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May 10, 2023
For ages, men have been looking for ways to increase their testosterone levels. Dozens of herbs have been promoted over the years to do just that. While many of them have proven to be ineffective, there is a natural testosterone booster that has made the scientific community sit up and take notice:
This herb has been used traditionally to treat low libido, inflammation, and digestive upset. In recent years, though, it has undergone pretty intense scientific scrutiny related to its potential ability to naturally boost the body's production of testosterone.
Let's dig into the research to answer does fenugreek increase testosterone or not.
What you can expect in this article:
Fenugreek is an herb that is indigenous to the Mediterranean region, Asia, and North Africa. It is frequently utilized in traditional medicine and cookery and has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine.
The plant itself is tiny and green with clover-like leaves and tiny, golden-brown seeds. The part of the plant that is utilized in cooking and herbal treatments the most frequently is its seeds.
It is common to characterize the aroma and flavor of fenugreek seeds as being earthy, nutty, and just a little bit bitter. They are frequently used in curries, stews, and bread, among other foods in Indian, Middle Eastern, and North African cuisines.
Fenugreek has been used for centuries, in addition to its culinary applications, to cure a range of conditions, such as digestive problems, inflammation, and low libido.
Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in this traditional herb due to studies looking into fenugreek's potential to increase testosterone levels. Interestingly, fenugreek is so effective at increasing T that it even made our list of 6 Best Herbs That Boost Testosterone.
Testosterone is a steroid hormone produced in the testes in males and the ovaries in females. It is mainly associated with male physical characteristics, so men produce it in far greater quantities than women. Testosterone levels typically peak in the early 20s. Then testosterone levels naturally decline with age. This is a natural part of the aging process, but lifestyle factors such as stress, poor sleep, and lack of exercise also contribute to low testosterone levels.
Fenugreek can help with testosterone levels by:
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone that is naturally produced by the adrenal glands. It plays a key part in the production of testosterone and is involved in the function of the immune system, energy levels, and overall well-being.
There is some research suggesting that fenugreek may be able to boost the body's natural production of testosterone. A 2020 meta-study found that taking a daily dose of fenugreek may boost adrenal gland production of DHEA.¹
There are a few theories on the precise method by which fenugreek increases DHEA production.
According to one idea, fenugreek may boost the body's production of DHEA by activating specific enzymes needed for DHEA synthesis. The saponins found in fenugreek are thought to increase the activity of the enzyme 17-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, which is essential for the production of DHEA.
Fenugreek may also be able to boost healthy DHEA levels by lowering the stress and inflammation that are linked to reduced DHEA levels.
The quantity of testosterone in the blood that is unbound to albumin or the sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) is referred to as free testosterone. In contrast to free testosterone, which may bind to androgen receptors in the body and have biological effects, testosterone which is linked to SHBG or albumin, is not easily utilizable by the body's tissues and organs.
Free testosterone levels are frequently a stronger sign of testosterone action in the body, even though total testosterone levels are an important measure of testosterone production overall. Inadequate free testosterone levels could be an indication of underlying health problems or inadequate testosterone synthesis.
By preventing the action of an enzyme known as 5-reductase, fenugreek may be able to enhance free testosterone. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a powerful version of testosterone that may bind more strongly to androgen receptors in the body, is created by this enzyme. Fenugreek may aid in preventing the conversion of testosterone into DHT by reducing the activity of 5-reductase, which may assist in increasing the amount of free testosterone available in the body.²
Fenugreek also attaches to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), a protein that binds to testosterone and renders it inactive for usage by the body, which may aid in boosting free testosterone. Fenugreek may aid in releasing more testosterone by binding to SHBG, releasing it for utilization by the body's tissues and organs.
Finally, fenugreek may raise free testosterone levels by promoting the production of luteinizing hormone (LH). Fenugreek may also assist in increasing overall testosterone synthesis, including free testosterone, by raising LH levels, which is a hormone that stimulates the creation of testosterone in the testes.
In addition to the two direct testosterone-boosting effects just described, fenugreek may have the following extra health benefits for users:
Fenugreek may affect sex drive in a variety of ways, and there are a number of potential pathways by which it might do so. Testosterone deficiency has been related to reduced sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and other sexual issues. Testosterone is a hormone that is essential for male sexual function and libido. Saponins, which are present in fenugreek, are thought to contribute to an increase in the body's ability to produce and use testosterone.³
The reduction of stress and anxiety caused by fenugreek may also improve sex drive. Fenugreek has been proven in research to have relaxing and stress-reducing properties. High levels of stress and anxiety can negatively impact libido and sexual function.⁴
Last but not least, fenugreek might possess aphrodisiac qualities, making it possible to heighten arousal and desire for sexual activity.⁵ Although the precise mechanisms by which fenugreek exerts these effects are not well understood, it is believed that some of its compounds may help to increase sexual function and stimulate sexual desire.
