Does Fenugreek Increase Testosterone Levels?

Fenugreek is often claimed to be a testosterone booster, but is this claim backed by adequate scientific evidence? Presently, the evidence available is not convincing enough to consider fenugreek to be capable of increasing testosterone.
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Fact about fenugreek to treat low testosterone
Did You Know?
Consumption of fenugreek seems to interfere with the normal absorption of sugar, it also increases production of insulin. So, taking a few fenugreek seeds along with a glass of water may help treat diabetes.
With age, testosterone levels naturally decline in men. Reduction in testosterone levels can lead to loss of muscle mass, increase in weight as well as reduction in sex drive. Among the various advertisements, aimed at boosting low testosterone, use of fenugreek extracts is the prominent one.

Fenugreek extracts are being strongly promoted as a natural supplement that increases testosterone levels. The following Buzzle article highlights the inadequacy in scientific evidence that make fenugreek supplements of little help in improving testosterone levels in the body.

Research
A 2009 study reported in the International Journal of Exercise Science, observed that testosterone levels did not rise in men who were taking fenugreek extract. Indus Biotech, a company that is into the business of making fenugreek, had funded the study.
A 2010 animal study published in 'Phytotherapy Research' observed that a group of mice put on 15-35 mg/kg diet of fenugreek did not show any increase in circulating levels of testosterone.
A small-scale study conducted in 2011, and reported in Phytotherapy Research, observed that supplements containing a combination of fenugreek extracts and minerals may assist men in maintaining testosterone levels in the normal range. In the study, 60 healthy men in the age group of 25 to 52 were randomly assigned a placebo and a combination of fenugreek and mineral supplementation. Subjects in both groups were asked to take their respective medicines daily for a period of 6 weeks.

After the stipulated time, men who were taking the herb and other minerals reported an increase in sex drive and other aspects of libido. Compared to the placebo group, the participants taking herbal extracts had a 25% higher score on tests that measured libido. However, this group did not show any noticeable increase in testosterone levels. So, though the libido improved, the herbal extract failed to increase testosterone significantly.
The findings of a 2010 study published in the Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism are encouraging and hold promise for the use of fenugreek as a testosterone booster. In the study, 30 young men were randomly put on 500 mg fenugreek capsules or a placebo, daily, for a period of 8 weeks. Subjects also engaged in resistance training 4 times a week. After the completion of stipulated period, it was observed that the bio-available (free) testosterone increased by 6.57%, whereas the total testosterone increased by 12.26%. The fat mass also decreased by 1.77%, but there was no substantial change in lean mass.

It is this study that is being cited by the supplement industry to promote fenugreek as a testosterone booster. However, based on just one study, it would be naive to conclude that herbal extract works to enhance testosterone. Further studies are warranted to rate its effectiveness.

While the outcome of a few studies conducted on fenugreek are no doubt promising, it is too early to say that fenugreek is effective in boosting testosterone levels substantially. Further research is needed to determine the efficacy of the herb and its supplements. Fenugreek extracts have not been the subject of a large number of controlled clinical trials. The studies on fenugreek are still in their infancy stage. So, using the herb to increase testosterone merely on the basis of preliminary research is not advisable.

Moreover, the extracts can cause few bothersome side effects including diarrhea, stomach upset, gas, and bloating. Instead of taking the risk of suffering from these side effects, why not prefer some proven natural remedies to boost testosterone. For instance, engaging in high intensity exercises, following a healthy diet, particularly high in zinc, and managing stress can work wonders to enhance testosterone levels.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.
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Published: July 28, 2014
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