If you’ve been staying up-to-date with the current wellness trends, adaptogens are hot.
These herbal/fungal/plant superfoods are sweeping the country, charming everyone with their ability to help us adapt to stressors in our crazy lives.
They’re also big in the fitness industry as well.
Between the barbells and BCAAs, bodybuilders and physique trainers are looking to adaptogenic supplements for enhanced recovery, better performance in the gym, and optimized gains overall.
One of these outstanding adaptogens is an herb called fenugreek.
Best Fenugreek Supplements:
Kickass name aside, it packs a serious nutritional punch that may just catapult your physique, health, and performance into the future of fitness.
In this article, we’ll go over the specifics of fenugreek, what the benefits are, how to dose as a supplement, and potential side effects.
Plus, we’ll review the top supplements available on the market today, so you can get some superfood into your life ASAP.
If you’re ready to learn way too much about fenugreek, scroll on down!
What is Fenugreek?
Interestingly enough, fenugreek (scientific name: Trigonella foenum-graecum) is an herb that’s also a member of the pea family in terms of genetics.
The plant comes from North Africa, Mediterranean Europe (sometimes referred to as “Greek hay”), and the Middle East, along with Egypt and India.
It’s light green, with white flowers and small yellowish-brown seeds that are flat and really aromatic.
The plant grows to be two to three feet in height, and the seeds – where the adaptogen superfood has it’s slew of benefits – are somewhat bitter.
But that hasn’t stopped civilizations from using it as medicine.
Asian cultures and alternative medicine (Ayurvedic practices) have used it to treat skin conditions and other diseases.
Egyptians used fenugreek as an embalming agent, while the Greeks and Romans used it for cattle fodder.
However, the most recent (and most common) use is in cooking.
A frequent household spice and a thickening agent for food, Indian and Asian recipes usually call for fenugreek powder or seeds – typically dried and ground – due to the kickass nutritional profile and nutty, semi-sweet taste when cooked.
Also, fenugreek is used in products like soap and shampoo (as a thickening agent).
It isn’t necessarily something you’d eat in large quantities. A tablespoon “serving” of whole fenugreek seeds nets you 35 calories, 3 grams of fiber and protein each, 20% of your daily iron, and 3-7% of your daily needs in manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, and vitamin B6.
With such a wide-ranging nutritional profile, you can be sure fenugreek has an equally-wide range of benefits..
Fenugreek Supplement Benefits
Considering it’s an adaptogen, a superfood, and an herbal supplement, you can be sure fenugreek has got your back with numerous advantages:
- Clears up digestive system: As you will see with other benefits on this list, fenugreek is a major component in your digestive and gut health. The entire eating process is made better with it, including alleviating upset stomachs, constipation, inflammation in the stomach, and heartburn. This is due to the water-soluble fiber in the seeds.
- Improves cholesterol levels: Those with heart conditions could also be helped by adding some fenugreek to the diet. It effectively lowers triglycerides – high concentration of these leads to risk of stroke – as well as your LDL (a.k.a. the bad cholesterol). It does all of this without affecting your HDL (good cholesterol) and could help people who are diabetic.
- Levels out blood sugar and helps with diabetes: To continue with your blood and heart, fenugreek also improves general carbohydrate tolerance in healthy individuals. Plus, it reduces blood sugar levels when used in a consistent eating regimen. This is either due to fenugreek’s ability to increase insulin function or it’s high fiber content.
- Controls appetite and hinders eating disorders: When you take fenugreek, you don’t take in as much fat when you eat. Appetite is also suppressed. A few studies have shown a seemingly spontaneous reduction in fat intake, as well as overall calories. Blunting hunger and lowering high-calorie fat intake are two really healthy steps to burning body fat and getting lean. Weirdly enough, it also enhances appetite. Fenugreek actually motivates eating patterns, so it could help with anorexia or other food disorders.
- Reduces inflammation: Quite possibly one of the most crucial effects fenugreek has on our bodies is the lowering of inflammation within our systems. Inflammation is lowered in multiple areas, including heartburn, digestive inflammation, mouth ulcers, boils, kidney ailments, bronchitis, subcutaneous infections, tuberculosis, and chronic coughs. It could even reduce inflammation in cancer patients. Fenugreek slows the absorption of sugar, breaks up stuck energies as a “phlegm mover,” and has been shown to treat arthritis.
