Researchers have discovered that fenugreek might be able to control cholesterol levels, ease menstrual cramps and boost testosterone levels in men. Find out more about this plant’s potential health benefits as well as dangers.
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Fenugreek, which you can purchase as a spice, or as a supplement in most health food stores – could have some important health benefits, such as aiding in the management of Type 2 Diabetes along with high blood cholesterol.
It is an essential clover plant that is native to the Mediterranean and southern Europe and western Asia According to National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine. The spices that are made from the seeds and leaves have an apricot, slightly bitter maple syrup that tastes like burning sugar. Find out more on how fenugreek could help you and the best ways to take it.
The research into the benefits of fenugreek’s fenugreek has, however, a handful of scientific studies have revealed that the plant
Reduces blood sugar levels in those with diabetes
Fenugreek could help those suffering from type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar level. A meta-analysis from 2016 of twelve studies released in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology discovered that fenugreek had a significant effect on blood sugar levels during the day for people suffering from pre-diabetes or diabetes.
If blood sugar levels in the fasting state remain high for an extended amount of time, that can increase the likelihood of multiple illnesses for those with type 2 diabetes. Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) they are:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage)
- Tooth decay, dental cavities, and gum disease
- Vision and hearing loss
The study also revealed that dietary supplements could cause liver and kidney problems There were no reports of kidney or liver toxicities among those who took supplements with the fenugreek. The most common side effect associated with the use of fenugreek was stomach discomfort.
Can regulate cholesterol levels
Fenugreek may also reduce the level of blood cholesterol, which can lower the possibility of cardiovascular diseases as well as stroke–two major causes of death in the US according to the CDC.
A 2020 meta-analysis that was published in Phytotherapy Research concluded that the use of fenugreek as a supplement:
- Significantly lower total cholesterol levels
- Reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol
- Higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol
The herb proved particularly beneficial to people suffering from diabetes who are twice more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease, as to the CDC.
Researchers believe that fenugreek can be beneficial in reducing the risk factors associated with heart disease such as high cholesterol when combined with conventional treatments including medication and lifestyle changes. But, more studies are needed to determine precisely how fenugreek works to lower the risk.
The potential for this remedy is to relieve menstrual cramps.
Fenugreek is frequently mentioned on the internet as a cure for menstrual cramps and some studies support this. A study conducted in 2014 of 101 women that was published in the Journal of Reproduction & Fertility discovered that women who consumed 900 mg of Fenugreek seeds on each of the three initial days of menstruation experienced significant reductions in the pain of menstrual cramps over the placebo group.
Supplementation with Fenugreek can also help reduce other symptoms of the menstrual cycle, such as:
There were no side effects reported.
Increase breast milk supply
People living in North Africa, Asia, and southern Europe traditionally have used fenugreek as a supplement to milk supply for lactating mothers According to National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health ( NCCIH)–and recent research supports this claim.
For instance, a research study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research discovered that when compared with the placebo, fenugreek increased the quantity of breastmilk that lactating women produce in four studies. But, the same study also found that herbal supplements, including date palm, proved more effective than Fenugreek.
Although fenugreek can boost breastmilk production it can also cause some adverse negative effects. A study from 2018 published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine conducted a survey of 65 women who are breastfeeding and 56 health professionals and concluded that supplementing with fenugreek in lactation can cause an increase in thirst, in addition to “maple syrup-like” sweat and urine. If you suffer from pre-existing health issues or are taking medications or have any other medical condition, consult your doctor prior to taking fenugreek when breastfeeding.
Can increase testosterone levels in males
A 2020 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research discovered that fenugreek can also increase testosterone levels in males, that, if they are low can cause irritability as well as poor concentration and increased risk of fractures to bones. As per Harvard Medical School that as men get older, testosterone levels decrease by approximately 1%- about 2% per year. more than a third of males over 45 are less testosterone than their normal levels.
