Benefits of Fenugreek Seeds

Benefits of Fenugreek Seeds
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The spice fenugreek appears to significantly improve muscle strength and weightlifting power output, while possessing anticancer properties in vitro.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“The effects of a commercially available botanical supplement on strength, body composition, power output, and hormonal profiles in resistance-trained males.” Something “had a significant impact on both upper- and lower-body strength and body composition in comparison to placebo in a double blind controlled trial. These changes were obtained with no clinical side effects.” Allowed these men to leg press an extra hundred pounds, compared to placebo.

And, the magical substance was fenugreek, “a naturally occurring edible spice” that appears to double “as an anticancer agent.” Here’s prostate cancer cells in a petri dish; here’s prostate cancer with a little fenugreek. Here’s another type of cancer, before and after.

What about normal prostate cells, though? Before fenugreek, and after. That’s what we like to see.­­ “In summary, fenugreek seeds [may] possess potent anti-cancer properties.”

So, what’s the downside? Find out in tomorrow’s video-of-the-day [Side Effect of Fenugreek Consumption].

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Rillke via Wikimedia and nyrnaturalnews

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“The effects of a commercially available botanical supplement on strength, body composition, power output, and hormonal profiles in resistance-trained males.” Something “had a significant impact on both upper- and lower-body strength and body composition in comparison to placebo in a double blind controlled trial. These changes were obtained with no clinical side effects.” Allowed these men to leg press an extra hundred pounds, compared to placebo.

And, the magical substance was fenugreek, “a naturally occurring edible spice” that appears to double “as an anticancer agent.” Here’s prostate cancer cells in a petri dish; here’s prostate cancer with a little fenugreek. Here’s another type of cancer, before and after.

What about normal prostate cells, though? Before fenugreek, and after. That’s what we like to see.­­ “In summary, fenugreek seeds [may] possess potent anti-cancer properties.”

So, what’s the downside? Find out in tomorrow’s video-of-the-day [Side Effect of Fenugreek Consumption].

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Rillke via Wikimedia and nyrnaturalnews

Doctor's Note

This reminds me of the whole beet juice saga on improving athletic performance. My ten-part video series began with Doping With Beet Juice, and ended with So Should We Drink Beet Juice or Not? Other plants with apparently remarkable benefits include amla (see, for example, Amla Versus Diabetes); saffron (Saffron for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s); the tea plant (Dietary Brain Wave Alteration); and, humble broccoli (Broccoli Versus Breast Cancer Stem Cells). More on the power of plants in general in Power Plants, and spices like fenugreek, in particular, in Antioxidants in a Pinch. See what a whole diet of plants can do to prostate cancer growth at Ex Vivo Cancer Proliferation Bioassay.

For further context, check out my associated blog posts: Increasing Muscle Strength with Fenugreek and Cinnamon for Diabetes.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

68 responses to “Benefits of Fenugreek Seeds

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      1. Your’re so right….I had to fend off a crowd of pancake eaters at IHOP. They kept grabbing a stacks of pancakes with each hand and tried to dab them in my armpits. I was screaming, “ITS FENUGREEK ARMPIT JUICE…LEAVE ME ALONE!!!”




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      1. I think there might be an error in the video. It says that fenugreek allowed athletes to leg-press an extra 100 pounds vs placebo. The results in the background seem to point to an extra 50 pounds vs placebo and 100 pounds vs before training.




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        1. Hi, the chart is in kg, not lbs. Dr Greger is pointing out the difference between fenugreek supplement and placebo at the end of the trial period, 419-364 kg = 55 kg, or 121 lbs. more weight on the leg press for fenugreek vs placebo.




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  1. POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT! Actually it’s usually touted as an upside: fenugreek as a galactagogue, to increase breastmilk production… but if you don’t need it: oversupply. Ouch. This vegan family avoids it in food, never mind the supplements.




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    1. how if it is used by youngsters in grind power form with water in morning, thn also will it side affect breast? should in discountinue using it?
      plz reply




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  2. Do you know of any studies on successful toenail fungus treatments? Also, which vegan foods tend to cause sinus congestion, mucus, etc.? What causes red scaly skin on the cheeks and what can be done about it?

    Thanks




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    1. Hopefully your toenail fungus has improved since your post but if it hasn’t, apple cider vinegar works great. My wife had a case of fungus since she was a child and it was pretty bad. After soaking her feet for 20 minutes every day in diluted apple cider vinegar, her feet were 100% fungus free in about 1 year. It was the first time in her life that she felt comfortable wearing sandals. Her case was pretty severe so if it is minor you may see results in a shorter time frame.




