roots of the Indian Coleus plant known as Coleus forskohlii. [2] It is a plant of the mint family usually grown in Nepal, India, and Thailand. Forskolin has been used for centuries to treat various diseases including asthma, cough, sleep problems, and skin diseases. [3]

Forskolin shot to popularity as a weight loss supplement after admiration from a health care advocate Dr. Oz in a Tv show. This fascinating herb assists in various body processes and can indirectly increase weight loss through relieving inflammation, detoxifying neurotoxin, and calming the stress response.

Is Forskolin Effective for Weight Loss?

Forskolin has long been used as a natural compound to burn fats and lose weight. There are various clinical studies concluding on the weight loss effects of these amazing supplements and some of them showed mixed results. According to a study, supplementing with forskolin in overweight men resulted in decreased body fat and improved testosterone levels. [4] Another study showed little or no effects on weight loss however, resulted in a reduced weight gain. In this study, obese women consumed 250 mg of forskolin for 12 weeks. Results showed that forskolin supplements didn’t reduce weight but they prevent weight gain without any side effects. [5]

How Does Forskolin Work?

Forskolin supplements have the potential to burn fats, decrease nutrient absorption, improve energy expenditure and suppress appetite which all may work to reduce weight. These supplements work by regulating chemical processes in the body.

  • They can activate cAMP.
  • Forskolin can reduce fat accumulation.
  • They help boost metabolism.
  • Can relieve chronic stress
  1. Forskolin May Activate cAMP

The structure of forskolin resembles glucose and can activate the cyclic adenosine monophosphate. Increased cAMP stimulates metabolism and increases the breakdown of glycogen and fats. It can mobilize glucose and fat reserves providing energy to the body and leading to weight reduction.

  1. Can Reduce Fat Accumulation

Activated cAMP is credited for most of the benefits of forskolin, it may also activate the enzymes which reduce the ability of fat cells to metabolize glucose. Reduced metabolizing activity of fat cells prevents the accumulation of fats and excess glucose is stored in muscles. [6]

  1. Forskolin Speed up Metabolic Process

Forskolin may upgrade cAMP and increase calorie burning, this is because cAMP is involved in various cellular processes in the body. The cAMP up-gradation process encourages the white fat cells to serve as brown fat cells which are then burnt through thermogenesis. [7] This thermogenic effect is similar to that produced during exercise.

Thus, forskolin increases calorie burning and this thermogenesis effect is more when working in the synergism of exercise.

  1. May Relieve Chronic Stress

We all know that chronic stress affects badly our body systems and individuals suffering from chronic stress experience weight loss problems. During stressful situations, cortisol levels increase carbohydrate and fat metabolism. It also stimulates appetite and craving for sweet, salty, and fatty foods. Increased calorie consumption may lead to weight gain.

Forskolin has the potential to reduce cortisol levels and regulate chemical processes in the body. It may relieve stress, and assist in fat burning and weight loss, however, some lifestyle modifications need to adopt to improve the efficacy of forskolin.

  1. Reduce Inflammation and Detoxify Toxins

Our body continuously fights inflammation due to exposure to toxins and environmental factors. Exposure to excessive toxins overloads the filtration systems of the body which leads to inflammation.

Fortunately, forskolin has potent anti-inflammatory properties which can increase anti-inflammatory proteins and reduce pro-inflammatory proteins in cells. [9] It can reduce circulating cortisol, relieve stress and anxiety, alleviate inflammation, and eventually causes weight loss.

What Does Research Say?

Various studies are conducted to investigate the effects of forskolin on fat metabolism. Most of these are lab or animal studies, and human studies on weight loss effects of forskolin are limited.

Studies showed that forskolin stimulates the production of lipase enzymes which move the triglycerides and fatty acids to the body to use for energy. [10] In addition, these supplements increase the breakdown of fats and decrease the size of fat cells.

In spite of all these, the breakdown of fat is not sufficient to increase weight loss, it also requires a calorie deficit. To promote weight loss, calorie expenditure should be greater than calorie intake.[11]

In a study, 30 individuals with obesity and overweight took forskolin supplements and results showed a significant reduction in body fat without losing muscle mass. It also showed an improvement in testosterone levels which can move the fats from adipose tissues and increase muscle mass.[12]

Nonetheless, there should be more research to evaluate the weight loss effects of forskolin in humans.

Other Benefits of Forskolin

Improve Heart Health

High blood pressure is a common condition that affects millions of people in the world and is a leading driver of heart disease. Forskolin can cause cellular changes, dilate blood vessels, lower blood pressure and promote heart health. [13]

Protect Eye Health and Prevent glaucoma

Eye drops with added forskolin reduce eye pressure and protect the eye from glaucoma. According to a study, consumption of forskolin eye drop resulted in a 10% decrease in eye pressure. [14]

Help Treat Asthma

Forskolin has long been used to treat respiratory conditions like cough, bronchitis, and asthma. It helps increase cyclic AMP which relaxes the air passage and relieves the symptoms of asthma. [15]

May Reduce Insulin Resistance

Studies showed that consumption of forskolin supplements helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. In a study, obese and overweight people were given 250mg of forskolin extract for 12 weeks and their metabolic parameters were measured. Results showed that there was a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity. [16]

Possible Risks or Side Effects

Forskolin supplements are usually considered safe and well tolerated, however, some people suffer from gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea.

These supplements can interact with some medications like blood pressure and heart diseases; therefore, it is suggested to consult your health care professionals before taking these supplements.

Pregnant and nursing women should avoid these supplements to minimize the risk of side effects.

Bottom Line

Forskolin is a natural compound obtained from the roots of Coleus forskohlii. It became popular as a weight loss supplement after appreciation from Dr.Oz TV show. Forskolin supplement activates cAMP, speeds up metabolism, and prevents fat accumulation which eventually causes weight loss. More research is needed to examine the weight loss effects of forskolin in humans.

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