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Coleus forskohlii

Coleus forskohlii is an herb used in traditional medicine that may boost testosterone and induce fat loss, particularly in men.

Our evidence-based analysis on coleus forskohlii features 85 unique references to scientific papers.

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Summary of Coleus forskohlii

Primary Information, Benefits, Effects, and Important Facts

Coleus forskohlii is an herb historically used in Ayurveda (Ayurvedic medicine).

Today, Coleus forskohlii is used as a fat burning supplement.

The main bioactive ingredient in Coleus forskohlii is called forskolin. Through forskolin, Coleus forskohlii supplementation may increase testosterone, and protect against cancer and inflammation. Further research is needed to confirm these effects, since forskolin is most often used as a research tool in vitro, or outside the body, like in a test tube or petri dish. Forskolin may act differently inside the body.

Forskolin increases cellular levels of a molecule called cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). Elevated cAMP levels are associated with increased rates of fat loss, and can improve the effects of other fat burning compounds.

Forskolin is still being researched for its effects on testosterone and fat loss, but preliminary evidence is promising.

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How to Take

Medical Disclaimer

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

To supplement Coleus forskohlii, take 250 mg of a supplement that contains 10% forskolin, twice a day, for a 500 mg total daily dose.

Further research is needed to determine the optimal Coleus forskohlii dose.

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Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what effects coleus forskohlii has on your body, and how strong these effects are.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-c Notable Very High See 2 studies
Although more evidence is required, it appears to be more effective at suppressing asthmatic symptoms than other nutraceuticals. Mechanisms may be related to beta-adrenergic compounds (due to increasing cAMP and inducing bronchiol dilation)
grade-c Notable - See study
Definitely requires more evidence, but a DXA confirmed increase in bone mass in men over 12 weeks makes this notable (rather than an increase in bone mass in osteoporotic women over 2 years)
grade-c Minor - See study
Somewhat effective in reducing fat mass in obese and overweight persons.
grade-c Minor - See study
Less fatigue reported as a side-effect, no comparator or ability to assess potency.
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
Eyedrops containing forskolin seem effective in reducing intraocular pressure (IOP), and while it seems effective orally those studies are currently confounded with the inclusion of other nutrients (and thus omitted from the HEM).
grade-c Minor - See study
Somewhat effective (2lbs over 12 weeks relative to placebo) although somewhat confounded with the increase in bone mass, as lean mass is inclusive of bone and skeletal muscle.
grade-c Minor - See study
Increase of testosterone observed in men not overly potent and is highly variable.
grade-c Minor Moderate See all 4 studies
Mixed effects on overall weight, may be more effective in men rather than women. Overall, it requires more evidence to see if it has a role in weight loss regimens.
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant influence on blood pressure was noted with coleus supplementation
grade-d Notable - See study
Needs to be replicated in larger trials, but the degree of increase was quite remarkable.

Studies Excluded from Consideration

  • Confounded with the inclusion of rutin and two B-vitamins[1][2][3]

Things to Note

Primary Function:

Also Known As

Forskolin, Coleonol, 7beta-acetoxy-1alpha, 6beta, 9alpha-trihydroxy-8, 13-epoxy-labd-14-en-11-one

Goes Well With

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Click here to see all 85 references.