Forskolin – Weight Loss Benefits and Possible Side Effects

Forskolin plant

Losing weight is arguably one of the most difficult propositions in the world today.  In fact modern research has shown that conventional weight loss methods such as diet and exercise while being the healthiest options available, also almost always fail as we succumb to temptation time and again. With a mere 15% of people who try to lose weight being successful enough to sustain their losses. (Source) Fortunately, for the vast majority of the ‘failures’ hope is at hand courtesy dietary supplements and herbal medicines. But the key question is how many of them actually work enough to not only lead to weight loss, but are able to sustain that loss as well, over a long period of time. Apart from these two considerations you also have to keep in mind their probable side effects with many supplements pills having such potent ones that they actually do more harm than good.

One such product happens to be ‘Forskolin’, a hundred percent herbal substance that supposedly has awesome anti obesity properties.

What is Forskolin?

Pure and natural forskolin is both a multipurpose aromatic herbal ingredient as well as a extract which is derived from the roots of the Lamiaceae/ Plectranthus Barbatus plant that belongs to the well known Mint’ plant family.

However, this particular plant has been an important part of Indian Ayurvedic medication for hundreds of years and has been used as a remedy for many illnesses.

Ever since it came under the radar of modern science, a lot of research has been done on this substance and the results have shown that it has quite a few benefits because of which it has become famous.

How Does Forskolin Help With Weight Loss?

Stripped of complicated medical jargon, in a nutshell it contributes to the release of fatty deposits from the body’s cellular fat stores and effectively helps convert them into energy, thus helping reduce fat from all over the body.  However, a point to be noted is that left to its own devices merely releasing fat into the blood stream does not lead to a decrease in overall weight as far as the human body is concerned. For long term weight management it is essential that we consume more calories than we are taking in through our eating habits. In laymen’s terms sustainable weight loss is only possible if caloric intake is exceeded by overall caloric consumption.

Many anti obesity products create this ‘caloric deficit’ though their secondary functions of curbing appetite (thereby leading to less food intake) or accelerating RMR (though which the body consumes more calories even at rest or while sleeping)  However, barring the release of energy no study as yet, has shown that forskolin is capable of either of these secondary functions. In other words, for weight loss to happen, it is imperative that energy expenditure must exceed energy intake.

Read More: Glucomannan – Weight Loss Benefits And Side Effects

Clinical trial

Though very few research studies have been conducted regarding this substance as yet, but at least one has yielded comprehensive results.

In this research study thirty male volunteers (all of them suffering from obesity) had been slotted to be part of two groups. One control grouping of fifteen individuals each, received forskolin two times a day every day, without a break for a period of three months duration, while the other group of fifteen men was given a placebo in lieu of forskolin.  In comparison to the group taking the placebos, the forskolin group did lose body fat but there was no weight loss per se.  (Source)

In the light of the above study it may be concluded that while it may not cause weight loss, it does however improve overall body composition and also helps protect against weight gain.

Other benefits

Since time immemorial Indian traditional health care practices have used it as a treatment for a veritable plethora of diverse ailments including:

  • gastrointestinal / digestive disorders
  • respiratory disorders / chronic cough
  • skin problems such as eczema, boils, pimples and even
  • Stiffness of the body and rheumatism

Side effects

Two important side effects have been noticed while consuming this product. The first is low blood pressure leading to nausea, and dizziness and second is elevated heart rate that may leave the user out of breath and suffering from palpitations.


Forskolin is more of a ‘fat fighter’ then a potent aid to overall weight loss. It may help remove excess fat from the body in the short term, however, as per research it is not a substitute for healthy dietary habits and exercise when it comes to a long term and sustainable weight loss program.

Forskolin fat fighter conclusion