Fenugreek has had a lot of claims made about it from Testosterone boosts in men to increasing milk production in woman, and even fighting hair loss. What does the research say? What are the benefits to eating fenugreek herbs and seeds? In this video highlight some interesting studies which have been conducted on Fenugreek.
*This is not medical advice, always consult a physician before taking any new herb or supplement*
Fenugreek is a herb that appearance wise, is similar to clover and native to the Mediterranean region, southern Europe, and western Asia. The herb is used as a spice in various traditional foods, and also in traditional medicine. Many choose to make their own teas from the seeds, while some companies sell the herb in pill form as a dietary supplement.
When people talk about the plant its important to note that there are different parts of the plant which are studied.
There are many different chemical compounds in both the fenugreek herb, the fenugreek seed and also there are different extracts, some that contain the seed husk and others that take the husk out before extraction
Tea made from the seeds of the herb has consistently proven to increase milk volume in breast-feeding women.
A study published in the JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE had one group of new mothers ingesting tea brewed with fenugreek seeds at three cups per day, on the third day they measured mean breast milk volume, the women drinking the tea produced a mean 73ml vs the control group which produced just 31 ml, they also found the babies of the fenugreek tea mothers got back up to their birth weight faster, for the guys watching this, apparently after babies are born they actually lose weight before they gain it, don’t worry I didn’t know that either.
Here’s where things get confusing though, in recent years manufacturers have been selling Fenugreek as a testosterone booster…
Now I’m going to get this out of the way, based on the evidence it doesn’t look like pure unaltered fenugreek alone, in any way increases muscle and strength, studies have however shown increases in Libedo in men but testing for a rise in testosterone has been unreliable.
When talking about Testosterone it’s also important to mention another even more potent hormone, Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT.
This hormone is similar to testosterone but is far more potent in activating androgen receptors (the receptors that cause men to display manly features)
In our body circulating testosterone is acted on by an enzyme which turns it into this DHT. DHT is also one of the active hormones responsible for male and female pattern hair loss.
DHT is anywhere between 2.5 to 10 times more potent than testosterone at activating androgen receptors in your body.
And while studies on fenugreek have occasionally shown a mild increase in testosterone, these usually go hand in hand with a mild decrease in DHT.
In one study DHT levels in men dropped by 9%.
It is thought that this occurs because something in Fenugreek is inhibiting the alpha reductase enzyme, leading to a backlog of testosterone which isn’t converted to DHT.
Which in theory could mean a slight benefit if you are suffering from male or female pattern hair loss, but this is also the only thing fenugreek does which can be clearly explained by measurable hormone changes.
Just using a tiny testosterone increase doesn’t explain why people report for their libedo increasing.
First of all, the testosterone changes which have been detected are only minor, and secondly, the brain’s androgen receptors primarily only respond to DHT and not testosterone, so if fenugreek means less DHT, if anything shouldn’t libedo drop.
Well it turns out as I said things are just more complex
It has been found that ingesting between 2-5 grams of fenugreek seeds can help lower blood glucose levels, and improve glucose tolerance, something helpful for diabetics and pre diabetics. This could be in part due to the soluble fibre in the seeds slowing down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, that’s the explanation given by www.diabeties.co.uk