- Increases male libido: This ties in with another benefit that may or may not be associated with fenugreek ingestion, but it could be a positive factor in many aging-male afflictions, such as baldness, erectile dysfunction, and lowered male libido. According to a study on human males, it was self-reported that fenugreek extract helped with sexual arousal, stamina, and energy.
- For women breastfeeding – enhances milk flow: For the ladies who are new mothers, here’s an interesting tidbit: Fenugreek can act like a galactagogue, a substance that stimulates the milk ducts and elevates prolactin levels. Milk production can be increased in as little as a day. It also helps with weight gain in babies who are breastfed.
- Decreases external inflammation: Another inflammatory benefit involves inflammation from the outside. Fenugreek can be warmed and used as a poultice, healing everything from pain and swelling in your muscles and lymph nodes to wounds and leg ulcers to sciatica, dandruff, and eczema. (Make sure to be safe and test the are so that it doesn’t further inflame.)
- Boosts exercise performance: Strength and body composition could reap rewards from fenugreek supplementation. In a massive study, comparing placebo, dextrose, and fenugreek with creatine, it was found that the fenugreek group’s lean mass, bench press, and leg press strength all increased significantly. Turns out, fenugreek paired with creatine may enhance the bioavailability of the creatine, reducing the need for simple carbohydrates.
These are all incredible benefits of taking just a small dose of fenugreek daily, either as a supplement or in cooking.
However, the biggest two improvements you could experience with fenugreek could be the difference between a decent physique and a godlike stature…
Does Fenugreek Increase Testosterone?
A tricky question. Fenugreek has been in the supplement sphere for years, known as a potent testosterone booster.
And while it does enhance libido, does it legitimately increase testosterone levels?
This is a yes-and-no situation. Going back to the increase in milk production for breastfeeding women, fenugreek increases prolactin, allowing for enhanced milk flow.
While men probably won’t start lactating any time soon, the added prolactin could inhibit dopamine, which affects testosterone production.
However, fenugreek also has compounds such as apigenin, luteolin, protodioscin, magnesium, and calcium – all of which up testosterone levels.
Despite this, studies have shown no increase in either free or total testosterone levels, even though it’s been known to boost muscle growth.
Certain adverse effects have been discovered, like a lowering of DHT (androgen form of testosterone), anti-thyroid problems, and little to no change in testosterone as a whole.
Based off of current research, Athletic Muscle’s consensus is a hard “NO” to “Does fenugreek increase testosterone?”
Future studies may alter perception, but the slight-to-decent effect fenugreek has on body composition must come from a different benefit for the body, such as decreased inflammation or regulated eating and digestion.
Is Fenugreek Good For Weight loss?
Going back to the appetite-suppressing benefit of fenugreek, this adaptogen may help with weight loss.
A water-soluble heteropolysaccharide called galactomannan is a compound in fenugreek, which curbs your hunger and makes you feel full.
But it can also up appetite and aid with disabling eating disorders. How can this be?
Well, fenugreek is an adaptogen because it helps regulate hormones and stabilizes your internal processes.
So, depending on where you’re coming from – a place of overweight or a place of an eating disorder – it will alter your hormones until a regulated eating pattern emerges.
This isn’t to say it’s a cure-all.
Fenugreek simply aids in controlling normal hunger levels, as well as reduce your spontaneous ingestion of fat, which contains more calories than protein and carb sources.
The conclusion on this one is it will in fact assist in weight loss by balancing your eating habits.
You’ll feel full when you actually are, and you’ll feel encouraged to eat when your body needs it.
Being more in-tune with your body’s internal clock and needs is a tremendous step in the right direction for weight loss and curing eating disorders.
Fenugreek Supplement Dosage
Fenugreek can be taken in numerous forms and concentrations, so there isn’t really a set dose. (Plus, the dosage could depend on your goals or desired benefits.)
Testosterone-based research (which is hit-or-miss at best) suggests 500 mg, but for all the other advantages fenugreek can give you, it’s recommended to take between 1,000 and 2,000 mg.
For most people, a couple grams should do the trick. If you want to start supplementing fenugreek, we suggest beginning with 500 mg and going up to a full gram if you don’t experience any side effects.
Then, if you aren’t getting the desired benefits, bump it up to 2,000 mg. (This is a few teaspoons for cooking purposes.)
The absolute max you should take in a given day or 24-hour period is 4-5 grams, through more studies need to confirm this.
Besides, it usually hinges on individual preference and tolerance. Experiment with your personal goals, intake, and results, but stick to the 0.5-5 gram range.
