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Fenugreek: The Ancient Ingredient That Boosts Strength and Health

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fenugreekFenugreek, despite its odd name, has gained quite a popular reputation. With a history of use in Indian Ayurvedic medicine and a strong base of health savvy users, this plant and its extract is now a well-known supplement. Among those who use this supplement is a growing group of men who are interested in male health related benefits, including an effect on testosterone levels.

When Fenugreek is referred to, it usually means a ground version of the seeds from a certain plant in the Fabaceae family. However, there are also several types of extracts with higher concentrations of certain nutrients. The plant has a variety of different uses; as an herb, as a spice in foods or as an extract for supplementing. All use is considered very safe and only has one interesting, but not at all harmful side effect.

When studied for health effects, Fenugreek stands out in some unique ways. There’s been a growing body of research that is continuing to highlight Fenugreek for its anti-cancer effects. Studies are showing extracts and the seeds themselves can effectively kill cancer cells, but yet spares normal body cells in-vitro (1). This includes some of today’s most common cancers: breast, pancreatic and kidney cells. Which is quite a sought after effect since most of today’s conventional cancer treatments also tend to kill normal human cells. Lastly, as mentioned before, fenugreek has been (and still is) used for Ayurvedic medicine, treating high cholesterol and high triglycerides (2).

Now, for male specific benefits… One of the most interesting effects that have been documented is the ability for a Fenugreek extract to significantly increase strength (3)! Researchers noted that those using a Fenugreek supplement for just 4 weeks began to show increased strength compared to placebo in resistance training. Few herbs have an actual strength boosting effect and even fewer increase strength along with increasing one’s testosterone. An early animal study found that a Fenugreek extract not only increased testosterone, but that the extract had just as strong of an effect as giving straight testosterone (4)! Furthermore, the evidence expands beyond just animal studies too. A recent human study showed a similar effect from Fenugreek seed extract: significantly increased testosterone (specifically total testosterone and free testosterone blood levels)(2). This increased testosterone showed up in subject’s blood stream just mere hours after subjects had supplemented with 600mg of the seed extract.

All of these effects together make Fenugreek an attractive supplement for just about any person, especially those interested in boosting testosterone. The only side effect is that continual use can lead to a person’s sweat having a sweet smell similar to maple syrup, but this isn’t exactly harmful or even undesirable. Besides this, Fenugreek and its extracts provide an extremely safe way to boost testosterone levels and provide health benefits while doing so.

References 

  1. Shabbeer, Shabana, et al. “Fenugreek: a naturally occurring edible spice as an anticancer agent.” Cancer biology & therapy 8.3 (2009): 272.
  2. Thakurdesai, Prasad A., et al. “EFFECTS OF GLYCOSIDES BASED FENUGREEK SEED EXTRACT ON SERUM
  3. TESTOSTERONE LEVELS OF HEALTHY SEDENTARY MALE SUBJECTS: A EXPLORATORY DOUBLE BLIND, PLACEBO CONTROLLED, CROSSOVER STUDY.” Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research 7.3 (2014).
  4. Poole, Chris, et al. “The effects of a commercially available botanical supplement on strength, body composition, power output, and hormonal profiles in resistance-trained males.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 7.1 (2010): 34.
  5. Aswar, Urmila, et al. “Study of Galactomannan on Androgenic and Anabolic Activity in Male Rats.”Pharmacology Online (2008): 56-65.

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Nick Evans is a fully qualified nutritionist and personal trainer. Nick is also currently undertaking a PhD in Food Science at a leading Scottish University. Nick has been a keen bodybuilder throughout his adulthood and is well-versed with health supplements, hence he feels he is in a good position to offer expert advice on testosterone boosters.