One of the herbs used in Ayurveda, coleus forskohlii, has long been used in traditional medicine for its role in boosting testosterone and inducing fat loss, especially in men. But its efficacy backed by science remains unconfirmed as most of the research done on this plant has been in vitro. So, should you supplement forskolin? Check out my FULL forskolin review.
Belonging to the mint family, coleus forskohlii originates from the areas of Nepal, Thailand, and parts of India. Traditionally, the root of this tropical plant was boiled to prepare a healing tea which was used to promote general wellness.
This included using this herb as a treatment for asthma and other respiratory ailments, but now it is now primarily marketed as a weight loss supplement.
The primary bioactive ingredient in coleus forkohlii is known as forskolin. In supplemental form, the product is often only referred to as forskolin as well.
This active ingredient is responsible for boosting cellular levels of a molecule known as cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP).
Higher levels of cAMP in the body are linked to higher fat loss rates and can enhance the response of other compounds that burn fat as well.
cAMP is classified as a “second messenger” and functions as an important cell-regulating compound. From among its various functions, cAMP activates different enzymes needed for a number of cellular functions.
With regards to weight loss, in particular, the coleus forskohlii extract assists weight loss by creating two enzymes called lipase and adenylate cyclase
Lipase is used for catalyzing the hydrolysis of fats while adenylate cyclase synthesizes cAMP. In other words, the stimulation of adenylate cyclase results in the formation of cAMP. 
Together, these two enzymes play a role in freeing fatty acids from the body’s cells. When this happens, the fatty acids can then be burned as fuel.
This effect helps reduce fat in isolation without taking anything away from lean muscle mass. 
Keeping this in mind, on a theoretical level, forskolin does present fat burning capabilities.
However, since the bulk of this research has been limited to test-tube and petri dish experiments or animal studies, and very few with human participants, the results remain mixed with regards to humans.
Effects of cAMP
Both neurotransmitters, as well as hormones, also activate adenylate cyclase. However, forskolin seems to do so by itself.
As such, forskolin has the ability to increase cAMP without any help from hormones and neurotransmitters.
Increased levels of cAMP can have a wide range of biochemical and physiological effects, some of which include the following:
Inhibit platelet activation which results in a lowered possibility of blood clots
Reduce the histamine release which can result in lowering allergy symptoms
Increase the force of contraction of the heart
Relax arteries and various smooth muscles
Increase thyroid function
Increase lipolysis or fat burning
There are quite a few diseases which are identified, in part, by lower levels of cAMP in the body.
With forskolin supplementation, these conditions may be prevented or their risk lowered.
Along with its weight loss benefits, forskolin is known for offering other health perks that range over a broad spectrum.
Its potential to increase intracellular cAMP levels has made it a promising candidate for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and asthma.
Here are some of the most prominent health benefits offered by forskolin extract.
1. Forskolin Helps With Weight Loss
The few human studies done with coleus forskohli extract and pure forskolin supplement present the following results.
In one clinical trial, coleus forskohlii paired with a low-calorie diet prevented weight gain associated with metabolic issues.
Participants who followed a low-calorie diet and took supplementation exhibited lower weight and improved insulin resistance. 
Another study worked with overweight female subjects where forskolin extract did not cause any direct weight loss.
However, it did prevent weight gain in the participants without presenting any of the side effects brought on by other weight loss supplements. 
A third study looked at a reduction in body fat with an increase in testosterone levels and improved bone structure when supplementing with forskolin. 
Some of the claimed forskolin benefits with regards to weight loss include the supplement working as an appetite suppressant, boosting metabolism, inducing thermogenesis, and acting as a carb blocker.
Studies have established that many obese individuals have lower than normal cAMP levels so forskolin may serve well as an effective weight loss agent, especially for those with impaired cAMP production.
2. Forskolin May Lower Diabetes Risk
Some evidence suggests that forskolin could be helpful in treating conditions linked to diabetes.
While one study mentioned earlier shows that forskolin can improve insulin response in humans, another indicates that it can reduce blood sugar levels in rats. 
An earlier proposition was made to use forskolin as a drug for diabetic retinopathy which is a complication of diabetes.
The condition is caused by high sugar levels in the blood which damage eye vessels and trigger blood to leak into the eye-damaging vision. 
It is also considered helpful as it can block two proteins that carry out glucose transport. 
This mechanism can assist with keeping blood sugar levels in check.
3. Forskolin May Improve Glaucoma
Glaucoma is caused by damage to nerves in the eyes and can lead to visual loss.
Associated issues include an increase in intraocular pressure, a loss of peripheral vision, glare, and occasionally pain. It also happens to be one of the primary reasons for blindness in the elderly.
Forskolin and cAMP both impact eye nerve cells.
While forskolin has already been established as effective for treating diabetic retinopathy, cAMP is important for retinal development. 
Some studies show that applying 1% forskolin topically can be beneficial in decreasing intraocular pressure temporarily.