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    1. The study used a standardized extract:

      500 mg of Fenugreek (Torabolic ™ Trigonella Foenum-Graecum) (standardized for 70% Trigimannose)

      The term “Trigimannose” appears nowhere else in the literature, but from the name its obviously one of the mannose polysaccarides found in Trigonella. If Trigimannose is the tetramannose this patent claims muscle building benefits from, then the 350 mg Trigimannose in each capsule would be equivalent to consuming 10.93 grams, or 1 Tbsp, of whole fenugreek seed (assuming there’s no other elements in the whole seed that interfere with digestion or the anabolic effect).




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      1. Darryl, could you provide the source you used determine that 350mg of the compound is equivalent to 10.9 g, or 1 Tbsp of whole fenugreek seed?

        FYI I also found a mistake in the above.. It’s 2 capsule of Torobolic = 350 not 1 capsule as you say above.

        According to the label of Torobolic (the supplement used in the study), the recommended dose is 2 capsules/daily. The total dose (both capsules together) contain a total of 350mg of 70% Trigaminose (the active ingredient aka extract). Hence both capsules together contain 350mg trigaminose, so one capsule contains 175mg.

        http://www.amazon.com/MET-Rx-Torabolic-quik-creat-60-count/dp/B00AUDW9UG/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1392585165&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=torabolic




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      2. FYI I also found a mistake in the above info. It’s actually 2 capsules of Torabolic = 350 Trigimannose not 1 capsule as said in the above post.

        Darryl, could you please provide the source you used determine that 350mg of Trigimannose is equivalent to 10.9 g, or 1 Tbsp of whole fenugreek seed? I’m interested in finding a different source of fenugreek than Torabolic but getting the same dose as used in the study. (The reason I don’t want to use Torobolic, is that it contains the artificial coloring titanium dioxide). http://nutritionfacts.org/video/titanium-dioxide-inflammatory-bowel-disease/

        According to the label of Torobolic (the supplement used in the study Dr. Greger does on Fenugreek), the recommended dose is 2 capsules/daily. The total dose (both capsules together) contain a total of 350mg of 70% Trigimannose (the active ingredient aka extract). Hence if two capsules contain 350mg trigaminose, then one capsule contains 175mg.

        http://www.amazon.com/MET-Rx-T




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  3. “This work was funded by Indus Biotech” – bottom of page 8. Indus Biotech are the makers of the supplement Torabolic used in this study. Should be mentioned for full disclosure.




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  4. ‘Just Do It App’ for ingesting fennel: Take a bite of banana. Chew it a bit. Add 1/8 or more teaspoon fennel seed. Mix – do not chew – and swallow. Repeat until 1 teaspoon is gone :)




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  5. Hi Dr. G,
    How
    much should I be taking every day to build strength and muscle mass? I
    have been doing about a tablespoon of ground seeds. Enough? Too much?
    I
    noticed today that my arm pits didn’t smell bad even after a sweaty
    workout (I had forgotten to put on deodorant too!) I like that side
    effect. Also like the cancer fighting part!

    Thanks,
    Tumeria




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  6. After viewing this video, I began drinking fenugreek tea daily (1 tablespoon organic fenugreek seeds in water) and eating the seeds at the end of the day. I’ve experienced benefits not even mentioned in the video, but in further research found the following on the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Integrative Medicine website:

    Contraindications: Fenugreek acts as an estrogenic receptor modulator and was shown to stimulate breast cancer cells in vitro (26). Patients with hormonal-sensitive cancers should avoid this product.
    How does this contraindication measure up with the data on fenugreek’s effect on prostate cancer cells? I don’t want to discontinue my fenugreek consumption, but I also don’t want to encourage breast cancer.
    Thanks so much for all your tremendous work in promoting plant-based diets and nutritional research!




