Forskolin and its many benefits have played a central role in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
Recently, those benefits – including the ability to regulate weight, lower blood pressure, and more – have attracted the attention of health-conscious Westerners.
As more and more studies have confirmed its benefits, the number of forskolin supplements on the market has exploded.
Our team of experts sifted through scores of candidates and determined that the following are the best forskolin supplements of 2021.
1. Nutricost Forskolin
Some forskolin supplements can be surprisingly expensive. Not Nutricost Forskolin. The company makes it their mission to keep prices as low as reasonably possible on all their supplements without compromising quality. And once again, they succeed.
What we like: This is a no-nonsense forskolin supplement that is free of unnecessary additives, artificial preservatives, and counterproductive fillers. Each capsule contains the 20% pure forskolin extract we want to see.
Flaws: The capsules are made from bovine gelatin, so vegans beware.
2. Life Extension Forskolin
Life Extension is known for their attention to detail and rigorous third-party testing of their products. Their Forskolin supplement is simple and effective. Each serving provides 100 mg of standardized forskolin extract to help you lose weight and more.
What we like: Life Extension Forskolin is a potent supplement that will help people lose weight, control high blood pressure, and even arrest the degenerative effects of glaucoma. And that’s just for starters.
Flaws: The maltodextrin in the capsules is highly processed.
3. Ultraliant Forskolin 500
Ultraliant Forskolin 500 is another highly pure and potent forskolin supplement designed to help you fight off food cravings, lower your blood pressure and improve your overall health. Each Ultraliant capsule contains 20% standardized forskolin extract.
What we like: Ultraliant Forskolin 500 is free of genetically modified organisms, artificial ingredients, common food allergens, and artificial binders and fillers. They are proudly produced in the USA under the watchful eye of the FDA.
Flaws: Tends to sell out quickly.
4. Solaray Super Forskohlii Extract
While the standard dosage for a forskolin supplement is 100 mg per serving, the fact is, not everyone needs that much. Solaray gives people a choice with their 40 mg per capsule Super Forskohlii Extract.
What we like: While the dosage is not as large as with some other forskolin supplements, the purity of Solaray Super Forskohlii Extract is up there with the best of them. There’s no artificial anything, no GMOs, and they’re produced in a GMP-certified facility.
Flaws: Not the best choice for just losing weight.
5. Dacha Forskolin
Dacha Forskolin is an outstanding choice for those seeking to control their weight, blood sugars, or blood pressure. It’s a pure, potent forskolin supplement that will provide maximum benefits with minimum side effects.
What we like: You won’t find any food allergens in these capsules. No artificial ingredients, genetically modified organisms, or highly processed fillers. Just 20% forskolin by volume for 100 mg per serving.
Flaws: With only 30 capsules in the bottle, you’ll be running out quickly. The capsules can also be a bit uncomfortable going down.
6. NOW Diet Support with Coleus Forskohlii
Now Supplements puts a lot of thought into all their products. That care and attention is on display here with their coleus forskohlii Diet Support capsules. While the focus here is squarely on the forskolin, it’s surrounded by a slew of complementary ingredients that facilitate its activity.
What we like: Now doesn’t just dump a bunch of vitamins and minerals together to fill up the ingredient list. Everything here is here for a reason. Because it facilitates the activity of the forskolin so that you reap optimal benefits.
Flaws: You may have to take up to 4 capsules per day to see results.
7. Only Natural Forskolin 500
Only Natural Forskolin 500 provides 100 mg per serving of 20% standardized forskolin extract. Lose weight, stabilize your blood pressure, give your heart a break, increase testosterone levels, and more with this pure, potent, effective forskolin supplement.
What we like: Only Natural Forskolin 500 is free of common food allergens like yeast and soy, free of preservatives and free of GMOs at every stage of the production process. Get the forskolin you need with none of the other stuff you don’t.
Flaws: With only 50 capsules per bottle, you’re going to run out fast.
8. Olympus Labs Forslean
Olympus Labs Forslean provides 90 mg of pure forskolin extract per serving. That is in keeping with general FDA guidelines and industry standards. If you are looking to lower blood pressure or boost testosterone levels, this is a good choice.
What we like: What we like about these capsules is that they’re smaller than most others and therefore easier to swallow. That’s a big consideration for older folks who sometimes have a hard time choking down a big capsule.
Flaws: Relatively expensive compared to some others. We’re also not big fans of proprietary blends.
9. Rewind Forskolin Extract
Last but not least on our list is Rewind Forskolin Extract. Like most of the best forskolin supplements on our list, each Rewind Forskolin capsule contains 20% standardized forskolin extract. That’s 100 mg per serving twice per day.