A 2017 study funded by Cepham Inc–an herbal supplement manufacturer–published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences assessed how a patented fenugreek supplement would impact 50 men between the ages of 35 and 65. It was found that, within 12 weeks, after regular supplementation with fenugreek, testosterone levels rose by as high as 46 percent in 45 participants. It also increased:
- Mental alertness
- Sex drive
- Sperm count, according to a study in the Human Reproduction Update is closely connected to fertility and is a determinant of mortality and illness
Based on the US Department of Agriculture database One tablespoon of fenugreek seeds gives:
- Calories: 35
- Fat: 0.7 g
- Sodium: 7.44 mg
- Carbohydrates: 6.5 g, or 22% of your Daily Value (DV)
- Fiber: 2.7 g, or 10 percent D
- Protein: 2.5 g, or 5 % DV
- Iron: 3.7 mg, or 20% of the daily value
Despite its potential health benefits, fenugreek isn’t a great source of important nutrients–particularly since most recipes call for less than one tablespoon of the herb. A notable exception to iron is that it is vital to help red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body, as per the National Library of Medicine.
Fenugreek is safe in the amounts typically found in food items however its safety when used in larger amounts is not certain, according to the NCCIH. Fenugreek’s safety is not guaranteed for usage during the pregnancy period in any quantity higher than that present in food products and is not recommended for use by children for dietary supplements.
Liver toxicity has been documented for people who use fenugreek by itself or in combination with other herbs. It could also trigger negative side effects, including:
- A drop in blood sugars when consumed in large quantities
If you’re interested in experimenting with using fenugreek to treat a condition such as those described above, consult an expert in health care like a primary care physician or registered dietitian. There’s no standard recommendation for the fenugreek dosage or formulation which is why they can assist you in determining the amount and how time you should be taking supplements with fenugreek.
How to consume fenugreek?
Fenugreek isn’t grown widely in the US It’s therefore accessible as an ingredient. If you’re cooking with fenugreek, consider:
- Soak the seeds for several hours overnight will assist in softening them
- It can be used in dishes that have longer cooking times and will aid in letting to let the flavors fully absorb
- The final touches to curries, sauces, and vegetable dishes by using dried or frozen Fenugreek leaves
- Incorporating it into warming, hearty meals, such as this vegan soup made with red lentils
Fenugreek is a popular flavoring used in many different food items that has essential health benefits, including cholesterol and blood sugar management. If you are a fan of the distinctive mixture of bitter and sweet flavors, try experimenting with Fenugreek leaves and seeds when cooking. However, you should consult an expert in health before adding the herb to your diet to understand how it could affect your personal health issues.
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevent Diabetes Complications.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cholesterol.
- Heshmat-Ghahdarijani, K. Mashayekhiasl N Amerizadeh A, Jervekani ZT, Sadeghi. Effect of fenugreek consumption on the serum lipid profile An extensive review, meta-analysis, and systematic analysis. Phytother Res. 2020;34(9):2230-2245. doi:10.1002/ptr.6690.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes and Your Heart.
- Younes S, Amiraliakbari S, Esmaeili S, Alavi Majd H, Nouraei S. Effects of Fenugreek Seed on the Severity and Systemic Symptoms of Dysmenorrhea. J Reprod Infertil. 2014;15(1):41-48. PMC3955423.
- Shawna R, Qiblawi S, Ghanayem H. What Benefits and Risks of using Fenugreek as a galactagogue need to be discussed in clinical Consultations? The results of a Delphi Study among Breastfeeding Women Gynecologists, Pediatricians Family Physicians, and Lactation Consultants and Pharmacists. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018;2018:2418673. doi:10.1155/2018/2418673.
- Mansoori A Hosseini S, Zilaee M, Hormoznejad R, Fathi M. Effect of the fenugreek extract supplementation on testosterone levels in males The meta-analysis of clinical studies. Phytother Res. 2020;34(7):1550-1555. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.6627.
- Harvard Health Publishing. Testosterone — What It Does And Doesn’t Do.
- Maheshwari A, Verma N, Swaroop A, et al. Effectiveness of FurosapTM, a unique Trigonella foenum-graecum seed extract, in Enhancing Testosterone Levels and Enhancing Sperm Profile of male volunteers. Int J Med Sci. 2017;14(1):58-66. doi:10.7150/ijms.17256.
- Levine H, Jorgensen N, Martino-Andrade A, et al. Temporal patterns in sperm count: an extensive overview and analysis of meta-regression. Hum Reprod Update. 2017;23(6):646-659. doi:10.1093/humupd/dmx022.
- US Department of Agriculture. Spices, fenugreek seed.
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- Allrecipes. Vegan Red Lentil Soup.