Forskolin Weight Loss Supplement Might Not Benefit Women
A recent episode of The Dr. Oz Show focused on how that you can make your “belfie” more photogenic by following his belly fat melting diet recommendations that include a controversial supplement containing the herbal extract forskolin. Dr. Oz’s recommendation of the supplement is supported by a 2005 study that is now available free online for the public to read and consider. However, a different study indicates that women may actually gain weight while on a forskolin supplement.
Forskolin Weight Loss Supplement and Women
Forskolin is an extract from the roots of the Coleus forskohlii plant and is a relative of the mint family of plants. It grows wild in nature in warm subtropical temperate regions such as India, Burma, and Thailand. While investigated initially for its beneficial cardiac properties, researchers in the aforementioned paper turned to look at its potential weight loss properties due to 4 preliminary studies that demonstrated forskolin being suspected of encouraging significant weight loss without loss of lean muscle.
Chemically identified as a cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) compound, forskolin was found to cause the production of an active form of a hormone-sensitive lipase in the body. The significance of this is that hormone-sensitive lipase is believed to cause the release of fat stores in the body that can then be burned off for energy through a person’s natural metabolism.
One of the problems of losing weight by burning off fat through any number of means and diets, is that sometimes the total weight loss is also due to an unfavorable and undesired loss of lean muscle mass. According to the author of the 2005 study, the presence of testosterone is an important factor in maintaining lean muscle.
What makes this significant is that Dr. Oz briefly mentioned that weight loss with forskolin does not result in loss of lean muscle and actually increases bone mass—a potential boon for women in particular who suffer from osteoporosis and weight gain following menopause.
In fact, the results of the 2005 study indicate that lean muscle is at least maintained, while bone mass significantly increases during weight loss attributed to taking a 250 milligram forskolin supplement twice a day. The results were tabulated from a study population consisting of 30 overweight/obese men, 15 of which were randomly assigned to receive forskolin supplementation for the 12-weeks while the remaining 15 men were given a placebo.
The final results of the study state that:
1. The forskolin group showed a significant decrease in body fat percent from baseline, whereas the placebo group did not.
2. Fat mass decreased significantly in the forskolin group, whereas in the placebo group it did not.
3. Lean body mass increased in both groups.
4. There were no significant differences in the actual change in body weight from pre- to post-measurements between the groups, but the forskolin group lost some weight overall while the placebo group gained weight overall.
5. A significant increase in total testosterone was found within the forskolin group that was not observed in the placebo group.
6. Bone mass increased significantly in the forskolin group, but not in the placebo group.
The conclusion reached by the authors in a free online paper states, “The results of this study show that forskolin promotes favorable changes in body composition by significantly decreasing percentage body fat and fat mass and increasing bone mass.”
One problem, however, is that there are some warnings about the health risks of taking forskolin that cautions that forskolin may promote cyst enlargement in patients with polycystic kidney disease.
Furthermore, at least one source points out that while the results may be favorable for obese and overweight men, it might not work for women. In a separate study also published in 2005 and available free online that investigated the effects of forskolin on 23 female subjects, the researchers found that their results suggest that forskolin does not appear to promote weight loss― but in fact, actually promotes weight gain in overweight females.
While the medical jury is still in deliberation over whether forskolin really does have any true weight loss properties for helping with weight loss and removing belly fat for a better “Belfie,” Dr. Oz does provide a number of other fat burning tips that can slim your belly down for the summer.
Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket
“Body Composition and Hormonal Adaptations Associated with Forskolin Consumption in Overweight and Obese Men” Obesity Research Vol. 13, Issue 8, pages 1335–1343, August 2005
“Effects of Coleus Forskohlii Supplementation on Body Composition and Hematological Profiles in Mildly Overweight Women” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition Dec. 2005; 2(2): 54–62.