Once exclusive to Ayurvedic medicine forskolin has recently attracted the attention of Western researchers intrigued by its many potential benefits.
Popular interest has grown in step with clinical interest and today forskolin is one of the most popular over the counter health supplements.
Below our experts will take a deep dive into the potential benefits of this natural substance so that you can decide if forskolin supplements are for you.
20 Benefits Of Forskolin
Forskolin – also called pashanabhedi, Indian coleus and makandi – is known primarily for its ability to help people lose weight. But its potential benefits go far beyond that. Below we take a look at all the best-known benefits of this seemingly unremarkable plant.
1: Forskolin can help you lose weight.
Forskolin’s purported ability to promote weight loss stems from its proven ability to enhance metabolic activity. The degree to which it will actually burn fat is still open for debate, as there have been no large-scale clinical trials involving humans, yet. But there have been several small studies. And they strongly suggest forskolin can help overweight individuals lose weight (1).
2: Forskolin can help lower blood pressure.
While forskolin’s effectiveness as a weight loss supplement is still being studied and debated, there is no debate over its ability to reduce blood pressure. Several studies have each concluded that forskolin is quite effective in lowering blood pressure (2). Especially in older individuals. It is so effective, in fact, that doctors have begun cautioning people with low blood pressure not to take too much forskolin.
3: Forskolin has cardiovascular benefits.
Anything that helps lower blood pressure is going to be good for your heart. And, as we’ve just seen, forskolin has a proven ability to do just that. The cardio benefits of forskolin don’t end there, however. Forskolin also thins the blood (3). That, in turn, helps increase blood flow and relieves pressure on the heart muscle that does not have to work so hard.
4: Forskolin is good for your skin.
Forskolin can provide this benefit either through the ingestion of capsules or by direct application of forskolin suspended in a cream or ointment. There have not been any big human studies looking into the skin benefits of forskolin, but there have been numerous animal studies (4). They have concluded that forskolin may provide protection against UV damage, prevent skin cell death, and perhaps fend off skin cancer.
5: Forskolin can help stabilize blood glucose levels.
Researchers have discovered that forskolin can reduce blood glucose levels in both healthy and diabetic animals to a significant degree (5). The results of these animal studies open the door to the possibility that forskolin could be a useful tool in the fight against diabetes in humans. If you are diabetic, you should talk to your doctor about the possibility of augmenting your diet with forskolin.
6: Forskolin has shown promise as a treatment for glaucoma.
Glaucoma (6) is a degenerative disease of the eyes caused by a buildup of pressure on the optic nerve. Blindness caused by glaucoma cannot be undone. However, if caught early enough, the progression of the disease can be stopped and even reversed. When used in concert with rutin (7) and B-vitamins, forskolin has demonstrated the ability to relieve pressure on the optic nerve (8).
7: Forskolin increases testosterone and may enhance bone mass in older men.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that forskolin increases serum testosterone levels in older men (9). Given how important it is for older individuals to maintain strength, having more testosterone available to enhance exercise effectiveness and build muscle mass can only be a good thing. Research also indicates forskolin may increase bone mass, which can help fend off devastating fractures late in life.
8: Forskolin may help men with ED.
Forskolin may help men with ED in a couple of ways. First, erections are dependent on robust blood flow, and as we discussed earlier, forskolin can enhance blood flow throughout the body. The second way forskolin may help men with ED is by increasing serum testosterone levels. Testosterone is vital to maintaining the male sex drive and achieving and maintaining erections (10).
9: Forskolin helps control appetite.
Forskolin is a natural appetite suppressant that promotes metabolic activity and creates a feeling of satiety. That feeling of being full is crucial in helping people reduce the amount they eat and get their weight under control.
10: Forskolin may help people with asthma.
