Forskolin is derived from the roots of Coleus forskohlii plant, a plant in the mint family. It can be found in parts of India and Africa. Typically eaten, it can also be inhaled, dropped in the eyes or injected.
Alternative medicine practitioners have used forskolin topically to treat skin irritations and internally for circulatory and antibacterial treatments. In general, forskolin is used because of its ability to dilate tissues, like lungs and arteries. High blood pressure? Eat some forskolin. Asthma? Inhale some forskolin. Skin rash? Rub on some forskolin. It was only a matter of time before someone thought to try forskolin for weight loss.
In 2005, a small medical study followed 30 men who were overweight for 3 months. Half of the group received forskolin and half received a placebo. At the end of the study, the men receiving the Forskolin had less body fat and more lean body mass than those receiving the placebo. As a side benefit, the Forskolin group also showed an increase in bone mass.
Once the clinical study was released, forskolin supplements were available at health food stores and weight loss clinics. Although there have not been additional, larger medical studies, having one bit of research that supports weight loss claims puts forskolin leagues ahead of most supplements.
Forskolin for weight loss is not without its problems. Since forskolin dilates blood vessels, it can cause a rapid and profound drop in blood pressure, along with accelerated or erratic heartbeat. The vasodilator effect can also cause internal bleeding. Users may also experience headaches or dizziness. There is limited research that associates Forskolin use with enlarged cysts in women who suffer from polycystic kidney disease.
Could forskolin be right for you? Certainly check with your doctor, especially if you are being treated for high blood pressure or kidney cysts. The small medical study is certainly encouraging, too. As an alternative medicine staple that has been used for decades, there are few other side effects to worry about.
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