Forskolin – First off, what is it?
Forskolin is a labdane diterpenoid with antihypertensive, positive inotropic, and platelet aggregation inhibitory properties.
In English please?
It means Forskolin is naturally produced by a living organism, the Coleus forskohlii herb to be exact.
And it is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), can improve the heart’s natural ability to contract, and can help control blood clots. 1
Additionally, testing has shown Forskolin may result in the increase of testosterone.2
So we have a natural product that’s effects tend to help with heart health and healthy testosterone levels, which is why we always recommend it to older men. However, Forskolin has been in the news recently for a different reason – weight loss. A popular TV personality, Dr. Oz, called it “lightning in a bottle” in terms of weight loss. There have been a few studies regarding the weight loss capabilities of forskolin, and in the prominent study claiming weight loss results, they say “After 12 weeks, men taking Forskolin lost more body fat and had a greater increase in testosterone levels compared to similar men taking a placebo.” The problem is, the study was sponsored by the Sabinsa Corporation, a company that sells Forskolin which may cause a conflict in the findings. Regardless, more studies are needed to log the effects Forskolin has on weight loss.
But back to what we do know – a study done about the effects Forskolin has on blood pressure revealed it doesn’t reduce blood pressure via histamine means, but could possibly help relax blood vessels, and in higher doses does not increase the potency, rather it extends the duration of the effects. 3
Here is another study about the effects it has on the heart which states Forskolin may “exert a positive ionotropic effect which may be beneficial to failing hearts”, basically meaning it can help the heart with its regular contractions.4
However, Forskolin is back in the news again, this time for something other than it’s confirmed effects and benefits – tanning?
An article published in the COSMOS magazine this past summer highlighted David Fisher of the Massachusetts General Hospital and his role in a 2006 experiment with the plant extract, and demonstrated that it induced skin-darkening in mice.5
When tested on Humans however, it had little to no effect claiming “The forskolin molecules were simply too large to penetrate cell walls.”6
Fisher’s new compound he developed in collaboration with Nathanael Gray of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston is not Forskolin based and he says it is a long way away from market.
Taking Forskolin regularly isn’t going to make you tan, and neither will rubbing it on your skin, so please don’t do that. And it’s most likely not going to help you with fat burning and weight loss, there’s just not enough evidence out there supporting those claims. What it will do is help you keep a healthy heart and testosterone levels.