A study conducted in Mexico on children and adults with asthma concluded that forskolin was more effective than the popular asthma medication sodium cromoglycate in preventing asthma attacks (11). The study followed participants for six months and showed that those taking forskolin suffered only half as many asthma attacks as those taking sodium cromoglycate.
11: Forskolin may help people with diabetes.
There are several ways forskolin can be beneficial for diabetics. The first is its ability to lower blood glucose levels. The second is its ability to improve the body’s insulin responsiveness. And the third is by blocking proteins responsible for causing diabetic retinopathy (12)(13). Any one of these results would be significant. Taken together, they suggest forskolin has a bright future as a treatment for diabetes.
12: Forskolin may be effective in treating some types of cancer.
There is a growing body of evidence – some compelling (14), some of dubious value – that forskolin may be able to kill certain types of cancer cells, particularly multiple myeloma. That is not to say that forskolin can cure some types of cancer. But it may prove itself to be another valuable tool in the anti-cancer toolbox.
13: Forskolin may help alleviate symptoms of psoriasis.
Psoriasis (15) is a deceptively complicated skin condition in which once ordinary skin cells wind up dividing at hundreds of times their normal rate. This increased cell division is thought to be the result of an imbalance between the neural messengers cAMP and cGMP. Forskolin regulates cAMP expression and thus restores the balance between cAMP and cGMP messengers.
14: Forskolin may have cognitive benefits.
It is too early to state with any authority that forskolin can help prevent Alzheimer’s. But recent animal studies have shown some promising results. In one such study (16), rats given forskolin developed less plaque in their brain than other rats. They also experienced less inflammatory activity in their brains. Both of these results suggest forskolin may have a future role to play in various cognitive therapies.
15: Forskolin lowers BMI.
Most doctors no longer rely strictly on pounds or kilos to determine whether a person is a healthy weight. Instead, they rely on the Body Mass Index, or BMI. BMI is determined by dividing a person’s weight by the square root of their height. This gives a much more accurate accounting of a person’s overall health than weight alone can. Forskolin has demonstrated an ability to positively affect BMI in both animal and human studies (17).
16: Forskolin increases metabolic activity in the thyroid.
Thyroid activity plays an important role in the regulation of body weight (18), with thyroid dysfunction often blamed for out of control weight gain. Forskolin has demonstrated an ability to increase thyroid activity. This increased activity results in enhanced thyroid hormone production, which, in theory, should promote weight normalization.
17: Forskolin may be useful in preventing recurrent UTIs.
The overwhelming majority of women will experience a UTI in their life. For many, urinary tract infections will become a recurrent theme. Antibiotics are the most common therapeutic response to UTIs, but many of the microbes behind these infections are developing resistance to antibiotics. Forskolin is showing some promise as an alternative treatment for recurrent UTIs (19).
18: Forskolin produces few side effects.
The known side effects of this traditional herb are inexorably tied to its benefits. That is, it can help reduce blood pressure, but that may not be what some people need. Also, it can help lower blood glucose, but that may interfere with a person’s current diabetes treatment. And it can thin the blood, but that may cause problems if a person is currently being treated with blood thinners.
19: Forskolin is safe.
There have not been any large scale studies to determine the safety of forskolin. But there are mountains of anecdotal evidence to support the notion that forskolin supplements are safe. If there was even a smattering of scientific evidence that forskolin presented a risk to the average person, the FDA would have ordered it removed from the shelves, as they recently did with the reflux medication Zantac (20).
20: Forskolin does not require a prescription.
Because it contains no controlled substances, has few side effects, and poses no risk of addiction, forskolin does not require a prescription. It can be obtained by any adult in supermarkets, health food stores, supplement stores like GNC, and, of course, by way of countless online retail outlets such as amazon.
From helping people lose weight to treating glaucoma, reducing asthma attacks, helping stabilize blood sugars, preventing UTIs and much more forskolin is a natural compound worth keeping an eye on. Health conscious people of all ages will want to consider taking advantage of the potential health benefits of forskolin.