Forskolin is an increasingly popular herbal supplement that’s used to drop body fat by controlling your appetite and increasing your metabolism.
It can be used to improve health overall—people use it for asthma, heart health, and preventing chronic diseases like cancer too.
Need a great forskolin supplement? Our research team has ranked the top products on the market by carefully examining all of your options.
1. BioSchwartz Forskolin Weight Loss
BioSchwartz offers the best forskolin supplement on the marked thanks to its purity and trustworthiness as a brand. Many other forskolin supplements are made by smaller companies without a solid reputation, but that does not apply to BioSchwartz.
It’s not the highest dosage on the market, but it does have the most straightforward supplement design: the only ingredients are forskolin and vegetable cellulose—no additives, binders, or stabilizers.
2. Zenvita Formulas Forskolin Ultra
For those looking for a higher dose of forskolin than the industry standard, Zenvita Formulas has got you covered. It offers 300 mg of forskolin per capsule, and on top of that, some of the forskolin complex that’s included is concentrated to 40% instead of the typical 20%.
Its vegan-friendly capsule also contains a few other stabilizers, but nothing that should pose any problems. In addition to the high dose per capsule, the bottle comes with 50% more capsules than a usual forskolin supplement.
3. aSquared Nutrition Forskolin
aSquared Nutrition offers a larger supply of the standard 250 mg / 20% standardized dose. It does have a few binders and stabilizers, but with 180 capsules per bottle instead of the usual 60 from most competitors, it’s going to last a lot longer on your shelf.
If you are taking high doses of forskolin, or you plan to take it for a long time, going with the bulk purchase is a smart call.
4. Vitamin Bounty Forskolin Max Strength
With 250 mg of forskolin root extract per capsule, standardized to 20% concentration, Vitamin Bounty provides a solid dosage of forskolin in a very pure delivery vehicle.
The only ingredient, other than forskolin itself, is vegetable cellulose for the capsule. In the purity and simplicity department, this forskolin supplement is a winner.
5. MegathomHealth Forskolin Extract
While MegathomHealth isn’t anything special with regards to its dosage, it does win some points for simplicity.
Aside from 20% concentrated forskolin, the only other ingredients are rice flour and cellulose, which makes up the vegetable-based capsule, so fans of minimal supplement design will like this one.
6. BioGanix Pure Forskolin Extract
The primary advantage of BioGanix is that it comes in a larger bottle with 90 capsules versus the industry-standard 60. Beyond this, you are getting a very minimal supplement: the only ingredients are forskolin (250 mg, like almost all of its competitors), rice flour, and vegetable cellulose.
It’s a good choice if you want a large supply of a hyper-minimal supplement and are willing to go with a smaller company.
7. Ebysu Forskolin Extract
Ebysu’s forskolin supplement comes with a fairly standard 250 mg per capsule, but includes a few extra binders and excipients that some of its competitors don’t have—namely magnesium stearate and silicon dioxide.
Not a deal breaker, but there are other competitors don’t have these ingredients.
8. USA Supplements Forskolin 500 Max
No surprises on the dosage and concentration here—like many forskolin supplements, you’ll get 250 mg of forskolin extract per capsule, standardized to a 20% concentration.
The “500” in the title comes from the fact that a serving size is actually two capsules. USA Supplements does put a small unique twist into the supplement by including small amounts of chlorophyll, but this is included alongside several binders and preservatives that may not be appealing to you.
9. California Products Forskolin
California Products is one of the smaller supplement companies that’s jumped into the increasingly hot forskolin market, but their forskolin supplement is nothing special.
With 250 mg of 20% forskolin per capsule, plus a few stabilizers, it doesn’t distinguish itself from the rest of the pack very well.
10. Huntington Labs Forskolin
Huntington Labs doesn’t have much going for it; it fits the profile of most of the second-tier forskolin supplements. It’s got a dosage of 250 mg with typical concentration levels, and several binders added to stabilize the capsule and preserve shelf life.
However, beyond this there’s nothing special to add, which results in this supplement being ranked at the bottom.
Forskolin benefits and side effects
Forskolin has been touted as the all-purpose miracle supplement, and the well-known TV doctor Dr. Oz once famously called forskolin “lightening in a bottle” (1).
He was referring to its supposed powers as a weight-loss supplement but in reality, forskolin may have the power to help us in many more ways than just fat burning and looking sexy. Think: garcinia cambogia but potentially better.
If you take a look at the impressively long and varied list of what forskolin might be able to do for us, the first thing you notice is it seems to do wonderful things for a very diverse set of ailments, which seemingly have nothing to do with each other.
According to third party studies, forskolin has been proven to be effective for certain heart conditions, improves asthma, reduce body fat, could potentially stop colon cancer and glaucoma )(2, 3, 4).
