Can Forskolin Really Boost Your Metabolism and Burn Body Fat?


There is no magic pill when it comes to weight loss, or is there?  Garcinia Cambogia may need to move out of the weight loss spotlight, as Dr. Oz, along with numerous others are promoting a new weight loss supplement called Forskolin.  Moving beyond the promotion of the product let’s take a deep dig into research and studies surrounding what this natural supplement is all about, and if it really works!

What is Forskolin?

Many people have heard of mint tea as an excellent digestion aid, so it’s really no surprise that a primary ingredient in Forskolin supplements is derived from extracts of the mint family, specifically a plant known as Indian Coleus (scientifically Coleus forskohlii).  This plant is native to tropical areas around the globe and has been used in folk medicine in tropical areas for hundreds of years.

How Forskolin is believed to work

Some studies have concluded that Forskolin is able to transform enzymes within the body to help increase metabolism, resulting in weight loss.

Case Studies for Weight Loss

There are a number of small scale clinical studies that have been completed to determine the impact and potential side-effects of using Forskolin for weight loss. One study using a sample of six overweight women who took 25mg of Forskolin twice a day for a total of eight weeks found noteworthy weight loss results. A small study of 30 overweight male subjects was shown to favourably decrease their body fat percentage over a 12 week period when taken twice a day.  Another study of 23 mildly overweight women concluded lesser weight loss benefits stating, “CF (Coleus Forskohlii) does not appear to promote weight loss but may help mitigate weight gain in overweight females with apparently no clinically significant side effects.”

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The Benefits of Forskolin

Limited studies have claimed the following benefits for those taking Forskolin:

  • Increase in lean muscle mass
  • Weight loss
  • Increased circulation
  • Relief of muscle stiffness and spasm
  • Enhanced immune system

Other benefits suggested from the usage of Forskolin include:

  • Lessening of acne
  • Supports healthy testosterone levels
  • Reduction of depression
  • Lessening of asthma symptoms when inhaled
  • Improving glaucoma
  • Treatment for hypothyroidism
  • Alleviates idiopathic congestive cardiomyopathy
  • Allergy relief

Risks & Side Effects

Other additives in supplements can cause reactions, irritations, and adverse side effects, but below are the known possible risks for someone taking pure Forskolin (with no other additives):

  • Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, and diarrhea
  • Elevated heart rate (significant increase in heart rate can lead to feeling lightheaded, a shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations, and the loss of consciousness)
  • Central nervous system depression has been found in large doses with mice, and not yet found in human subjects (this can result in decreased rate of breathing, heart rate, and even the loss of consciousness, possibly leading to coma or even death in some cases)
  • Low blood pressure or flushing (dizziness, feeling faint & flushed) – it should be noted this particular side effect is seen most commonly with IV treatment for infection
  • Throat irritation
  • Stinging of the eyes (when taken optically)
  • Perianal Itching (not confirmed in human studies of Forskolin, but occurs with mice in large doses)

Important: It has been determined that anyone with heart problems, bleeding disorders, polycystic kidney disease, or who is pregnant should not take Forskolin.  People taking the following medications should also stay away from Forskolin: CYP3A-Dependent Drugs, Diabetes medication, Anticoagulant Drugs, Antihypertensive Drugs, or Vasodilators.

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Like any supplements there are typically some risks, side-effects, and other considerations to be examined before deciding if this is the right weight-loss tool for you and your long-term health.  While some of the initial small sampled clinical trials show promising results, a cautious approach is always best as the amount of clinical data available for the short and long term side effects and results for taking this supplement is quite small.  It should be noted that many Forskolin supplements available for sale do not contain the same percentages of the extract that was used in the clinical trials. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so consult with your healthcare practitioner before beginning any new diet or taking any.

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