Forskolin is an extract from the plant Coleus forskohli, a naturally occuring chemical.
The coleus plant, a member of the mint family, is popular for its use in gardening due to its brightly colored leaves of green and purple. It is predominantly used within formulations to support fat burning and energy levels. The root is rich in forskolin, a compound that increases the activity of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), a messenger molecule that helps regulate the metabolism of glucose, proteins, and lipids, as well as the function of hormones like adrenaline. Cyclic AMP belongs to a class of substances known as “second messengers” and is one of the most important cell-regulating compounds. Among its many roles, cAMP activates numerous other enzymes involved in diverse cellular functions. It has been observed that, by increasing the activity of cAMP, forskolin promotes the breakdown of human fat cells. cAMP also increases the basal metabolic rate and affects other processes that can influence appetite and energy use in the body. A study in rats with diet-induced obesity found that treatment with coleus extract led to normalization of blood lipid levels, with a decrease in LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as an increase in HDL-cholesterol. These changes in lipid profiles are beneficial in controlling weight and avoiding obesity-related diseases like metabolic syndrome.
Coleus has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for a variety of conditions, including:
- Cardiovascular Benefits: Coleus forskohli has traditionally been used to treat hypertension, congestive heart failure, and angina. Treating these conditions may be among the most useful uses for Forskolin. Forskolin’s basic cardiovascular action is to lower blood pressure, while simultaneously increasing the contractility of the heart. This is believed to be due to Forskolin’s cAMP-elevating ability, which results in relaxation of the arteries, and increased force of contraction of the heart muscle. The platelet aggregation-inhibiting effects of Forskolin also add to its value in cardiovascular disorders.
- Asthma & Allergies: Forskolin has been used by itself, or in addition to phosphodiesterase-inhibiting drugs in the prevention and treatment of many allergic conditions, including asthma. Being an effective smooth-muscle relaxer, its use results in bronchodilation, decreased airway resistance, and increased vital capacity and forced expiratory volume, which are important indicators of pulmonary function.
- Skin Problems: Psoriasis is characterized by a relative decrease in cAMP compared to another second messenger, cyclic guanine monophosphate (cGMP). This imbalance results in a tremendous increase in cell division. In psoriasis, cells divide about 1,000 times faster than normal. Forskolin helps to alleviate psoriasis by normalizing the cAMP /cGMP ratio. It should be noted that Fumaric Acid, by itself, is highly effective in the prevention and treatment of psoriasis. However, Forskolin and Evening Primrose Oil may both be considered as additional substances to be added to a regimen to treat this particularly vexatious disease.
- Hypothyroidism: Forskolin has demonstrated the ability to increase thyroid hormone production and stimulate thyroid hormone release. This mechanism of stimulating the thyroid to enhance metabolism may be one way in which Forskolin promotes normal body weight. Forskolin’s effects in normalizing thyroid function may also contribute to its antidepressant effects, as depression is a common feature of hypothyroidism.
- Cancer Metastases: Scientists at Brown University confirmed that Forskolin is a potent inhibitor of platelet aggregation, as well as being a potent inhibitor of tumor colonization in mice. They suggested that Forskolin could find a place in the prevention of tumor metastases. A single dose of forskolin (82 micrograms/mouse) administered intraperitoneally 30 or 60 min prior to tail vein injection of cultured B16-F10 cells (2 or 3 X 10(5) cells/mouse) reduced tumor colonization in the lungs by more than 70%. Similar results were obtained in three separate experiments. These findings raise the possibility that forskolin could prove of value in the clinic for the prevention of cancer metastasis.
- Immune Booster: Forskolin also exhibits potent immune system enhancement by activating macrophages and lymphocytes.
- Glaucoma and Increased Intraocular Pressure: A number of studies have shown that topical application of one percent Forskolin eye drops resulted in significant decreases in intraocular pressure for up to five hours. Researchers believe that it is the cAMP-elevating effects of Forskolin that result in this significant improvement.
The dosage of different forskolin supplement vary but you should purchase those with 10-20 per cent forskolin extract. The recommended dosage should range from 25-60mg per day which should be divided at least twice a day.
Note: Discuss the potentially dangerous side effects of forskolin with your medical provider before beginning treatment.