Forskolin

Background

Forskolin, most commonly known as Coleus forskohlii, is an herb used in traditional medicine that may increase testosterone and induce fat loss, particularly in men. With its nootropic effects, Forskolin has been used for centuries in various forms of natural medicine in Brazil, eastern and central Africa, India, and other Asian countries with various other names such as Plectranthus barbatus, pashanabhedi, Indian coleus, makandi, HL-362, NKH477. Today, this dietary supplement is popularly used as a fat burning and weight loss supplement and may protect against cancer and inflammation.[1]

Benefits

Though Forskolin supplement has a lot of health benefits including a wide range of physical functions such as weight loss and vasodilation, a major interest for users of this natural remedy is its nootropic effects. Forskolin is derived from the leaves of an ancient mint plant that works with enzymes in the brain to promote health and productivity in neural tissue.
Forskolin is also used against various disorders in indigenous systems of medicine, such as antiaging, antioxidant and as a remedy for heart, abdominal and respiratory disorders.[2]
The most common health benefits of Forskolin include:

  • Increases in testosterone levels [3]
  • Helps manage a healthy weight [7]
  • Helps people who are fighting cancer [8]
  • Enhances learning, memory [9]
  • People report Forskolin boosts focus
  • Lifts overall cognitive health [10]
  • Reduces high blood pressure [11]
  • Maintains blood sugar [12]
  • Helps people with symptoms of glaucoma [13]
  • Improves heart health [14]
  • Helps people who have Alzheimer’s disease [15]

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 increasing the levels of a compound called cyclic AMP. This helps relax the muscles around the bronchial tubes to make breathing easier.[4][5]

How it works

Forskolin increases cAMP (also known as cyclic adenosine monophosphate or cyclic amp) production in adipocytes through an activation of adenylate cyclase.[6]
This cAMP is a “second messenger” that impacts various biological processes responsible for helping your cells understand how to process the messages of various “first messengers,” like epinephrine or serotonin. The first messengers begin cellular processes, and then second messengers act as translators in cellular processes within your body. This supplement is also thought to work as a vasodilator, helping to open up blood passages. This can increase blood flow to the brain, resulting in better nutrient and oxygen delivery to your brain cells.
cAMP is a very important term in discussions of memory function because it is involved in the cognitive mechanism by which the brain physically converts short term memories into long term memories. This process is known as LTP, or long term potentiation which creates enduring relationships between individual neurons, allowing signaling between them to occur easily and reliably over time. This entrenched synaptic communication is how memories become permanent in the mind.

Considerations

Although Forskolin is generally considered safe, it has some side effects that include flushing and low blood pressure when taken through an IV; upper respiratory tract infection, cough, tremor, and restlessness when inhaled; headaches; and increased heart rate. This supplement should also be avoided by those who have kidney disease, as well as pregnant or breast feeding women.

Recommendations

The dosage of many Forskolin supplements can vary considerably. The typical dosage range is between 25 and 60 mg per day. This is normally divided between 2 or 3 equal administrations. Many users suggest that 50-60 mg is the ideal range for serious nootropic effects. It may also be better to take your Forskolin dosage at night, since it does make some people tired.

Sources