Protein synthesis, the process of forming new muscle tissue, relies on testosterone. By increasing testosterone levels, fenugreek may, therefore, help support muscle growth and development. The herb may also increase muscle endurance and strength. There is also research suggesting that fenugreek may improve athletic performance.⁶
Fenugreek may support the development of new muscle tissue by reducing inflammation. Research links high inflammation levels in the body with reduced ability to build muscle and increase strength levels. Fenugreek has been shown to help lower inflammation levels.⁷
A final way that fenugreek may help build muscle is by improving nutrient uptake and absorption. Several nutrients and antioxidants in the herb promote muscle health by increasing nutrient absorption.⁸
According to one study, fenugreek may assist in slowing down the absorption of carbs in the gut, preventing sudden rises in blood sugar levels.⁹ The high fiber content of fenugreek, which can aid in slowing down the absorption of sugars and carbohydrates in the gut, is suggested to be responsible for this effect.
Fenugreek may also enhance the body's sensitivity to insulin. Blood sugar levels are controlled by the hormone insulin, and persons with diabetes frequently have impaired insulin sensitivity, which can result in high blood sugar levels. Trigonelline and 4-hydroxyisoleucine, two substances found in fenugreek, have been shown in some studies to aid in enhancing insulin sensitivity.¹⁰
Fenugreek may also assist in lowering bodily inflammation, which can support insulin resistance and other metabolic issues.¹¹
Inflammation—which is a normal immunological reaction to injury or infection—can cause a number of health issues, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Inhibiting the body's synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines is one way that fenugreek may help lessen inflammation. Proteins called cytokines aid in immunological regulation, but when they are produced in large quantities, they can cause chronic inflammation. Fenugreek contains substances such as diosgenin and fenugreek saponins, which have been found in some studies to block the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.¹²
Fenugreek may also lessen inflammation by boosting the body's production of anti-inflammatory chemicals.¹³ Several antioxidants and other substances found in fenugreek, including flavonoids, beta-carotene, and quercetin, have been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Quercetin supplements have seen a dramatic rise in popularity due to these anti-inflammatory benefits.
Finally, fenugreek may lessen inflammation by promoting gut health. Trillions of bacteria that are found in the stomach are important for the immune system and inflammation. According to research, fenugreek has prebiotic effects that may aid in promoting the development of good gut bacteria. Fenugreek may help lessen inflammation and enhance general health by encouraging healthy gut microbiota.¹⁴
If you' want to see another way to keep your gut happy, check out our list of the best digestive enzymes.
Reducing cholesterol levels can be a key step in enhancing cardiovascular health because high cholesterol levels are a risk factor for heart disease and other health issues.
Fenugreek may reduce cholesterol levels in part by preventing the intestines from absorbing cholesterol.¹⁵ Galactomannan, a soluble fiber found in fenugreek, can bind to cholesterol in the gastrointestinal tract and stop it from being absorbed into the bloodstream. Fenugreek may aid in lowering total cholesterol levels in the body by lowering cholesterol absorption.
Fenugreek may also lower cholesterol levels by improving the liver's capacity to break down cholesterol, which is one possible method. Fenugreek includes substances, including flavonoids and saponins, that have been demonstrated to help boost the activity of enzymes that break down cholesterol in the liver, hence lowering blood cholesterol levels.¹⁶
Last but not least, fenugreek may help improve overall cardiovascular health by lowering inflammation, which has been related to higher cholesterol levels and other health issues.
Inhibiting the growth and spread of cancer cells is one potential way through which fenugreek may aid in the treatment or prevention of cancer. Numerous bioactive substances found in fenugreek, including fenugreek saponins and diosgenin, have been shown in some studies to have anti-cancer properties.¹⁷ These substances may contribute to the induction of cancer cell death and the inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis.
Fenugreek has effects on cancer cells, but it also strengthens the immune system, which may help lower the risk of cancer. Fenugreek may aid the body in fighting cancer more successfully by enhancing immune function because the immune system is crucial in identifying and eliminating cancer cells in the body.
Fenugreek might possibly have value as a homeopathic medicine for minimizing the negative effects of cancer therapies like chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It may also help to lessen inflammation and oxidative stress, which are frequent adverse effects of these treatments. This is according to certain research.
Fenugreek is widely known for its potential to increase breast milk production in lactating women. Many lactation experts and healthcare providers recommend fenugreek as a natural remedy for mothers who are struggling with a low milk supply.¹⁸
In addition to its ability to increase breast milk production, fenugreek may also help to improve the quality of breast milk. Fenugreek is rich in several nutrients, such as protein and iron, that are essential for the healthy growth and development of infants. By increasing the nutrient content of breast milk, fenugreek may help to support the health and well-being of nursing babies.
While most people consider fenugreek to be safe when used as recommended, some people may experience side effects from supplementation. Fenugreek supplements may have the following adverse effects:
The right amount of fenugreek to take depends on a number of variables, including age, the reason for supplementation, and general health. Following are some general recommendations for fenugreek dosage:
The short answer, possibly, depending on dosage. As mentioned previously, researchers believe that fenugreek raises testosterone levels by aromatase and 5α reductase inhibition, meaning less estrogen as it relates to fenugreek. Don't fret though, the amount of testosterone isn't enough to cause major bodily changes, such as lowered voice or increased hair growth. Think more enhanced sex drive and reduction in menstrual cramp symptoms.
As we've seen, Fenugreek has some solid research to support its use as a testosterone booster. So, it's no surprise that it is a popular ingredient in testosterone-boosting supplements. This is definitely one ingredient that you'll want to see on the ingredient label when you're shopping for a 'T' booster that really works.
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