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  7. Not sure if i’m on the up and up with this video. As one person stated “This work was funded by Indus Biotech” – bottom of page 8. Indus Biotech are the makers of the supplement Torabolic used in this study. Should be mentioned for full disclosure” I did a google search on Indus Biotech Torabolic, below will be the first link in the search. I was excited to watch this video, seeing as i’m all but vegan now and prefer it that way and i also go to the gym 5 days a week, i’ve noticed i’ve lost a little strength and some size, so any way to gain some of what i lost back i would be interested in, but not after what i found in the google search. I can’t take something, let alone believe in it, that MET-Rx is pushing, ie Torabolic. I’d call myself one of your biggest fans Dr. but i’m not agreeing with you on this one




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  8. Not to try to cause any disinformation here but: Been taking fenugreek for 2 weeks since this video came out… I’m most
    always 204 lbs when working out… weighed myself 5 weeks ago – 204
    lbs… weighed myself 2 days ago 210.5 then i looked up some side
    effects and apparently it is used as a appetite enhancer… and people
    use it to gain weight… may help the skin vegans but I’m naturally
    muscley and get fat easily. so I have to be careful with stuff like
    this… in those 2 weeks didn;t notice any strength improvement at the
    gym.




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    1. I buy a package of the whole seeds and then grind them up in a coffee grinder. The same way I do with flax seeds. You could grind up a whole weeks worth and store in the freezer or refrigerator. Then use as needed during the week.




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  9. I’ve also heard it can be used as a natural breast enhancement, seems possible as it contributes to the production of milk, but how true is this information?
    Thank you for your response




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  10. Where in the study are you getting an extra hundred pounds on the Leg Press? On the table from the video the gains in leg press strength for fenugreek and placebo are:

    Fenugreek: (419 – 334) = 85 lbs (25% increase)
    Placebo: (364 – 316) = 48 lbs (15% increase)

    That looks to me like Fenugreek gave an extra 37 lbs on the Leg Press which is within the margin of error. Am I missing something?




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    1. I didn’t analyze the data, but wouldn’t be surprised to find dubious claims. The study was about a proprietary extract, and funded by the producing company: Indus Biotech.

      Up to now, as far as I know, these results have not been replicated.




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    2. You are correct. And let’s not forget that the specific supplement used in this study and funding this study, Torobolic, contained a known ergogenic supplement. This trashy study didn’t control for CREATINE, hence Dr. Greger should delete it. It is worse than anything Atkins ever marketed.




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    3. Hi, the chart is in kg, not lbs. Dr Greger is pointing out the difference between fenugreek supplement and placebo at the end of the trial period, 419-364 kg = 55 kg, or 121 lbs. more weight on the leg press for fenugreek vs placebo.




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      1. That’s not accurate. 419-364 kg doesn’t give you the difference between the fenugreek group and the control group. 419 -364 is the difference between the fenugreek group at the end of the experiment minus the fenugreek group at the start. The control group, which was also lifting weights, went to 364 from 316. Therefore the fenugreek group increased their 1 rep max on the leg press by 37 kg (81 lbs) more than the control group. At first glance that seems okay, but the margin of error was at least 63 kg.




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        1. Hi Greg, I think you maybe looked at a wrong number above, this is just clarifying for the record. I am looking at the numbers you correctly transcribed in your original comment (taken from 0:33 in the video) that show that the fenugreek group at the start is 334 kg, not 364 kg.

          I’m just trying to explain what Dr. Greger was referring to when he said “[the supplement] allowed these men to leg press an extra hundred pounds, compared to placebo” – he’s referring to the end of the study period, by my calculations, 121 pounds. I’m just trying to say, he’s not making that up from nowhere.

          You correctly point out a different (and I would agree, a more telling) measure, the difference in the improvements was 81 pounds greater for the fenugreek supplement group.

          Regarding whether the results are indicative of anything – you’re right that the spread in results for both groups was great. (I think this was due to differences in strength among study subjects, and would be expected due to the diversity of the subjects. It appears it is not due to error such one might see with outlier datapoints.) The finding is highly statistically significant, suggesting that there were few if any outlier datapoints to detract from the significance of the finding for the leg press. The results showed statistical significance for that finding at the p < 0.001 level (likelihood of the weight increase being due to the supplement and not to any other factor is 999 out of 1000). To me, 81 lbs additional on your 1rm (apparently less if you're starting out weaker, more if you're starting out stronger) than you would have had otherwise, is huge.

          Please let me know if I've made a mistake somewhere, I make math errors sometimes, thanks!




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  11. The next time you make a vegetable stir fry, sprinkle in some fenugreek powder as it cooks. It adds a subtle and delicious flavor. It’s like a secret ingredient for tasty stir fry!




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  12. We sprout fenugreek seeds, adding them to salads, stir fry, sandwiches, and smoothies. It is an everyday food for us. We also, use it medicinally, along with marshmallow, and thyme, with respiratory illness.




