You may have recently heard the buzz about Fenugreek seed extract and its effectiveness in aiding weight loss and in managing blood sugar/glucose levels. We dove into the research and now we’ll clear up any questions you may have about Fenugreek.
Just to be clear Fenugreek, or any herb, vitamin, or mineral, for that matter, may not work the same for every person. More often than not weight loss supplements need to have a balanced formula of multiple herbs to work effectively. For example, would you eat only ONE vegetable exclusively to maximize your own health?
Most dietary/weight loss supplements work best when taken in appropriate dosages and in tandem with other supplements, to create synergistic and effective outcomes. The combination and balance achieved with the right combinations of ingredients also helps minimize negative side effects.
Fenugreek (also known as fenigreek, or Greek hay) is an annual herb indigenous primarily to China, Ukraine, India and southern (Mediterranean) Europe. The herb’s dry, ripe seeds contain vitamins (riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, folic acid, as well as vitamins A, B6, C and E), minerals (iron, calcium, copper, selenium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc). Fenugreek leaves are also remarkably rich in vitamin K.
Fenugreek has been shown to be effective for lowering blood sugar after meals. Its seeds contain a unique amino acid not found any mammal’s tissue (4-hydroxyisoleucine), and this particular amino acid is known to normalize glucose metabolism, according to nutritionists. 4-hydroxyisoleucine has been shown to boost insulin production by stimulating the beta cells of the pancreas, where insulin is produced. These glucose-lowering/insulin boosting effects benefit both those who are diabetic and those who are non-diabetic.
On an interesting historical side note, fenugreek was one of the spices used by the ancient Egyptians to embalm their deceased.
Fenugreek extract (NOT the raw seed powder or seeds alone) can be easily found as an over-the-counter supplement, most frequently available in powder or capsule form. Tradition and research have shown many cosmetic and health benefits that come with the consumption of the extract.
Some of the health benefits derived from the consumption of fenugreek are generally accepted to include the following, to some degree or other:
- Cancer prevention. Studies have shown that fibers in fenugreek can help prevent certain types of cancer. For one example, researchers at Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, noted that fenugreek has effects similar to the female sex hormone estrogen and could therefore be a possible alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Other studies have shown that the saponins and mucilage found in the herb bind themselves to toxins in food and “flush” them out, to protect the mucus membrane of the colon from cancers.
- Weight Loss and Management. Fenugreek is rich in soluble fiber, which is known for promoting weight loss, by causing your digestive tract to expand. This effect can make you feel full and goes a long way to better controlling appetite. Insulin is also Furthermore, the thermogenic herb complements exercise and weight loss efforts by increasing energy in the short term, and potentially modulating carbohydrate metabolism. As noted earlier, it also reduces blood sugar levels after eating.
- Anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory potential. A research team, led by Muraleedharan Nair (Michigan State University) and King Saud University (Saudi Arabia) noted beneficial compounds in fenugreek seeds, and showed that certain compounds, including flavonoids and fatty acids, have anti inflammatory properties.
“Our report on the chemistry and biological activity on fenugreek seed extract and isolates is novel,” the researchers reported, also noting in their report that the seed extract and isolates found by them “demonstrated anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.”
They went on to assert that fenugreek seeds are “one of the leading functional foods with health-beneficial claims.”
Researcher S. Kaviarasan noted that “Fenugreek seed extract prevents ethanol-induced toxicity (toxic effects of consuming alcohol) and apoptosis(programmed cell death) in Chang liver cells.”
In other words, Fenugreek seed extract is also shown to alleviate liver dysfunction, particularly the type caused by alcohol consumption.
- Lower cholesterol. Studies that have shown that individuals who consistently consume two ounces of fenugreek daily (over a 24-week period) can significantly lower blood cholesterol levels, as well as notably decrease risk of suffering a heart attack (two ounces of fenugreek powder can easily be sprinkled over food, or taken in capsule form).
- Better digestion. Fenugreek contains mucilage, an adhesive substance that battles digestive inflammation by coating the lining of your stomach and intestines. It can be used to treat dyspepsia, indigestion, diarrhea and stomach ulcers (sprinkle a tablespoon of fenugreek powder onto your food or take a tablespoon of the powder with water or juice before eating).
- Clear complexion. Fenugreek has been hailed for its ability to heal, clear up and soothe minor topical cuts, scratches and infections. Studies have also shown the herb to be an especially effective remedy for skin issues such as eczema, boils, abscesses, burns and even gout (fenugreek powder can be mixed with warm water to create a paste that can then be soaked and dabbed with a cloth onto any affected areas). Fenugreek seed tea is also frequently used as a fever remedy.
- Enhanced libido. Studies have noted a significant positive effect of fenugreek on physiological aspects of a male’s libido, and it also found that it assists in maintaining normal healthy testosterone levels. The estrogenic effects already mentioned are also effective in enhancing female libido.
Another benefit of Fenugreek is 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which is believed to boost insulin production by stimulation of the beta cells of the pancreas, which secretes insulin.
With all these benefits and this compelling research, it’s no wonder we chose to add it to our amazing new IdealCarb Blocker! As well, IdealCarb Blocker is nicely engineered with a balance of Fenugreek seed extract and other weight loss supplements like cinnamon bark, berberis aristata, trans-resveratrol, and r-alpha lipioc acid, which I will also be researching and reviewing in subsequent articles. The combination of ingredients increases benefits and reduces side effects.
— Jonathan W. Crowell