Everybody loves a good scientific breakthrough. There’s nothing better than a a flash of inspiration which makes life a little better for all of us. It’s also nice though when ol’ Mother Nature just hands us something ready made on a plate. This is literally what she’s done with Fenugreek.
Fenugreek (or Trigonella foenum-graecum to give it its technical name) is a herb, found in various places round the world . The seeds of it are widely used in Indian and Arabic cuisine.
Various parts of the plant have also long been used in traditional medicines, making up part of the remedies for such wide-ranging complaints as an upset stomach, skin complaints and migraines. Some even believe in women it provokes natural breast enlargement, but we’re not going to focus on that here. Hey, HEY, back in the room! I said we’re not going to focus on that.
The main reason fenugreek is of interest to us is its potential testosterone promoting and libido stimulating qualities. There is a growing body of evidence regarding fenugreek’s effectiveness in these areas. So – does fenugreek really boost testosterone, if so, how so, and where is the evidence to back that up?
Fenugreek’s main contribution to boosting your body’s testosterone levels is thought to stem from its status as a 4-hydroxyisoleucine compound, which regulates the metabolism of blood sugars and helps to balance the insulin.
This may seem like a quality more suited to managing conditions like diabetes, in which it often does play a part, but insulin also has an influence on the regulation of testosterone and the sex hormone binding globulin. With lower insulin levels, testosterone production can increase and with it, sex drive.
The importance of well-adjusted insulin levels was made clear in a study by the Institute of Clinical Medicine in Bologna, Italy, which looked at the effects of insulin suppression on testosterone and SHBG. The team took two groups of eight nondiabetic adult obese men and six healthy normal weight men who underwent diazoxide treatment (100 mg, three times daily) for 7 days. Blood samples were taken before and after treatment, to compare relative levels of free and total testosterone, and SHGB. The results indicated that insulin levels were indeed a significant factor in effective testosterone production and the inhibiting of SHBG concentrations in groups of men.
Research indicates there are likely multiple ways fenugreek can enhance performance. In one trial it even demonstrated an ability to promote the natural creation of growth hormone in rats, which is great for our furrier genetic cousins; but for those of us whose daily cardio extends beyond a 10 inch stationary metal wheel, we’d perhaps be better advised to look towards work conducted by the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. There, the team recruited 30 college-age males for a randomised, double blind study into the effects of fenugreek on testosterone levels.
Hormonal profiles were taken of all participants before they were assigned to the active group, to be given 500mg of fenugreek daily, or to the control group who would be taking a placebo. The men then participated in a resistance training regime four days a week for eight weeks and at the end of the experiment they were tested again for any changes to hormone levels. Those who were taking the fenugreek were observed to have notably higher levels of both overall testosterone and bioactive testosterone than those on the placebo group.
It may have form in getting testosterone levels up, but you don’t earn your stripes as an intense aphrodisiac without the ability to get something a little more immediate up as well. For evidence of fenugreek as a libido stimulator we can look to a study carried out by Australian company ASN Research. 60 men between the ages of 25 and 52, without erectile dysfunction, were randomised into two groups given a daily dose of fenugreek (as part of the supplement, TestoFen) or a placebo over a period of six weeks.
Before the test started, then after three weeks and again at six, volunteers were given a standardised questionnaire to establish how often each thought of or fantasised about sex, how often they were sexually aroused, how often they had sex and how often they had an orgasm.
Sure enough, at the half way point there was already a sizable difference between the active and placebo groups in terms of arousal, with the former being much greater. The difference was even more marked at the completion of the study and this is thought to be a direct result of the increased levels of testosterone in those taking fenugreek.
Fenugreek has a significant advantage over many other testosterone boosting ingredients before even reaching the research stage; half the battle is already won. Remember, the two primary goals of clinical trials are to determine a component’s safety and its effectiveness. We know fenugreek is harmless because one of the biggest continents on earth has been consuming it regularly for generations. You might even argue that given testosterone’s crucial role in maintaining a healthy sex drive, the fact that India is also one of the most densely populated places on the planet says something about its effectiveness too. But for those of you who like our proof in a white coat rather than chef whites, there are examples of solid research out there making a strong case for fenugreek’s effectiveness as a test booster.
Like most of these ingredients however, fenugreek alone doesn’t have what it takes to keep our testosterone at ideal levels, it’s got to be a team effort, but the latest evidence certainly suggests fenugreek deserves a place on that team. In combination with other testosterone enhancing ingredients, the insulin regulating qualities of fenugreek could be invaluable in helping you to reach your hormonal peak potential and maximum physical performance.