Fenugreek and Testosterone: Closer Look at One of the Most Popular Testosterone Herbs

Fenugreek (trigonella foenum-graecum) is a common herb that originates from the Indian herbal medicine; Ayurveda. Its claimed use is to enhance masculinity and libido.

The seed powder and seed extracts of the fenugreek plant are commonly used in various testosterone boosters, and some manufacturers claim that it would be the single most effective natural compound to raise male testosterone levels, muscular gains, bedroom performance, and so on.

But is fenugreek truly as effective of a test boosters the marketers claim it to be? Let’s have a closer look.

Fenugreek, Testosterone, DHT, and Prolactin

fenugreek supplements to increase testosterone productionMost people think that fenugreek is only used as an ingredient to normalize and increase male testosterone levels.

This isn’t the case. Since fenugreek also contains galactagogues which have the distinctive ability to increase prolactin levels, which is why fenugreek is also marketed to women to increase their lactation during pregnancy1,2.

Although men taking fenugreek won’t likely start producing milk, it’s still very much likely that supplementing with the herb can lead to elevated prolactin, which is somewhat detrimental for testosterone production via inhibition of dopamine3. For obvious reasons, the T-booster manufacturers using fenugreek are pretty silent about the issue.

Prolactin aside, does fenugreek actually increase testosterone levels as claimed?

The answer is maybe, but likely not. You see, initial studies (sponsored by fenugreek manufacturer) showed very promising results, as fenugreek supplementation increased testosterone levels and improved body composition in resistance trained males4. Since the herb has compounds such as apigenin, luteolin, protodioscin, magnesium, and calcium – all of which can contribute to increased testosterone production – it was all but plausible that fenugreek would become the next big thing in the supplement industry (and it certainly did).

The thing is that fenugreek extracts haven’t always performed this well on scientific studies. Although in rodents, the extract increased muscle growth, it failed to have any impact on circulating testosterone levels5. In an effort to replicate the first human study sponsored by Indus Biotech, Bushey et al. found that in their trial, fenugreek did not increase either free or total testosterone levels, but it ended up lowering DHT due to 5-a reductase inhibitory effect6. Lastly, a study using 600mg/day of fenugreek extract called “Testofen” on healthy male subjects, failed to show any increases in testosterone levels7.

Fenugreek can have some anti-thyroid effects, as it was found to disrupt the normal rise in thyroid hormones in rodents administered T3 and T48, this effect was likely due to a compound called trypsin, which can inhibit protein digestion and thryoid hormone transportation in the body.

So what we have here is a herb that likely doesn’t do anything to testosterone levels, may slightly improve body composition, has anti-thyroid effects, may increase prolactin levels, and disrupts DHT synthesis. This isn’t something most men looking for anabolic androgenic benefits would want. Yet fenugreek continues to be one of the most used ingredients in test-boosters and nobody seems to mind it.

Conclusion

Would I recommend fenugreek? No.

This herb has too many industry sponsored studies that have sketchy use of placebo and control groups, and their findings are not replicable. The likely increases in prolactin and 5-a reductase inhibition are also something that you do not want to see from a herb that is sold primarily for male hormonal health.

Fenugreek belongs to the same cast as tribulus, with the difference that fenugreek at least has some chance of positively impacting body composition (although even these findings were found with co-administration of creatine), whereas tribulus does absolutely nothing. regardless, they’re both something no company should be putting in their supplements.

