Fenugreek seeds may protect against cancer and improve muscle mass, but they can make your armpits smell like maple syrup.
Image thanks to: Dvortygirl via Wikimedia Commons.
Cancer prevention is all well and good, but there is a side-effect of fenugreek seed consumption, it makes your armpits smell like maple syrup. “Analysis of human male armpit sweat after fenugreek ingestion. And yes, it happens to women too. “In this study, the strong ‘‘maple-syrup’’ odour which appears after fenugreek ingestion was investigated.” They had men plaster some guaze pads into their armpits before and after eating a tablespoon of fenugreek seeds, “sweat was collected over a 24 hour period, and given to a panel of 8, odor assessors to get their take. They described what they smelled as cocoa, roast beef, carrots. … spicy. gravy, honey rose and lilac, peach-like, raspberry. I guess it could be worse. There was one assessor who described one of the fenugreek odor compounds as Musty sweet onion socks. Another agreed, but thought it more like fruity floral socks. Of course there was the boring assessor who was like, uh, smells like fenugreek. This is a harmless phenomenon; the only reason I bring it up is that there is actually a serious congenital disorder, called maple syrup urine disease, branched-chain ketoaciduria. It's completely unrelated but breastfeeding infants with mom’s using fenugreek to boost their milk production may be misdiagnosed. So if you're pregnant or breastfeeding and eating fenugreek, make sure to tell your OB just so they don't worry.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Ashley Rhinehart, RN.
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Make sure you see the "prequel" to this video Benefits of Fenugreek Seeds. What happens to armpit odor of those embracing entire diets full of plants? See Body Odor Diet. Then check out Asparagus Pee for another funky odor video. Fenugreek is certainly something I've been trying to incorporate more into my family's diet based on all this amazing new data. It's strong stuff though! I'd be interested to hear any tips on how folks have been able to sneak it into their diets. I make these mean chia seed-encrusted, dried mangoes that I sprinkle with fenugreek powder using the mix-a-yummy-with-yucky technique of adding less-than-delicious things to one's diet (like putting amla in smoothies). I find home dried mangos so yummy I figure I could rub them with almost anything!
For some context, please check out my associated blog post: Increasing Muscle Strength with Fenugreek
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