Fenugreek is a popular supplement derived from the seeds of a plant in the family Fabaceae. It is cultivated around the world as a semiarid crop, and its’ seeds are popular in cuisine around the world, particularly on the Indian subcontinent.
The leaves and seeds have been harvested for centuries, but fenugreek has really only become popular over the past twenty years or so. It’s supposed health benefits range anywhere from improving the quantity of breast milk in nursing mothers to raising testosterone levels in men. Let’s discover everything you need to know about fenugreek.
Uses for Fenugreek
Fenugreek has many uses nowadays, and almost all of the plant is used in some way, shape, or form. The leaves are dried and used as a herb, the seeds are used as a spice, and the leaves and sprouts can be consumed as a vegetable.
In India, fenugreek seeds are commonly added to prepare pickles, vegetables, and spices. The leaves are sometimes an ingredient in curries. They may also be added to salads as well.
There is some nutritional value to eating fenugreek leaves as well. It’s not necessarily the most nutritious plant, but the leaves are still a decent source of nutrition. In one 100g serving of leaves, there are:
- 49 calories
- 6 grams of carbohydrates
- 9 grams of fat
- 4 grams of protein
- 395 mg of calcium
- 93 mg of iron
- 51 mg of phosphorus
The seeds are actually more nutritious than the leaves, but the leaves are more readily available and therefore are consumed in a greater amount than the seeds.
Fenugreek Health Benefits
Fenugreek has long been touted as having numerous health benefits. Believe it or not, there is actually some very trustworthy clinical research that suggests that many of these health claims ARE actually true. Some of the health benefits that have been reported include:
Fenugreek is said to naturally increase libido in men, which may be related to its’ ability to raise testosterone levels and to suppress DHT levels. In this study, Testofen, a branded form of fenugreek, significantly improved libido in men and increased sexual arousal and orgasm after 6 weeks.
Better milk production
Women who are nursing commonly use fenugreek to increase milk production. In this study, women taking fenugreek had a greater total volume of breast milk than those in the placebo and control groups. Best of all, researchers noted it posed no health risk to either the mother or the baby whatsoever.
Blood sugar control
There’s a significant amount of data that suggests fenugreek can help diabetics control blood sugar levels and insulin levels. Numerous studies suggest that fenugreek can help decrease blood glucose levels almost immediately after ingestion. It may also influence glycogen re-synthesis rates, but more evidence is needed.
Higher testosterone levels
Evidence is limited, but so far it does appear that it may increase testosterone levels. In several studies, men taking fenugreek extract in the form of Testofen® were able to increase their free testosterone levels by around 10% in just a few weeks. Various factors play a role in testosterone production though and more research is needed.
In addition to the benefits we mentioned above, fenugreek may help lower appetite, decrease DHT levels, reduce fat mass, improved HDL cholesterol levels, reduce triglyceride levels, and increase lean muscle mass. More research is needed in all of these areas, but so far researchers are hopeful.
As soon as more research is posted, we will update you with the latest on the various health benefits that may result from taking this supplement. Until now, this is all we know about the potential benefits.
Is Fenugreek Safe?
For the most part, fenugreek is considered to be safe for use up to 6 months. However, side effects like diarrhea, upset stomach, bloating, gas, and a “maple syrup” odor in urine have been reported.
In addition, nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, and severe allergic reactions have been reported. However greater than 90% of fenugreek users experience no negative side effects to their health.
Fenugreek is NOT safe for children. Some evidence suggests it was responsible for children losing consciousness. Diabetics will also want to monitor their blood sugar levels when taking a supplement with fenugreek in it.
Where to Buy Fenugreek Supplements
Fenugreek has plenty of benefits, and it is one of the few supplements that has been tested thoroughly for a number of health conditions and effects.
If you’d like to try Fenugreek, then you can search for supplements on Amazon, GNC, or other big retailers. Many of these retailers list fenugreek for less than $20/bottle for a one-month supply, which is standard among supplements.
Don’t be afraid to try fenugreek, it has numerous benefits. Like many others, you’ll probably notice at least a few improvements in various aspects of your health.
Have you tried this supplement already? What are your experiences with it? Let us know in the comments – we want to hear from you!