What we like: Forskolin provides an array of health benefits for young and not so young alike. Rewind Forskolin Extract will ensure you are able to take advantage of all of them, without having to deal with artificial ingredients or GMOs.
Flaws: The pills can be a challenge for some folks to get down.
Who Needs A Forskolin Supplement?
Because of its wide-ranging health benefits, the number of people who should consider taking a forskolin supplement is vast.
Studies suggest those seeking to gain control over their weight could benefit from forskolin. Likewise, numerous studies point to forskolin’s ability to lower blood pressure. Meaning anyone dealing with high blood pressure should talk to their doctor about incorporating forskolin into their dietary routine.
Forskolin is also known to have a beneficial effect on blood glucose levels. So diabetics should also consider talking to their doctors about forskolin. As should people suffering from psoriasis, men dealing with ED, those with asthma, and women suffering from recurrent UTIs.
Older folks are also likely to benefit from the fact that forskolin can increase serum testosterone levels. This important benefit means they will get more from their exercise, which will enable them to maintain muscle and bone mass well into old age.
How We Ranked
Because forskolin has only come to the attention of the Western medical establishment in recent years, the amount of human clinical data available to support or debunk claims related to its effectiveness is limited. This means we needed to rely more on animal studies to provide a scientific foundation than we usually do when assessing a supplement.
Beyond the pure scientific considerations, we eliminated supplements that only included forskolin as one of several ingredients. That means many popular ‘fat burner’ supplements did not rank for our list. We also took a dim view of forskolin supplements that included caffeine. Since caffeine can (and often is used to) mask the activity of forskolin.
Next, we looked at dosages. While the FDA does not regulate forskolin, they do suggest that the average adult should think before taking more than 500 mg in one serving. So our ideal dosage was two 250 mg capsules (20% forskolin), twice per day. Typically before lunch and dinner. If the recommended serving is more than two capsules, it should be because each capsule contains less than 20% forskolin, or because the capsule is small. Say, 150-200 mg.
Speaking of capsules, we gave preference to capsules made from vegetable gelatin rather than bovine gelatin. We also gave the nod to those supplements that avoided artificial binders, fillers, or preservatives. And we were not impressed by forskolin supplements that came with lots of vitamins and minerals on board.
Finally, we took price into consideration. We were a bit surprised at the range of prices for this particular supplement, one of the most extreme price ranges of any supplement we’ve examined. We could see no possible justification for forskolin supplements costing more than $50 for an average-sized bottle of 30 or 60 capsules. So any such products did not make our list.
Q: What is forskolin?
A: Forskolin is a compound derived from the Indian Coleus plant. It has been an essential component of Ayurvedic medicine (1) for thousands of years. As the name implies, Indian coleus is native to the Indian subcontinent. Over the centuries it has also spread to many neighboring countries, including Myanmar and Thailand. Forskolin is prized for its effect on metabolism, as well as its ability to treat conditions like asthma and high blood pressure.
Q: Can forskolin help people lose weight?
A: Clinical evidence is still limited, but there is some. And some of it is pretty compelling (2). It strongly suggests that forskolin can indeed help overweight persons lose weight. The exact mechanism is not completely understood, but the results of these limited human trials have been backed up by animal studies that serve to bolster the testimony of scores of people who have used forskolin and claim to have lost weight.
Q: What is cAMP?
A: When researching forskolin, you are bound to see the term ‘cAMP’ a lot. The full term is actually ‘cyclic amp’ (3). Cyclic amp is a metabolic messenger of sorts that carries the effects of certain hormones through cellular membranes so that those cells can benefit. In basic terms, more cAMP activity typically equals more metabolic activity. Forskolin has the ability to trigger cAMP activity, which is the source of its weight loss capabilities.
Q: Is forskolin just the supplement du jour?
A: Hardly. Forskolin has been a key component of ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Traditional healers have long used it to produce weight loss, increase vitality, treat diabetes, and more. What’s happened lately is that Western medical science has finally caught up to the potential of forskolin. Health studies have been initiated and are confirming that forskolin is a powerful compound with a multitude of potential benefits.
Q: How much forskolin should I take?
A: Most forskolin supplement makers recommend taking anywhere from one to four 250mg capsules per day. One or two is the most commonly recommended amount, and that amount is backed up by NIH recommendations (4). Because most folks take forskolin to help them lose weight, it is recommended they take one or two capsules half an hour before lunch and again half an hour before dinner.
Q: Is forskolin an antioxidant?
A: Forskolin has many laudable characteristics and capabilities, but being antioxidant is not one of them. It can provide some of the same benefits as antioxidants when it comes to heart health, blood pressure, and skin. But it is not an antioxidant.
Q: What should I look for in a forskolin supplement?
