Technology in the health industry is improving every day. Doctors and scientists are working to improve the way we treat symptoms and a new discovery is doing just that. Forskolin is an herbal supplement which is also known as labdane diterpine. This compound possesses both anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties and is used in the treatment of a number of medical conditions which include cardiovascular disorders, gastrointestinal tract disorders, urinary tract infections, hypothyroidism, skin allergies, and glaucoma.
This drug is produced by an Indian herb i.e. Coleus Forskohlii and it has been used as a beneficial therapeutic agent in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. This plant belongs to the mint family and it majorly grows in the subtropical regions of Burma, India, and Thailand.
Mechanism of Action of Forskolin
Natural Forskolin works by activating an enzyme adenylate cyclase. It’s an important metabolic enzyme which is also activated by other hormones like adrenaline and epinephrine. Adenylate cyclase in turn, leads to the activation of cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate or cyclic AMP in the body . This cyclic AMP is multi-functional. It goes through double phosphorylation and produces Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP which is the major energy resource of the body and is involved in the initiation and regulation of a number of metabolic processes like breakdown of glycogen, hepatic detoxification and a lot more. Moreover, cyclic AMP increases the level of an enzyme lipase which is majorly involved in the breakdown of stored fat in the body. This is why Forskolin works as an effective lipid-lowering agent and helps in weight reduction in an individual.
Forskolin also works as a potential vasodilator i.e. it dilates or opens up the blood vessels which increases the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and cardiac tissues. This compound also dilates the bronchial tubules of the respiratory passage which helps in breathing. This is why Forskolin also serves as a therapeutic agent in combination therapy of asthma and COPD i.e. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder.
Potential Adverse Effects of Forskolin:
Low Blood Pressure
Since Forskolin works as a potential vasodilator, it expands the arteries and decreases the pressure of blood passing through them, thereby leading to hypotension i.e. decreased blood pressure in an individual. Excessive use of Forskolin can also lead to postural hypotension i.e. a dramatic decrease in a person’s blood pressure with the change of posture, as explained in this Forskolin review. Therefore, those individuals who’re already suffering from hypotension shouldn’t consume Forskolin for any other medical purpose like weight loss or glaucoma .
Increased Production of Gastric Acid
Forskolin increases the production of gastric acid which can aggravate the conditions of esophageal, gastric, and duodenal ulcer and carcinomas. Excessive use of Forskolin can lead to massive heartburn and acidity in an individual which can further lead to the development of GERD i.e. Gastric Acid Reflux Disorder. Therefore, different antacids like Omepazole and Pantoprazole are prescribed with chronic consumption of Forskolin to combat the excessive acid production in the gastrointestinal tract.
Increased production of gastric acid also causes nausea, vomiting and indigestion which can further aggravate the condition of morning sickness in pregnant women.
Increased Heart Rate
Increased production of cyclic AMP in the body can cause elevated heart rate in an individual. Tachycardia or elevated heart rate is a dangerous medical condition which can further lead to other diseases like cardiac palpitations, formation of blood clots, shortness of breath leading to breathing disorders like asthma and COPD, chest pain, angina, and extreme lightheadedness. Chronic palpitations can also induce anxiety and panic attacks in an individual. Therefore, if a person suffers from increased heart rate because of Forskolin consumption, it’s recommended to stop the therapy and contact a healthcare professional on an immediate basis.
Chronic consumption of Forskolin can lead to sleep disturbances in an individual. A person can suffer from sleeplessness i.e. insomnia or face difficulty in obtaining an unobstructed sleep throughout the night. This is because the increased production of cyclic AMP activates the central nervous system and there’s rapid firing of excitatory neurons which completely inhibits the effects of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA i.e. Gamma Amino Butyric Acid. GABA is the major neurotransmitter which induces sleep in an individual. Hence, with the inhibition of GABA, our brain remains excited even during nighttime and a person suffers from chronic sleeplessness.
Drug Interactions and Contraindications of Forskolin
Forskolin should never be consumed with anti-hypertensive medicines like beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, and more. This is because antihypertensive agents are used for lowering the blood pressure, so the combined effect of Forskolin and antihypertensive agents can lead to life-threatening hypotension in an individual.
Forskolin should also be avoided with potential blood thinning agents i.e. anticoagulants like aspirin, warfarin, and heparin. This is because Forskolin also works as a mild blood thinner so the combined blood thinning effects of Forskolin and anticoagulants can lead to excessive internal or external bleeding like nose bleed and hemorrhages.
Forskolin is also prohibited for use in pregnant and breastfeeding women. This is because Forskolin can cross the placental barrier and induce harmful effects like hypotension, blood thinning, or tachycardia in the fetus which can even lead to the death of the fetus. This drug can also get absorbed into the bloodstream of infants and newborns through the mother’s milk and lead to harmful reactions.
The typical dosage range of Forskolin is between 20 to 60mg/day. This dose is divided into two to three equally divided doses and used either twice or thrice a day. It’s recommended to start Forskolin therapy with lower doses so that the body adapts to the effects of Forskolin and there’s no incidence of life-threatening allergic reactions and adverse effects in an individual.
What Can We Conclude?
On the basis of the above-mentioned facts regarding the uses, mechanism of action, adverse reactions, drug interactions, and contraindications of Forskolin, it can be concluded that Forskolin can be used for the treatment of a number of medical conditions only after complete medical checkup and proper prescription from a registered medical practitioner in order to ensure optimum safety and efficacy of this medication.