When Should You Take It?
Seeing as fenugreek helps lower blood sugar levels, it makes the most sense to take before or during meals, especially during your highest carbohydrate meal.
This supplement assists more in the diet part of body composition, with some effects in the training realm.
So it makes sense to take it in a pre-workout or post-workout meal, to optimize recovery, reduce inflammation, and keep blood sugar and digestion regulated.
How Long Does It Take To Work?
Most of the anecdotes on fenugreek and time to experience the benefits revolve around milk production in breastfeeding mothers. For those effects, it generally takes 24-72 hours to see results. The same can most likely be said for the other advantages as well.
Fenugreek Supplement Side Effects
Even though it’s relatively safe, there are some not-so-serious side effects that could occur with supplementing fenugreek:
- There is anecdotal evidence of gas, bloating, indigestion, and diarrhea, but fairly uncommon.
- Some people could get irritation when they apply fenugreek to the skin. Test a small area to make sure it’s safe for you.
- Talk to your health provider when pregnant, breastfeeding, or on diabetes medication or other supplements that also decrease blood sugar levels.
- As a serious side effect with blood thinning medication or anticoagulants, certain side effects include easy bruising, excessive bleeding, vomiting, or passing dark stools. Always consult with your doctor if you’re already on such medication.
As you can see, if you stay smart, avoid fenugreek when specific factors are present, and dose correctly, you shouldn’t experience too much trouble.
Top Fenugreek Supplement Reviews
BulkSupplements Pure Fenugreek Powder
First in our relatively short list of fenugreek supplements is from one of the most trusted brands in the game, BulkSupplements.
This is the only powder form of fenugreek on our list, and it’s as pure as it gets!
BulkSupplements provides you with a clean powder; 1,000 mg of fenugreek with zero other ingredients.
Lab-tested for a guaranteed purity, this supplement comes in a factory-sealed foil zip pouch (like most BulkSupplements powder products).
Their 1,000 mg equates to a ½ teaspoon, and with 100 servings this fenugreek powder can last you a long time before you have to restock.
If you want nothing but the good stuff – i.e. pure fenugreek with no BS – BulkSupplements (ironically BS for short) is your one-stop shop!
Get Bulk Supplements on Amazon.com
Nutricost Fenugreek Seed
Next is a seed capsule from the Nutricost labs. These pills also give you the goods without compromising on additives and fluff.
This supp nets you 1,500 mg of 100% fenugreek seed powder (what might be considered “the sweet spot” for some people looking to get between 1 and 2 grams).
The only other ingredient is gelatin for the capsule itself, so you’re getting fenugreek and that’s it. All the benefits, none of the extras.
A serving is 2 capsules, with 120 total servings per bottle. That’s a handful of dollars for four months of fenugreek supplementation.
By far one of the best pill-form fenugreek supplements on the market today, consider Nutricost Fenugreek Seed for your latest body composition regimen addition.
Get Nutricost Fenugreek Seed on Amazon.com
Amazing Formulas Fenugreek Seed
Lastly, we have another fenugreek capsule, this time from the bros over at Amazing Nutrition Formulas.
If you’ve noticed a theme with these supplements, it’s that they don’t mess around with added ingredients.
And despite this supplement including a few things, it doesn’t take away from the purity of the fenugreek.
This supplement includes cellulose, silica, magnesium stearate, and vegetable capsules.
These are insoluble fiber, a hard, colorless compound, a capsule lubricant, and a receptacle, respectively.
Essentially, all of these ingredients optimize the pill for easy swallowing and rapid release.
Amazing Nutrition’s Fenugreek Seed capsule gives you an odd amount of fenugreek: 610 mg.
While this may be enough when you start to supplement fenugreek, you might have to double the dosage after a certain amount of time.
Still, it has 90 servings, so it’ll keep you swimming in fenugreek for awhile.
If you don’t mind a few additional things in your pill and want a specific amount of fenugreek, then Amazing Nutrition Formulas is your best choice.
Get Amazing Formulas Fenugreek Seed on Amazon.com
Fenugreek could help a ton with your workout performance, recovery, digestion and overall health.
If it’s been around for so long as a medicine and dietary supplement, that means something’s going on.
Join the adaptogenic revolution by choosing a fenugreek supplement that’s right for your goals and situation.
Monitor progress and see whether you need to tweak your routine in the future.
Give our list a good look-through, start supplementing fenugreek, and begin to feel better with your body!