A: The particulars of each product may vary slightly. But as a general rule, a forskolin supplement should not contain artificial colors, flavors, binders, or fillers. It should not contain caffeine, and it should be at least 20% forskolin. Also, the forskolin itself should be in extract form, and not contain any parts of the actual plant, which can be dangerous to consume (5). Also, you should not need to take more than three or four capsules per day.
Q: Does forskolin have any side effects?
A: If a person has naturally low blood pressure and takes too much forskolin, it may further lower blood pressure to the point that it becomes an issue. Because forskolin can thin the blood, it is recommended that you stop taking it two weeks before surgery. And because there have been no studies examining the impact of forskolin on pregnant or breastfeeding women, they are advised to avoid it out of an abundance of caution.
Q: Do forskolin supplements include any banned substance?
A: Forskolin is an entirely natural substance that has been in use for thousands of years. Reputable forskolin supplements do not contain banned or otherwise regulated substances of any kind. Forskolin itself is not a controlled substance and has no ability to alter consciousness or produce addiction.
Q: How soon will I see results from taking forskolin.
A: It depends on what type of results you are looking for. If you are taking forskolin to improve cognitive health, then any changes will likely take time and be extremely subtle. However, if you are taking forskolin to lose weight, how long it takes will vary from person to person depending on their metabolism and their ability to control what they eat. No weight loss supplement will work if the person taking it continues to eat whatever they want.
Q: Does forskolin contain caffeine?
A: No reputable forskolin supplement will contain caffeine. If you see caffeine on the ingredient list, it may well indicate that the supplement is low in forskolin and is trying to mimic its metabolic actions by loading you up with caffeine.
Q: Should athletes consider taking forskolin?
A: Because it can boost testosterone levels (6) forskolin is potentially useful in helping people improve their performance in the gym. Forskolin also has the ability to increase metabolism. So, given both of these facts, it would make sense for athletically inclined individuals to look into forskolin supplementation.
Q: Does forskolin have any benefits for seniors?
A: It certainly does. The older we get, the more important it is to control our weight. An aging cardiovascular system simply cannot deal with the stress and strain of obesity the way a 30-year-old system can. Forskolin can help older individuals get their weight under control. Forskolin can also reduce blood pressure in older individuals, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. And, by increasing testosterone, it can help older men stay strong.
Q: Can forskolin help me sleep better?
A: A lot of folks claim that forskolin helps them get to sleep and improves the overall quality of their sleep. As of this writing, there is no clinical evidence to support this claim. In fact, it seems rather counterintuitive since forskolin is known to increase metabolism. And something that makes your internal engine run faster (caffeine, for example), is not likely to make it easier to get to sleep.
Q: Can I buy forskolin powder and mix it with a smoothie?
A: Forskolin powder is available, but tends to be sold in bulk. That is, you would need to buy 10 or maybe even 25kg of it at a time. That is enough to last most people for many years. Such large amounts of forskolin cost thousands of dollars. You would also need to make sure the powder was correctly stored so that it did not get moldy or otherwise degrade. If it did, your large investment would be wasted.
Q: Does forskolin produce adverse reactions with any medications?
A: Forskolin is generally considered safe and is not known to produce any specific adverse interactions with prescription medications. However, because of its metabolic and other activities, the FDA advises that people taking prescription medications for any reason should always talk to their doctor before adding a supplement to their diet. It is also generally recommended that alcohol consumption be kept to a minimum (7) when taking forskolin.
Q: Are all forskolin supplements the same?
A: Unfortunately, any product that garners widespread attention is going to attract fraudsters looking to cash in. Forskolin is no different. So the answer to the question is, ‘no, all forskolin supplements are not the same’. Some are little more than caffeine pills relabeled as ‘forskolin’. Others may have traces of forskolin in them, but are mostly just useless fillers. All the products on the above list have passed critical muster and are the real thing.
Q: Are forskolin supplements expensive?
A: As with other supplements, the cost of forskolin will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. But even the most expensive forskolin brands should be well within most people’s budgets. Most wind up costing less than a dollar a day. Some are significantly less than that. Just be aware that some boast about their low cost, but they achieve that discount price by giving you fewer capsules.
Forskolin is one of the most sought-after and highly debated supplements on the market today. While some of the claims made for it seem more than a little speculative, it nonetheless has some very real benefits, including the ability to lower blood pressure, regulate weight, and stabilize blood sugars.
The forskolin supplements that earned a spot in our rankings are pure and potent and free of artificial additives. They do not require a prescription, contain no controlled substances, are not addictive, and are virtually free of side effects.
We put dozens of forskolin supplements under the critical microscope to arrive at our list of the 10 best. Use the information provided in the above guide to determine which forskolin supplement is right for you.
For cpoe.org’s #1 recommended forskolin supplement, click here.