Fenugreek benefits - Scientific Evidence
October 1, 2011  zhion@zhion.com
Common Names - fenugreek, fenugreek seed; Latin Name - Trigonella foenum-graecum

Fenugreek is an erect annual herb with white flowers native to southern Europe and Asia. Fenugreek seeds are hard,
yellowish brown and angular, with a side of about 3mm. These seeds may benefit people suffered from various
conditions such as wounds, abscesses, arthritis, bronchitis, and digestive problems. In ancient China, herbalists used
it for problems of kidney and male reproductive tracts. People may roast the seeds or store them as dried seeds.

Fenugreek seeds are rich source of trigonelline, lysine and l-tryptophan and they also contain a large about of
steroidal saponins and fibers. These two elements are thought to account for many benefits of fenugreek. The
steroidal saponins may inhibit cholesterol absorption and synthesis while fiber is thought to help lower sugar levels
[2,3]. Studies have shown that fenugreek helped lower cholesterol, blood sugar levels in patients suffered from
diabetes. [4-10]. Further, fenugreek has been found to benefit breastfeeding or milk supply.

Scientific Supports for Fenugreek Benefits

Fenugreek benefits people suffered from diabetes

Effect of fenugreek seeds on blood glucose and serum lipids in type I diabetes. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1990 Apr;44(4):301-6.
Clinical Study! The fenugreek diet significantly reduced fasting blood sugar and improved the glucose tolerance test.
There was a 54 per cent reduction in 24-h urinary glucose excretion. Serum total cholesterol, LDL and VLDL
cholesterol and triglycerides were also significantly reduced. The HDL cholesterol fraction, however, remained
unchanged. These results indicate the usefulness of fenugreek seeds in the management of diabetes.

Meta-analysis of the effect of herbal supplement on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Aug
5. Link:
Review of Clinical Studies The current evidence suggests that supplementation with Ipomoea batatas, Silybum
marianum, and Trigonella foenum-graecum (fenugreek) may improve glycemic control in type 2 diabetes.

Does fenugreek enhance men's libido?
Physiological Aspects of Male Libido Enhanced by Standardized Trigonella foenum-graecum Extract and Mineral
Formulation. Phytother Res. 2011 Feb 10. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3360. Link:
The study recruited 60 healthy males aged between 25 and 52, without erectile dysfunction and randomized to an oral
dose (two tablets per day) of the active treatment (600 mg Testofen per day) or placebo for 6 weeks. Testofen is a
standardized Fenugreek extract and mineral formulation. Testofen had a positive effect on QOL in self-reported
satisfaction with muscle strength, energy and well-being but did not have an effect on mood or sleep. Serum prolactin
and testosterone levels remained within the reference range. It was concluded that Testofen demonstrated a
significant positive effect on physiological aspects of libido and may assist to maintain normal healthy testosterone

Fenugreek benefits on heartburn.
Anti-heartburn effects of a fenugreek fiber product. Phytother Res. 2011 Jan;25(1):88-91.
Clinical: In a pilot study of subjects with frequent heartburn, 2 week intake of a fenugreek fiber product, taken 30 min
before two meals/day, diminished heartburn severity. This study suggests that people with certain degrees of
heartburn can benefit from a fenugreek fiber product.

Fenugreek effects on gallstone formulation
Fenugreek seeds reduce atherogenic diet-induced cholesterol gallstone formation in experimental mice. Can J Physiol
Pharmacol. 2009 Nov;87(11):933-43. Link:
Cholesterol gallstones was induced by maintaining mice on a lithogenic diet (0.5% cholesterol) for 10 weeks.
Fenugreek seed powder was included at 5%, 10%, and 15% of this lithogenic diet. Dietary fenugreek significantly
lowered the incidence of cholesterol gallstones in these mice; the incidence was 63%, 40%, and 10% in the 5%, 10%,
and 15% fenugreek groups, respectively, compared with 100% in the lithogenic control. The antilithogenic influence of
fenugreek is attributable to its hypocholesterolemic effect. Serum cholesterol level was decreased by 26%-31% by
dietary fenugreek, while hepatic cholesterol was lowered by 47%-64% in these high cholesterol-fed animals. Biliary
cholesterol was 8.73-11.2 mmol/L as a result of dietary fenugreek, compared with 33.6 mmol/L in high-cholesterol
feeding without fenugreek.


Fenugreek's estrogenic effects
In vitro estrogenic activities of fenugreek Trigonella foenum graecum seeds. Indian J Med Res. 2010 Jun;131:814-9.
Earlier reports show that fenugreek seeds provide a mastogenic effect resulting in enhanced breast size. Chloroform
extracts of fenugreek seeds stimulated the proliferation of estrogen receptor (ER) positive breast cancer cells, MCF-7
cells, showed binding to ER (IC(50) = 185.6 +/- 32.8 microg/ ml) and acted as an agonist for estrogen receptor
mediated transcription via ERE. It also induced the expression of estrogen responsive gene pS2 in MCF-7 cells.


Fenugreek side effects may include diarrhea, indigestion, heartburn, gas, bloating and urine odor. High doses of
fenugreek seeds may further cause nausea. Fenugreek may stimulate uterine, pregnant women should avoid
fenugreek. Fenugreek side effects may also include internal bleeding, skin irritation and allergy.

 Fenugreek Breastfeeding
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