People take forskolin supplements for many reasons. But very little substantial evidence exists to back its use for any health condition.
Some research suggests that forskolin may aid in weight loss and muscle building. In one very small study, overweight and obese men took 250 milligrams of a 10% forskolin extract twice a day. After 12 weeks, they lost more body fat and had a greater increase in testosterone levels compared to similar men taking a placebo. But more research must be done to confirm these results and establish its safety.
Forskolin has a long history as a folk remedy for asthma. Some research supports that. Forskolin appears to work in a way similar to certain types of conventional asthma drugs, by boosting the levels of a compound called cyclic AMP. This helps relax the muscles around the bronchial tubes to make breathing easier.
Forskolin has also been used to try to treat glaucoma. But there is no proof that it works. A small study indicates that forskolin may help relieve pressure in the eyes, which is often seen in glaucoma. But the study was done on healthy people. Forskolin has not been tested on people with glaucoma.
Another potential use of forskolin is for people with idiopathic congestive cardiomyopathy, which can cause heart failure. In a small study, patients who took forskolin through an IV showed improved heart function.
Optimal doses for forskolin have not been established for any condition. Also, as with supplements generally, the quality of the active ingredients and the level of concentration in products that contain forskolin vary from maker to maker. Some experts recommend that forskolin only be taken under the supervision of a health care professional.
Can you get forskolin naturally from foods?
While forskolin does come from an herb, it has only been studied as an extract. No evidence is available regarding any potential benefits from the whole herb.