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Forskolin, is found in the roots and stems of Coleus forskohlii . Forskolin can treat heart diseases, glaucoma, asthma and some cancers . Other reports have suggested forskolin can treat cardiovascular disorders and even lower blood pressure .
Mechanisms of action
Forskolin increases cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) concentrations [3; 4]. cAMP is an extremely important signal necessary for the proper response of cells to certain molecules .
cAMP is suggested to be involved in the regulation of memory; with forskolin considered as a good candidate for Alzheimer’s Disease .
Forskolin-cAMP production is linked to PDE4. PDE4 inhibitors increase the levels of cAMP, exhibiting anti-inflammatory effects . Selective inhibitors of PDE4 have been reported as important in controlling depression and cognitive function . The expression of PDEs play a role in regulating cAMP-mediated signalling .
Benefits and Effects
Along with its ability to treat cardiovascular disorders and blood pressure , forskolin can also treat hypertension and asthma . Forskolin can treat mood disorders, promote lean body mass, along with possessing anti-cancer properties .
Forskolin and hair loss
Forskolin induces the production of cAMP , and this can activate hair follicle activity .
Forskolin and asthma
In a single-blind clinical study, a 10mg capsule forskolin dose, delivered orally over 6 months showed effectiveness in preventing asthma attacks .
Forskolin and weight loss
The ability of forskolin to increase intracellular levels of cAMP leads to the stimulation of lipolysis, which promotes the breakdown of stored fats . Obese individuals have lower cAMP production, so, theoretically, forskolin may trigger weight loss .
A 250mg dose of forskolin extract was shown to induce weight loss – fat percentage and mass – over a 12-week period in obese males .
Forskolin in depressed patients
Forskolin, administered intravenously at a dose between 0.5 – 2 mg/kg, demonstrated that forskolin had a positive impact in depressed patients .
Forskolin is generally extracted using a range of organic solvents . An extract was used to study the skin diffusion properties of forskolin . Forskolin extract could be effectively delivered through the outermost layer of the skin .
Forskolin and testosterone
A 250mg forskolin extract raised serum free testosterone levels . A low dose of forskolin was shown to induce higher hormone production . The importance of having steroid-producing machinery within a cell is crucial for the synthesis of testosterone .
Forskolin is well-tolerated at doses of 50-100mg/kg body weight . Other academic sources report that oral administration of 50mg/day does not produce significant side effects in individuals .
Side effects and safety
Side effects with forskolin have yet to be fully evaluated . Forskolin’s safety has also been assessed in a 3-month topical, cream, treatment in animals . Researchers of this study found that forskolin topically administered to animal skin in a low dose caused no toxic reactions . Although forskolin might be considered safe, there is potential for herb-drug interactions in patients who might be on combination therapy .