4. Forskolin Resolves Respiratory Issues
Forskolin has a long-standing history of being an asthma treatment. In this condition, airways become swollen and inflamed and forskolin helps in a way similar to certain types of conventional asthma drugs by relaxing the muscles around the bronchial tubes to facilitate breathing.
The mechanism involves boosting levels of cAMP which helps dilate the bronchial tree and help with managing the symptoms of the condition.
The mechanism involves relaxing smooth muscles, decreasing airway resistance, increasing vital capacity, and forced expiratory volume.
Typical drugs to treat asthma and allergies work by increasing cAMP levels and inhibiting the enzyme phosphodiesterase, which breaks down cAMP.
But forskolin can increase cAMP levels by itself.
So, it can be used on its own or be added to phosphodiesterase-inhibiting drugs to prevent and treat asthma.
In one clinical trial, forskolin was compared to sodium cromoglycate for prevention of asthma.
Receiving 10 mg daily for 6 months, participants receiving forskolin treatment exhibited a lower number of asthma attacks than others receiving sodium cromoglycate. 
Another study compared forskolin to beclomethasone for the same effect. Forskolin was administered for 2 months at 10 mg a day.
At the end of the study, patients in the beclomethasone group did not experience any asthma attacks while one participant in the forskolin group experienced one mild asthma attack.
In this regard, more research is needed to see if forskolin can indeed do anything to improve asthma symptoms. 
4. Cardioprotective Benefits Of Forskolin
Another area where cAMP can offer health benefits is in its cardioprotective effects. With increased cAMP levels in the cardiovascular system, the arteries tend to relax.
This is brought on by activating adenylate cyclase in cells which helps relax the arteries and other smooth muscles.
Traditional uses of coleus forskohlii include its use to treat hypertension, congestive heart failure and angina. Its anti-spasmodic properties have a tremendous effect on various smooth muscles in the body with its primary cardiovascular benefit of lowering blood pressure.
At the same time, it can increase the contractibility of the heart.
Forskolin can also increase cerebral blood flow which may help with post-stroke recovery.
Also, its ability to inhibit platelet aggregation can factor into improving cardiovascular disorders.
5. Other Benefits Of Forskolin
Although evidence is limited, there is some indication that forskolin may also be helpful for immune enhancement, cancer metastases, hypothyroidism, and skin conditions like psoriasis.
However, more research is needed to confirm its benefits in these areas.
Optimal doses for forskolin have not been established for any condition.
Based on the few clinical trials conducted, it is recommended to take a 250 g supplement with 10% forskolin two times a day equalling a total daily dose of 500 mg.
The thing to keep in mind is that, as with other supplements, the quality of active ingredients and the level of forskolin concentration can vary significantly from one product to the next.
As such, experts suggest using forskolin only under the supervision of a medical professional.
Forskolin Side Effects
A general lack of scientific evidence makes it hard to determine if forskolin is safe for everyone.
Some of the side effects associated with its use include issues like flushing or a fast heartbeat.
Some people have also experienced upper respiratory irritation including coughing, tremors, and restlessness when inhaled.
Some have also reported stinging of the eyes with forskolin extract use while others have experienced enlarged blood vessels in the eyes.
Anyone taking blood thinners or anti-platelet drugs is advised to not use forskolin.
Likewise, some blood pressure medications may also interact with the use of this supplement. This can include beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers.
Anyone with polycystic kidney disease should also not use forskolin.
And the supplement’s safety for expectant or nursing women has not been established either.
So, what do people think about supplementing a forskolin extract??
I’ve searched for a few forskolin user reviews to help you understand better how this nootropic really works.
“I’ve been using this Product 100% Pure Forskolin 500 mg since January11, 2018! I’ve lost 65 pounds with the help of this product & dieting and exercise. No hunger, No jitters a nice increase of energy! Thank you.”
“I use this in conjunction with Cambodia Garcinia, I still watch what I eat and try and exercise more than I usually do. It does help to curb my appetite a bit and I am steadily losing weight. The key here is diet and exercise, I just happen to have not sufficient hormones and an under-active thyroid so I need more help then some.”
“I have had better control of asthma symptoms since using this product!”
Where To Buy Forskolin
It’s not recommended buying Forskolin as an individual compound.
1. What are the dangers of taking forskolin? The main dangers of taking forskolin are adverse side effects such as heart beats, low blood pressure, and flushing. There hasn’t been enough studies done to show that forskolin is a completely safe nootropic.
2. Does forskolin really work for weight loss? Yes, current studies show that forskolin really work for weight loss. It can help to lose your weight while increasing your muscle mass.
3. What is forskolin used for? Forskolin is mainly used for disorders such as high blood pressure, astmha, chest pain, and similar. Besides, healthy people use is as a nootropic because of several other health benefits.
4. Forskolin – does it work? Yes, forskolin works and it delivers several benefits. Studies prove many of the benefits, but it hasn’t been established yet, if forskolin is safe enough for supplementing.
Greg Gostincar is the founder of Your Inception. He has been researching, testing and experimenting with nootropics since 2015. Greg is one of the most recognized researchers in the field of nootropics.