Fenugreek Seed Extract benefits
In recent years, the consumption of herbal supplements in the United States has been increasing. According to the HerbalGram report, sales in 2017 was increased by 8.5 %, which is the fastest increase in US herbal supplements in the past 15 years, surpassing $8 billion for the first time, more and more consumers are promoting the development of some herbal supplement market, such as turmeric, green tea, cranberries and echinacea. Interestingly, another herb that has seen a huge increase in main herbal market in the United States is “Fenugreek Seed Extract”. As per HerbalGram report , compared with the year of 2016, Fenugreek Seed Extract sales was increased by 33.5% in 2017 , which shows that this herb is in a stage of rapid development. Now , let’s talk about what Fenugreek is , as well as Fenugreek Seed Extract benefits.
What is Fenugreek Seed Extract?
Fenugreek, or scientifically known as Trigonella foenum-graecum, is one of the most ancient medicinal plants known for its many health benefits. Fenugreek’s use has been recognized as early as 1500 BC when ancient Eyptians used it for inducing childbirth and embalming. Popular in Indian and Middle Eastern cultures, fenugreek is mainly used today as flavoring in cooking and as a supplement for a variety of health conditions. The active ingredients that Fenugreek Seed Extract mainly contains are saponins and 4-hydroxyisoleucine(4-HIL)
Fenugreek Seed Extract benefits
Traditionally, fenugreek is known for its blood-sugar management propertie, but recent research has shown that it also has many health properties in other fields, including women’s health (by reducing menopausal symptoms) and men’s health(by promoting healthy testosterone levels and sexual function). Fenugreek also has potential benefits in fighting stress and anxiety.
Reduces menopausal symptoms
Fenugreek contains hormone regulated compounds. Previous studies have found the effects of plant estrogen and the ability of these compounds to bind to estrogen receptors. A recent randomized, placebo-controlled study by the University of Sydney Medical School, Australia, assessed the effects of fenugreek seed extract on menopausal symptoms.
The study recruited 115 women between the ages of 40 and 65 with menopausal symptoms, and randomly divided them into placebo and control groups. Participants were given 600mg of fenugreek seed extract or an equivalent dose of placebo daily for a duration of 12 weeks. The results showed that compared with the placebo group, participants who supplemented fenugreek had significantly reduced menopausal symptoms, including vasoconstriction, mental activity, physical and sexual symptoms, and also experienced hot flashes and night sweats in improving vasoconstriction symptoms. The researchers also tested the levels of estradiol in both groups and the results showed that the two groups were basically the same, therefore, fenugreek extract may be an effective choice for women to fight menopausal symptoms.
Relieves stress and anxiety
An Indian study also found that fenugreek fiber enhances the bioavailability of curcumin. In a double-blind, placebo controlled study, 60 participants with anxiety and occupational stress fatigue were randomly divided into three groups, including curcumin-fenugreek complex, standard curcumin, and placebo(500 mg twice a day) for a 30 days trial time.
The researchers monitored the treatment by simplifying the health questionnaire( SF-36, a measure of quality of life) and the antioxidant activity in the blood. The results showed that the curcumin-fenugreek group was significantly better than the standard curcumin and placebo groups. The quality of life of the subjects in curcumin-fenugreek group improved significantly, including reducing stress, anxiety and fatigue. Also, antioxidant function and oxidative stress blood markers also showed significant improvement, including enhancement of endogenous antioxidant status and reduction of lipid peroxidation, which indicated that they were effective in relieving occupational stress fatigue.
Men’s testosterone levels will drop by 1-2 % a year after the age of 40. This decline may be associated with reduced sexual activity and desire, as well as musculoskeletal and metabolic health problems. A recent 12-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study by the University of Sydney showed that fenugreek extract is a natural way to increase testosterone levels and improve androgen deficiency symptoms.
In this study, 120 healthy men aged 43 to 75 were recruited, they took 600mg of fenugreek extract or equivalent placebo daily. Researchers used the AMS (Aging Male Symptom Scale) questionnaire to assess the results of the study, mainly on the psychological, physical, and sexual parameters associated with androgen deficiency. They also tested subjects for sexual function, serum counts, and free testosterone levels.
Compared with placebo, fenugreek supplements significantly reduced the AMS score and improved sexual function, especially the number of erections in the morning and the frequency of sexual activity. After a 12-week of fenugreek supplementation, the subjects’total and free testosterone levels showed significantly increased, which indicated its effectiveness in improving parameters associated with androgen deficiency.
Lowers postprandial blood sugar
It is well known that fenugreek lowers blood sugar. A recent study carried out by the Malaysian research team, they added fenugreek seed powder to high-sugar bread and dried bread to determine the effect of fenugreek on changing the glycemic response and glycemic index of foods.
In this randomized and cross-controlled trial, 10 healthy adults took bread and dried bread with or without fenugreek seed powder on six different occasions, and blood samples were taken between 0-120 minutes after the meal. The results showed that the blood sugar concentration of bread and dried bread that contained fenugreek seed powder was significantly lower. Adding fenugreek powder can significantly reduce the blood sugar index of bread, the average value of which dropped from 82 to 51, and dried bread from 63 to 43. These indicate that fenugreek seed powder can partially replace refined flour, which is a good choice for reducing postprandial blood sugar levels.