References

1.
Hannan J, Rokeya B, Faruque O, et al. Effect of soluble dietary fibre fraction of Trigonella foenum graecum on glycemic, insulinemic, lipidemic and platelet aggregation status of Type 2 diabetic model rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003;88(1):73-77. [PubMed]
2.
Turkyılmaz C, Onal E, Hirfanoglu I, et al. The effect of galactagogue herbal tea on breast milk production and short-term catch-up of birth weight in the first week of life. J Altern Complement Med. 2011;17(2):139-142. [PubMed]
3.
Carani C, Granata A, Fustini M, Marrama P. Prolactin and testosterone: their role in male sexual function. Int J Androl. 1996;19(1):48-54. [PubMed]
4.
Wilborn C, Taylor L, Poole C, Foster C, Willoughby D, Kreider R. Effects of a purported aromatase and 5α-reductase inhibitor on hormone profiles in college-age men. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2010;20(6):457-465. [PubMed]
5.
Aswar U, Bodhankar S, Mohan V, Thakurdesai P. Effect of furostanol glycosides from Trigonella foenum-graecum on the reproductive system of male albino rats. Phytother Res. 2010;24(10):1482-1488. [PubMed]
6.
“Fenugreek Extract Supplementation Has No effect on the Hormonal Profil” by Brandon Bushey, Lem W. Taylor et al. . IJESAB. http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol2/iss1/13/. Accessed June 2, 2017.
7.
Steels E, Rao A, Vitetta L. Physiological aspects of male libido enhanced by standardized Trigonella foenum-graecum extract and mineral formulation. Phytother Res. 2011;25(9):1294-1300. [PubMed]
8.
Tahiliani P, Kar A. Mitigation of thyroxine-induced hyperglycaemia by two plant extracts. Phytother Res. 2003;17(3):294-296. [PubMed]
Fenugreek and Testosterone: Closer Look at One of the Most Popular Testosterone Herbs was last modified: June 2nd, 2017 by Ali Kuoppala
Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala is the founder of Anabolic Men, and an Independent Researcher that has been credited with organizing the findings that have helped thousands of men reach hormonal balance.
Ali Kuoppala
  • anonymous

    Thanks for sharing these details on Fenugreek. Ayurveda is driven by the belief that Food is Medicine. And by including Fenugreek in small portions on an extremely regular basis, one’s body will be well regulated.

    One thing to remember with Ayurveda though is that it is about gradually and regularly taking care of the body and without harming the body in any way – not about instant results. So, fenugreek will lead to overall improvements but one should not think of it as a steroid like remedy!

    • Yeah, that’s why I cycle all herbal compounds and even take breaks from them.

  • ilias

    how much fenugreek did you take

  • Nungiver

    I recall regularly taking 15 grams of the seed soften in hot water and working the night shift with a penis behaving like I was 40 years younger.

    • pete g

      so that would be a very good thing, right? are you agreeing with this article then, or not?

  • Adam

    I have had non-existent libido several times on fenugreek. But this last
    time was the worst. It is almost classic symptoms of the guys who were
    injured by finasteride (Propecia).

    Morning erections, gone. Random erections, never. I had difficulty
    getting aroused. I just plain had no interest in sex. Maintaining an
    erection was difficult because I just couldn’t keep myself interested.
    And I felt no desire to self service in the off time.

    I started to become more emotional. I lost my alpha feeling. My muscle
    tissue became softer and I couldn’t get a pump worth a damn while
    working out. Another thing that was really pronounced that I had never
    felt before was a lack of interest in working out. I would get to the
    gym and no matter what I did beforehand or how focused I tried to be, I
    had an insatiable desire to leave early. None of my lifts felt good. I
    had no mental encouragement. It was awful.

    And in the weeks, or month or more after ceasing, I was still feeling
    this. I’m finally starting to normalize, but with assistance.

    The fmen’s health supplement industry pisses me off. Every product, even multivitamins, have either saw palmetto
    or pumpkin seed in them under the guise of “prostate support.” Are these
    motherfuckers stupid, because it’s elevated estrogen that’s causing the
    epidemic of prostatic hyperplasia, not DHT!

    I’m sick and tired of the war on DHT from supplement companies that
    either don’t know the real science or are trying to appeal to common
    misnomers in marketing.

    Screw Testofen. I will never take this crap ever again.

  • Nivan Mal

    This idiot must have taken in elephant doses..