It seems forskolin shows great promise in the medical world. Each medical use listed above is the result of at least some amount of clinical studies. Just how much real science has been applied in a laboratory setting for each application varies from scarcely any at all to substantial amounts.
That means it does all kinds of things in different parts of your body and on different levels, including the cellular level. Like a benevolent agent of good works, it has resounding effects on a wide range of problems. That range is far greater than even present-day scientists have discovered, so the future looks promising as far as discovering great things about the full impact of forskolin on various biological functions in the body.
The substance forskolin is produced by a plant called Coleus forskohlii, or Coleus for short. There are many different types of coleus plants, but this is Indian Coleus, which may explain forskolin's prevalence in traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda).
Why it works is a bit difficult for most people to grasp, and that's because forskolin works on the cellular level. This is best understood by reading the following descriptions of some of the more documented uses of forskolin.
Was Dr. Oz basing his infamous description of forskolin on anything scientific? Turns out maybe he was…
There is an oft-cited study, known as the Godard study, showing that taking forskolin resulted in decreased body fat and fat mass. This study also showed positive changes in bone mass in just 12 weeks, as well as a trend toward increased lean body mass. Not only that, but serum free testosterone levels were significantly increased in participants, after taking forskolin. The men in the study took a 10% forskolin extract (250 mg) twice a day for 12 weeks. They were overweight and obese, so this tells us that coleus (forskolin) may be an effective treatment for obesity.
As for lean and fit men (and women) taking it in order to increase lean body mass and decrease body fat, there does not yet exist a clinical study as conclusive as this famous Godard study. We can draw connections and hope that in all likelihood that since this worked for obese men it would also work for women. It's perfectly plausible and probably true.
Some of the most promising science on forskolin comes in the area of treating urinary tract infections. Here's why Forskolin may help cure UTIs when antibiotics alone don't get it all. This study was done on mice but it shows great promise for humans too (5).
Turns out that UTIs, which are commonly treated with antibiotics to kill bacteria in the urinary tract, have a nasty habit of recurring. In one third of women who get UTIs, the infection comes back even when they undergo a full round of antibiotics (6).
The problem is how the bacteria behaves…specifically with how it interacts with cells in the bladder, where the infection occurs. Turns out E. coli, the bacteria in question, has the ability to adhere to receptors in bladder cells which, when triggered, release little sacs. These sacs act to help the bladder expand when it gets full. The problem is, when the bladder is emptied and no longer needs to be expanded, these sacs go back into their “host” cells.
That's when E. coli gets a free ride into the center of the bladder's cells, where it's sheltered from any antibiotics a woman might take. They can come back out any time, alive and well, causing the UTI to recur.
What's that got to do with forskolin? Plenty, because what triggers those little empty sacs to come out is cyclic AMP. When c-AMP levels rise, the sacs come out and help the bladder expand.
Forskolin has been found by researchers to dramatically increase levels of cyclic AMP within cells (that's also why bodybuilders like it, since this is what triggers free testosterone to be produced). Therefore, when the mice in the study were injected with forskolin extract, they witnessed an 80% reduction in the amount of E. Coli in those mice. That means forskolin may have a huge impact on how effective antibiotics will have in treatment of UTIs.
It's a known fact that birds, fish, and amphibians recover from hearing damage much more effectively than mammals. In fact, what many birds (and fish etc) are able to recover from, results in permanent hearing damage for mammals.
Research performed at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA showed that forskolin was able to increase mammals' ability to recover from damage that normally would have led to permanent damage in the ears (7).
Specifically, what causes hearing loss in organisms is loss of hair cells. It's already been established that birds, when continuously exposed to forskolin, experience a significant increase in regeneration of these hair cells.
The study aimed to find out if the same thing happened in mammals (rats). What they found was promising: although prolonged exposure to forskolin didn't do much to regrow hair cells, brief exposure did. Rats who had under one hour of exposure to forskolin saw increased cAMP levels, which was brought on by that forskolin. The increased cAMP levels trigger something scientists call “S-phase entry”…to you and me it means more hair cells being produced, hence recovery from hearing loss.
Not only that, but further research has been performed, which is exactly what we like to see in the field of medicine, supplements, and our health.
Taking any supplement that is not needed can be harmful, although it seems to be safe to take forskolin.
But if it's scientific proof you want, we're not quite there. As with all things scientific, we shouldn't be making assumptions, even though our common sense tells us that if it works on the obese men, it should work on everyone else.
There's one thing that's consistent throughout all the forskolin studies, and that's that it increases cAMP levels. These levels form the trigger for a multitude of cellular activity, and if we can control it, we may have the ability to do amazing things, medically.
So, while the list at the beginning of this article may seem far-fetched at first, knowing what you now know about forskolin and cAMP levels, accompanied by the example of scientific research you've just seen, maybe it's not so far-fetched after all.
Dr. Oz may have been guilty of jumping the gun and exaggerating, but science and time may prove him right, after all.