Forskolin For Weight Loss: Is It Safe and Effective?

forskolin for weight loss
Forskolin comes from the coleus plant. Verity Jane Smith/ Getty Images

Forskolin is a natural product that comes from the Indian Coleus plant. If you search the internet, you'll see plenty of ads for forskolin supplements to burn fat, support cellular function or stimulate hormone production. Many people take forskolin to lose weight. But there is very little evidence to support these claims.

Forskolin for Weight Loss

Forskolin has not been studied extensively. The few studies that have been done have been very small.

One study that has been cited frequently was a research trial that involved only 26 men and lasted only 12 weeks. The men took 250 mg of 10% forskolin extract twice a day and experienced improved body composition and decreased body fat. But most experts are calling for more research before we know if forskolin can really help you lose weight.

For example, in a review of nutrition supplements published in Obesity Reviews, researchers acknowledge the limited research into the plant substance and state that "more work is required before forskolin can be recommended as a fat metabolism-enhancing substance." And the National Institutes of Health (NIH) agrees. The government agency reports that the product has shown no affect on body weight.

Is Forskolin Safe?

The NIH reports that more studies are needed before we can really say if forskolin for weight loss is safe. But other sources say otherwise.


Harriet Hall, MD is a retired family physician who writes about questionable supplements. In her review of forskolin she says that people shouldn't assume that it is necessarily safe. The supplement can raise levels of testerone, and she says that is "probably not a good thing."

Should You Take Forskolin for Weight Loss?

If I were in the market for a supplement, I wouldn't try forskolin to lose weight.

There are other herbal supplements to lose weight, and while most of them are not considered to be very effective, some of them, like green tea, are at least considered to be safe.

Continue Reading