A commonly used ingredient in supplement stacks for men is fenugreek seed extract. Trigonella foenum-graecum L. (the fenugreek plant) is a herb native to western Asia, southern Europe and the Mediterraneans, traditionally used as a spice and as a medicine. The plant has been already known to Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine and is used to help for stomach irritations, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, obesity, menstrual pain, kidney problems and a number of other conditions. Breast-feeding women take its seeds to promote milk flow. Manufacturers often include fenugreek extract or seeds in supplements for men because of the saponins it contains. These natural chemical compounds are claimed to raise libido and testosterone levels.
Fenugreek and testosterone
The existing body of clinical research on humans doesn’t confirm convincingly that the fenugreek testosterone correlation exists, which is one of the reasons men use this supplement. There is much stronger evidence that fenugreek boosts libido. If your primary goal is to raise your testosterone, you could give the seeds (or a supplement stack with fenugreek extract) a try – it might work for you although don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t work as expected. Some lab research indicated fenugreek’s effectiveness in increasing testosterone (link), however other studies couldn’t confirm any effect on the hormonal profile (link).
If you’d rather improve your libido, the seeds might be your natural supplement of choice. This effect has been scientifically proven (link).
The active agent in fenugreek are the furostanol saponins (saponin glycosides with an ether linkage at C-26). Saponins can also be found in tribulus terrestris, which is considered to improve libido for sure but to be only a possible testosterone booster.
Furostanol saponins are claimed to increase the testosterone level in humans in two ways:
- by stimulating the pituitary and triggering the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) which is carried by blood to the testicles where LH stimulates the production of testosterone.
- by stimulating the adrenal gland to secrete dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). DHEA is then converted into testosterone.
Fenugreek dosage for men
If you take pills or capsules the dosage for men should be about 500-600mg daily of standardized fenugreek extract (Testofen contains 50% of it).
If you eat plain seeds, a dose of 2-5g should be effective.
Most stacks or pills however have a recommended dosage which should be not exceeded. If there are other components of the stack, they also play a role in setting the dosage for the whole stack. Observe the recommended intake of the stack to not to overdose other ingredients.
How to take fenugreek
Fenugreek is included in many testosterone or libido boosting stacks. You can just pick your favorite stack with fenugreek conveniently added in the recommended dosage. Fenugreek extract testosterone stacks should of course contain other testosterone boosting ingredients as well. If you’d prefer to compose your own stack or just take fenugreek on it’s own, take pills / capsules like e.g. Testofen which is made of standardized fenugreek seed extract based on the scientific research performed by Gencor Pacific.
Fenugreek side effects
Is fenugreek safe? If you are not allergic to fenugreek, the possible side effect are falling into the unpleasant category, not into the dangerous one. You might be allergic if you’re also allergic to green peas, peanuts or soybeans. Other than that the side effects if any would be limited to diarrhea, bloating, stomach upset and a characteristic maple syrup-like odor of urine.
Fenugreek might also lower blood sugar (and help you lose weight).
Fenugreek benefits for men
The three main benefits from supplementing seeds or extract are claimed to be:
- improving your libido (yes),
- increasing your testosterone levels (not sure), and
- losing weight (to some extent).
Where to buy fenugreek
Thanks to the fenugreek popularity as an ingredient of supplements you can buy it along other supplements in the most online shops, like e.g. Amazon.com. In case of supplement stacks containing fenugreek that are sold via a manufacturer’s website only (like Testofuel), you might have to order it via such a website.
Based on the results of the lab research available now (2016) this natural supplement is recommended if your goal is to enhance your libido. If you want to increase your testosterone levels, it might work for you, however there is no convincing scientific evidence (yet).
(image credit: Sid Wood, “Fenugreek seeds”, Freerangestock.com)