    • Adam

      Nope. If you’re sensitive to 5-AR inhibition, it doesn’t take more than a therapeutic dose to trigger the side effects. I had all of them. No sex drive, brain fog, lack of motivation, no gym pumps anymore — you name it, I had it. All on a recommended daily dose.

      Some people can take this supplement and some can’t. I’m one of the ones who can’t.

  • Huge Peleu

    Dude, check the study again, it didn’t do anything to DHT, lowered T and got the estrogen up slightly

  • Drjay318

    Hi, how are you? I liked your review. I wanted to ask you if you have heard or made any reviews on the testosterone booster called “testofuel”?

  • Patrick Hendry

    Jesus, how much were you taking?! I take 1000 mg a day maximum and I feel fantastic. No erection problems what so ever, in fact they have become more powerful than ever, orgasms have become insane, my sex drive has sky rocketed, and my energy levels are through the roof. I honestly think you were taking far too much.

    • Daniel-san

      Just out of curiosity: how old are you? I’m 55 and was thinking maybe age would be a factor in dosage amount?

  • Orion Antares

    Could this actually be useful to some men to reduce the amount of DHT being synthesized and keep more of it as T?

  • Matt

    Too much DHT causes male pattern baldness. It shrinks hair folicles. It’s all about balance with the hormones. More isn’t necessarily better in this case. More testosterone doesn’t always equate to being more masculine either. If you feel like a bitch then you are one. Pills powders and potions wont cure that.

  • Matt

    If you really want “the beast” to return leave fenugreek alone. Get yourself some raw or gelatinized black maca. It’ll make your balls hang like shot puts

  • Koi Nahin

    I am not sure how accurate are effects of using herbals since they are rarely studied in modern scientific labs nor modern science shows any interest in them (probably since modern science considers using chemicals as modern vs considering herbals as primitive or ancient).
    If T to DHT happens the way you put it then most of the professional body builders and champions should be clean bald!
    There is something missing in understanding/explaining the relation between T, DHT and body-building.

    • Laurent Innocenti

      maybe the professional body builders use Propecia to keep their hair and avoid enlargement of the prostate.

  • Shoeb Hasan Mahmood

    Thanks. I needed to treat BPH. and bph is best treated with 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. so it seems fenugreek seed is the real natural thing to treat BPH or any kind of prostate enlargement. Thanks a ton. I just figured the relationship through you article.

    • Enrique Palatza

      Yes, if effective, I would rather supplement with fenogreek than take Finasteride/Proscar/Propecia.

  • Adam

    Yes, recovered, but not without a really comprehensive herbal recovery program and time. I used Cistanche, Royal Jelly, Pine Pollen Tincture, Tongkat Ali (the good stuff, from Super Man Herbs), Shilajit and 50% icariin to get myself back on track. It was a nightmare, but I’m happy to report I’m back to normal.

  • jameskatt

    DHT does not increase muscle growth. Only Testosterone does. So this article is incorrect.

  • kind of strange DHT can make you bald

    • Enrique Palatza

      It clogs your hair follicles and shortens the hair follicles cycle, eventually making it totally dormant. Good news is, some guys follicles are just genetically able to power through the DHT. Also, some men are just not genetically able to convert free testosterone to DHT. I hate those guys. 😉

  • Enrique Palatza

    DHT is pretty much nothing but a nuisance (hair loss & not beneficial toward muscle-building) if your post-puberty. I’d rather have the free testosterone. Thanks though.

  • John Mac bat

    This is the reason why those who adhere to Hindu-Buddhist beliefs substitute Onions and Garlic to Fenugreek. As it suppresses Fiery passions brought about consuming Alliums.

  • Martinez

    What happened to the forum

    • It turned to shit with the spam bots and I had planned to close it down for long time, I finally had enough of it when people started thinking humans can photosynthesize. There are places like the Kruse forum for that sort of Quackery.