Most people will fail conventional weight loss methods and some of those who do turn to dietary supplements and herbal medicines for help. One of these alternative remedies is forskolin extract. This article will dig deeper into forskolin and the science behind its relationship to weight loss.
What Is Forskolin Extract?
Forskolin extract comes from the roots of the Indian coleus, a plant in the mint family. It has an extensive history of usage in traditional Ayurvedic and herbal medicines.1
What is Forskolin Used for?
Forskolin extract has been used for a variety of medical and health applications. The extract has a long historical use as a treatment for asthma symptoms, which some research supports. Forskolin may work to boost levels of cyclic AMP, which helps to relax muscles in bronchial tubes to ease breathing. Forskolin may also help to relieve pressure in the eyes, which can help to reduce symptoms of glaucoma. The extract has also been studied for its potential to support heart health, particularly in patients with cardiomyopathy (an enlarged heart).2
1. Respiratory Health
2. Eye Health
3. Heart Health
Forskolin Supplements Review for Weight Loss
Some studies suggest that forskolin stimulates the release of stored fat from fat cells.3
1. Suppress appetite
2. Reducing efficiency of digestion
3. Increase metabolic rate or fat burning
Although there has yet to be substantial evidence that forskolin can do the aforementioned things, two small studies have shown that forskolin may promote fat loss
The largest study has 30 overweight and obese men, who were then randomly assigned to two groups:
- Forskolin group: 15 men were given with 250 mg of Coleus forskohlii extract (10% forskolin) twice a day for 12 weeks.
- Placebo group: 15 men took the same amount of the placebo pills (without forskolin).
Compared to the placebo group, men who took forskolin lost significantly more fat, but total body weight did not change
Additionally, there was a significant increase in free testosterone in the forskolin group. Testosterone can stimulate the release of fat from fat cells, which may partly explain the fat loss observed in the study
Forskolin As Appetite Suppressant
The exact mechanisms of forskolin’s potential to reduce weight still require further study, but the extract may work as an effective appetite suppressant.
In the other study, 23 overweight women received the same dose of Coleus forskohlii (500 mg/day) for 12 weeks.
In contrast to the previous study, forskolin supplementation did not have any significant effects on fat loss. However, the results showed a significant decrease in feelings of fullness for the forskolin extract group from week 0 to week 12. The results also showed less enjoyment in eating over time, suggesting less total food consumed. No adverse effects were reported. This suggests that forskolin may help to mitigate weight gain among overweight women.4
All that being said, the current evidence is not strong enough to make any recommendations. More research is needed.
Conclusion: Does Forskolin Work for Weight Loss?
Theoretically, forskolin aids in weight loss by helping create enzymes called lipase and adenylate cyclase. These two enzymes free fatty acids from the body’s cells. When the fatty acids are free, they can be burned as fuel. However, a person must burn more calories than they take in through food and drink. If this fails to happen, a person will not lose weight.
While forskolin may raise fat burning capabilities, this is irrelevant without a nutritious diet and exercise to support the calorie deficit.
Forskolin Fat Loss Diet
If you want to lose weight safely, it is recommended to improve your diet (making sure you’re eating lean protein, whole grains, veggies, and fruit) and work out at least 2 1/2 hours each week. It's also important to regularly get a good night’s sleep, work to reduce your stress levels, and make sure none of the medication you’re currently taking can lead to weight gain.
You may want to consider supplementing with DrFormulas® Saffron Extract or incorporating saffron into your teas or meals.