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  13. AYURVEDIC RECIPES WITH FENUGREEK SEEDS ( MENTHULU )
    1. RECIPE FOR STOMACHACHE

    IN ENGLISH :

    fenugreek seeds powder – 1 spoon
    butter milk – 1 glass

    mix the above and drink.

    uses – stomachache will be cured.

    2 . RECIPE FOR BOILS

    IN ENGLISH :

    fenugreek seeds – 1 part
    wheat flour – 1 part

    mix the above ,grind well and apply on the boils.

    uses – boils will be cured.

    3 . RECIPE FOR LACTATING MOTHERS TO IMPROVE MILK

    IN ENGLISH :

    fenugreek seeds – 10 gm
    indian asparagus powder – 10 gm
    milk – 1 cup

    mix all the above and take once a day.

    uses – improves milk in the breast feeding mothers

    http://excellent-ayurvedicsolutions.blogspot.com/2012/01/ayurvedic-recipes-with-fenugreek-seeds.html




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  14. I have soaked the seeds in water and then drink the juice. I also have grown the resulting sprouts in pots. They’re really tasty alone or in salads! I get the seeds from Mountain Rose herb company.




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  15. Some serious red flags here. First off, as others posted below, this study was funded by makers of a specific supplement. second, and more important by far, is the fact that the supplement has CREATINE in it. CREATINE is a proven strength enhancer. To give placebo vs CREATINE is not a very reliable study model. How’d you let this one slip by, Dr. Greger?! This is more like Dr. oz, not you, and you should delete this post in its entirety.




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    1. There is a Torobolic ™ fenugreek supplement without creatine in it, though it seems less widely marketed than the one with creatine. I saw it through on online image search for Torobolic. Seems like the study used just the simple product without creatine…”Daily supplementation of 500 mg of the commercially available fenugreek supplement (Torabolic(tm)),” specifically, “The independent variable was the nutritional supplement Trigonella foenum-graecum.”




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  16. Dr. Greger, Did the study mention the mechanism of how Fenugreek increased upper and lower body strength and composition? I suspect fenugreek catalyzes our ability to synthesize endogenous growth hormone at faster rate? … would really like to know the mechanism, do a Video for the NERDS! :)




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  17. I have used fenugreek, dried form in capsules, successfully to gently and effectively dry up nasal passages. A couple with a glass of water. Head colds disappear within a few hours. Less effective with allergy drippy noses.




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  18. As a “Guest” noted farther below in this thread a few years ago…

    The following is from the entry for fenugreek at the website of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) – see https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-c

    “Fenugreek acts as an estrogen receptor modulator and was shown to stimulate breast cancer cells in vitro (26). Patients with hormonal-sensitive cancers should avoid this product.”

    (26) – Sreeja S, Anju VS, Sreeja S. In vitro estrogenic activities of fenugreek Trigonella foenum graecum seeds. Indian J Med Res. 2010 Jun;131:814-9.

    The entry also remarks “[f]enugreek has anticancer properties but human studies are needed.”

    I’m curious how this should affect our regard for fenugreek.

    NOTE: Nearly this same comment is posted in the thread below the video for “What about gurmar, jamun, bitter melon, and fenugreek?” – http://nutritionfacts.org/questions/gurmar-jamun-bitter-melon-and-fenugreek/




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  19. Dr Greger, Fenugreek leaves, also called “Methi”, is very common in Indian diets. Any research findings on them?




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  20. Fenugreek seeds and powder are readily available at your local Indian grocers – do not pay the higher cost for supplements. The seeds are easily sprouted and are a compatible addition to an eclectic, raw salad. The powder blends well into a smoothie. Yes – my armpits smell like maple syrup…




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  21. What about Fenugreek and hemocromatosis, it seems that these seeds are packed with iron 33,5 mg per 100 g. It there any way to benefit of the fenugreek seed without the heavy ironload?




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  22. Hello,

    Can you please address the link between consuming fenugreek seeds and it promoting estrogen? If excess amounts of estrogen stimulate cancer, wouldn’t the seeds be bad to ingest?

    In the book How Not to Die, Dr. Gregor states that fenugreek may benefit people who are actively fit. I purchased a bag to consume, but am hesitant to commit to it without knowing more.

    Thank you for your help.




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  23. Hi, macode. You can find out about the side effects of consuming fenugreek seeds here. There are many documented benefits attributed to eating them, and I am not aware of any harmful effects. The only effects on cancer appear to be protective. Many plants have both pro-estrogenic and anti-estrogenic effects, providing benefits without adverse effects. You might be interested in this article. I hope that helps!




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