1 Can Fenugreek Help Increase Testosterone? | Manual

Can Fenugreek Help Increase Testosterone?

Fenugreek
Medically approved by
Dr Earim Chaudry
Last updated
13th August 2020

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Fenugreek has been an important ingredient in traditional medicine for thousands of years, and it’s still valued today for its health benefits.
A number of scientific studies have examined the link between fenugreek and testosterone, finding some evidence that fenugreek supplements can help maintain or increase men’s testosterone levels. 
Fenugreek supplements also seem to have a positive impact on men’s physical fitness, sex drive, and energy.
However, larger long-term studies are needed to help us better understand the benefits and side effects of fenugreek.

There’s a good chance you’ve already come across fenugreek in your favourite curry dish! The aromatic seeds of the fenugreek plant are a staple in Indian cuisine, and its nutritious leaves are eaten like spinach or salad greens. 

But did you know that fenugreek has long been valued for its medicinal properties too? Fenugreek has been used to treat ailments across the world – from labour pains in Ancient Rome to leg weakness in traditional Chinese medicine. The Ancient Egyptians even used it to help embalm mummies…

And still, today, fenugreek is thought to possess powerful health benefits. For example, it contains the compound 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which helps to stabilise glucose metabolism, potentially providing treatment for blood sugar issues such as diabetes.

As fenugreek has traditionally been used to boost libido and enhance masculinity, researchers have begun to examine whether fenugreek might increase testosterone in men. In this article, we assess the scientific evidence to date: Can fenugreek really help to boost your testosterone levels?

What’s So Important About Testosterone?

Testosterone is an androgen (male sex hormone) produced mainly in your testes, responsible for male characteristics such as body hair and a deep voice. It’s essential for fertility, as testosterone regulates the production of healthy sperm and plays a part in sexual arousal. In addition, testosterone is necessary to maintain muscle mass and bone density, as well as red blood cell production.

So when your body doesn’t make enough testosterone to meet its needs, you can find yourself experiencing the symptoms of low testosterone (also called hypogonadism). These include fatigue, loss of libido, and brittle bones.

For severe cases of low testosterone, testosterone replacement therapy may be prescribed. However, many men with slightly lowered testosterone levels are keen to find natural ways to boost their body’s hormone production. Fenugreek supplements are thought to help in this way – but do they really work?

Fenugreek and Testosterone: The Evidence

So far, only a few studies have been conducted to examine the link between fenugreek and testosterone, with mixed results. A 2010 study looked at 49 men participating in resistance training over 8 weeks, while taking a 500mg fenugreek supplement every day. They found that the men significantly improved their strength and body fat levels, and slightly increased their testosterone levels.

A further study in 2011 took place over 6 weeks and included 60 men, who were given a 600mg fenugreek supplement enriched with minerals. The researchers reported improvements in the men’s sex drive, ability to orgasm, muscle strength, and energy levels – but no significant impact on testosterone. However, they suggested that the supplement may help to “maintain” healthy testosterone levels.

Another study in 2016 was focused on older men, between the ages of 43 and 75. The 120 participants took a 600mg fenugreek supplement every day for 12 weeks. They filled in questionnaires about androgen deficiency symptoms and their testosterone levels were also tested. The study found that the men’s symptoms improved and their testosterone levels increased.

Finally, a 2017 study of 50 men looked at the effects of taking a daily 500mg fenugreek supplement enriched with protodioscin (a plant compound considered to boost sexual desire), for 12 weeks. The researchers found that free testosterone levels improved by up to 46% in 90% of the participants.

So there is certainly some promising evidence for fenugreek as a natural remedy to boost testosterone. However, larger long-term studies are needed to investigate the properties of fenugreek further. In addition, the 2010 and 2017 studies above were funded by the manufacturers of fenugreek supplements, so they can’t be considered to be completely impartial.

Fenugreek Side Effects

If you’re thinking of taking a fenugreek supplement to boost testosterone, it’s important to seek medical advice first. Supplementing with fenugreek could interact with existing medications and may not be suitable for you if your testosterone levels are severely low.

There is some research that suggests fenugreek could reduce fertility in males, as a result of oxidative stress and DNA damage, and that it could produce neurodevelopmental and neurobehavioural side effects.

A further strange, but apparently harmless, side effect of fenugreek supplementation is that it can make bodily secretions (like urine) smell like maple syrup. This is caused by a metabolite called sotolon.

Key Takeaways…

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The scientific evidence to date suggests that fenugreek may have a positive effect on testosterone levels, either increasing them or maintaining healthy testosterone production. Further impartial studies are needed to strengthen the case for using fenugreek supplements in this way.

If you’re looking to increase your testosterone levels naturally, a great place to start is your lifestyle. A healthy diet, regular exercise, giving up smoking, and reducing the amount of alcohol you drink – all of these practices are known to help boost testosterone, and improve your overall health and wellbeing.

References

  1. Examine.com -Fenugreek: https://examine.com/supplements/fenugreek/

  2. Chris Poole, Brandon Bushey, Cliffa Foster, Bill Campbell, Darryn Willoughby, Richard Kreider, Lem Taylor and Colin Wilborn (2010). The effects of a commercially available botanical supplement on strength, body composition, power output, and hormonal profiles in resistance-trained malesa: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2978122/

  3. Elizabeth Steels Amanda Rao and  Luis Vitetta (2011). Physiological aspects of male libido enhanced by standardized Trigonella foenum-graecum extract and mineral formulation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21312304

  4. Amanda RaoElizabeth SteelsWarrick J InderSuzanne AbrahamLuis Vitetta (2016). Testofen, a specialised Trigonella foenum-graecum seed extract reduces age-related symptoms of androgen decrease, increases testosterone levels and improves sexual function in healthy aging males in a double-blind randomised clinical study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26791805

  5. Anuj Maheshwari, Narsingh Verma, Anand Swaroop, Manashi Bagchi, Harry G. Preuss, Kiran Tiwari and Debasis Bagchi(2017). Efficacy of FurosapTM, a novel Trigonella foenum-graecum seed extract, in Enhancing Testosterone Level and Improving Sperm Profile in Male Volunteers: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5278660/

  6. Mounir OuzirKhalid El BairiSaaïd Amzazi(2016). Toxicological properties of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27498339/

While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

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