Fenugreek – Its Benefits and Side Effects

Trigonella foenum-graecum, meaning Greek Hay, is more commonly known as Fenugreek. It was called Greek Hay for the reason that it has a powerful scent reminiscent to hay. However, it is also known to its other terms like Bird’s Foot, Fresh Menthi, Greek-Clover, Sickle Fruit and Copper’s Clover to name  a few. The name of its genus, Trigonella, is derived from the old Greek name, connoting “three angled”, resembling to its seed’s angular shape. Aside from being angular in shape, some fenugreek are oblong, rhombic, or cubic, with a size of approximately 3 millimeters.

These tiny seeds are from a pod of a bean-like plant and a native to India and Southern Europe. For centuries, it has grown wild and was mainly cultivated in India, the Mediterranean and North Africa. Later on, limited crops started to grow in France and as of the present time the Mediterranean remains to be the major producers of Fenugreek. On the other hand, fenugreek production in India became concentrated in some states such as in Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra.

Fenugreek has a strong, aromatic and bittersweet burnt sugar flavor and most customarily used as both herb and spice. Yet, aside from its culinary use, fenugreek has also been known for its medicinal use. In fact,    in ancient times, Egyptians used fenugreek to reduce the pain from childbirth and to improve milk flow. At present, Egyptians are still using fenugreek as a cure for menstrual cramps and relieve stomach pains. Additionally, fenugreek is also used for treating late onset of diabetes in adults, poor digestion, gastric inflammation, digestive disorders and tuberculosis. In present time, fenugreek has gained more popularity to men as it claimed to enhance masculinity and libido.

Fenugreek and Testosterone

One interesting fact about fenugreek is that it has been used as natural testosterone booster in the market, where manufacturers of nutritional supplements use fenugreek as one of their main ingredients for testosterone boosting supplements like TestoGen.

Testosterone is the key male sex hormone that is essential for the regularity of fertility, muscle mass, fat distribution, and red blood cell production in men. Women also produce testosterone, however, on a lower levels than men. So, basically men is in need for more of this hormone.

Testosterone belongs to a class of male hormones called androgens which are mainly produced in the testes and small amount of production coming from the adrenal glands. The hypothalamus which is located in the brain and pituitary gland controls the testosterone production. The hypothalamus commands the pituitary gland on how much testosterone to be produced, and the pituitary gland on the other hand, passes the message on to the testes. These transmissions occur through chemicals and hormones in the bloodstream.

Testosterone is associated with overall health and well-being in men. It is involved in the development of male sex hormone before birth up until they reach puberty which mainly responsible for the deepening of voice, penis size and testes size, and growth of facial and body hair. Also, it plays a vital role when it comes to sex drive, sperm production, fat distribution, muscle mass and strength, and red cell production.

Fenugreek is also known as Ram’s Horn Clover, a name which pertains to its sexual function as it was utilized traditionally as an aphrodisiac. The fenugreek used to elevate testosterone levels through fenugreek seed extract. The extract contains active ingredient called fenusides. Fenusides are compound containing some furostanol and steroidal saponins which can naturally stimulate the body to process more testosterone. These saponins are phytochemicals which is essential to how fenugreek benefits testosterone levels.

 

Low Levels of Testosterone 

Testosterone levels gradually decreases with age. Hypogonadism is a condition in which the body doesn’t produce enough testosterone and low levels of testosterone may result to the following symptoms:

  • Diminished sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction or impotence
  • Enlarged breast size
  • Dropping sperm count
  • Hot flashes
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Shrunken and softened testes
  • Hair loss
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Bones are becoming prone to fracture

 

Fenugreek Benefits to Men

1.     Increases healthy testosterone levels

            Based on studies, a dosage 500-600 mg of fenugreek extract per day will not show

any deleterious effects or toxicity . In fact, this amount when taken can increase the

testosterone levels in men.

      2. Improves lean muscle mass and body composition

Studies conducted on animals had shown muscle building properties among the various

fenugreek benefits. A study were conducted on men who are undergoing resistance

training, and studies showed that men who were taking in fenugreek supplements

gained 2 kilograms of muscle mass.

3. Aids in weight loss

Fenugreek is loaded in galactomannan, a healthy polysaccharide that activates fat

breakdown and sugar metabolism in the body leading to the burning of calories and

extra layers of fat from the body in the form of ATP. It drastically decreases calorie

utilization and increases the metabolic rate of the body which leads to calorie

Breakdown.

4. May enhances sex drive

Fenugreek as a testosterone boosting agent can also boost sex drive. A study was

conducted among 60 healthy men age 25 to 52 who took fenugreek extract twice a day

for six weeks have shown improvement on their sex drive as well as their performance.

 

Possible Side Effects

Although fenugreek have shown several benefits, side effects may also occur and it is always best to know these side effects for your own safety. Side effects may include the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fenugreek can cause stomach irritation such as diarrhea as well as abdominal cramps. It is advised to take fenugreek with meals and break large doses into smaller doses throughout the day to decrease this side effects.
  • Maple syrup odor in the sweat and urine
  • Fenugreek contains a highly powerful aromatic compound called solotone which is also present in lovage, some aged rums, and molasses. Solotone passes through the body, and when consumed in heavy amounts, can prompt a sweet maple-y odor in sweat and urine.
  • Hypoglycemia (Low blood sugar levels)
  • Fenugreek may use as treatment for diabetes as it can increase insulin output

resulting to a lower glucose levels. However, taking fenugreek in addition to

anti-diabetic medicine can cause hypoglycemia. Doctor’s recommendation is beneficial before taking in any supplement that contains fenugreek.

  • Allergic reactions
  • While an allergy to fenugreek is possible, severe allergic reactions are rare. However, watch out for possible signs of allergic reactions such as rash, shortness of breath, hives, facial swelling or difficulty breathing. Seek immediate attention if severe allergic reactions appear.