To my observation, Fenugreek is found in a majority of testosterone boosters. Honestly, I rarely ever write a review about a product that doesn’t have Fenugreek. It’s just that popular. It’s reportedly great for muscle, sex, and testosterone which are basically the three things that all men desire. But are these reports just false claims? Or are they factual? Let’s check out some research and find out.
WHY TEST BOOSTER SUPPLEMENTS USE FENUGREEK
Scientifically known as Trigonella foenum-graecum, Fenugreek comes from the Latin word faenugraecum which translates to “Greek Hay”. Something interesting about Fenugreek is that it has been used by people for centuries. In fact, Fenugreek seeds have been recovered from the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun who ruled from 1332–1323 BC.
In today’s world, Fenugreek isn’t anymore found in tombs but in dinner plates. Its seeds are used as a spice to sort of imitate the flavor and smell maple syrup. The typical Fenugreek supplement side effect consequently makes your urine and sweat smell like maple syrup, too.
Fenugreek has also been used as medicine for a multitude of illnesses which include digestive problems, cardiac conditions, and even diabetes. In truth, however, there isn’t much scientific evidence that backs up the use of Fenugreek for any health condition.
That said, Fenugreek reportedly influences physical performance, libido, and testosterone. In testosterone boosters, Fenugreek comes in a wide variety of forms and brands. Heck, even the research on Fenugreek uses different forms. Let’s take a look.
STUDIES ON FENUGREEK SUGGEST:
Increase growth hormone and energy while burning fat
This first research tested in vitro the potency of an extract of Fenugreek seed to stimulate growth-hormone release in rats. In this research, they uncovered quite a few compounds found in Fenugreek that were capable of doing such deeds with two who notably caused “12.5 and 17.7 fold stimulation of release” from rat pituitary cells.
In this other rat research, the goal was to determine the effect of Fenugreek seed extract in endurance. The research shows that 300 mg/kg Fenugreek fed rats took longer to be exhausted while also showing an increase in plasma non-esterified fatty-acid (NEFA) and decreased fat accumulation. As the research says, “these results suggests that improvement in swimming endurance by the administration of Fenugreek is caused by the increase in utilization o fatty acids as an energy source“.
Based on the results of these two researches, Fenugreek may be able to improve different aspects of bodybuilding – from muscle growth via increasing growth hormone levels to increasing stamina via fat metabolism. Theoretically, the end result would be a leaner but bigger physical stature and enhanced gym performance.
So far, all I’ve shown you are animal studies so these results may/may not translate to humans. Thankfully though, there are a few human researches that study the use of Fenugreek in men. Let’s check them out.
Increase total and bioavailable testosterone
This research was conducted on resistance-trained men who were divided into either placebo or 500 mg Fenugreek standardized to Grecunin. These men also underwent a 4 day/week, 8 week resistance training program. As with any experiment, measurements appropriate to the study were measured for analysis. Here are the results:
- No reported major side effects with a few complaints of gastrointestinal discomfort
- No changes in hormonal variables in the placebo group
- No differences in strength between placebo and Fenugreek
- 6.57% increase in total testosterone in Fenugreek group
- 12.26% increase in bioavailable testosterone in Fenugreek group
- 1.77% decrease in fat mass in the Fenugreek group as compared to 0.55% with placebo
The researchers concluded their experiment by saying that these results indicate that Fenugreek “incompletely inhibited aromatase and 5-α reductase activity while significantly increasing total and bioavailable testosterone levels, as well as decreasing percent body fat, in conjunction with a resistance-training program“.
My take on this is that these results are actually what you should expect of an aromatase and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor. You see, aromatase is the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into estrogen while 5a-reductase is what converts testosterone into DHT. Therefore, by inhibiting these two, you should theoretically get more “free” testosterone.
For us men, inhibiting estrogen is mostly a good thing because we’re then left with a better testosterone:estrogen ratio leading to more muscle and libido with less feminine characteristics like man boobs. DHT on the other hand, is a more potent androgen than testosterone so generally, you shouldn’t mess with this hormone unless you have too much.
Enhance libido and strength
The aim of this next research is to evaluate the effect of Testofen on mineral formation and libido in men. Testofen is a branded form of Fenugreek which is actually pretty popular in testosterone boosters.
This research was done on 60 healthy males who were divided into either placebo or two tablets of 600 mg Testofen for 6 weeks. Check out the results of Fenugreek supplementation below:
- significant increase in the subdomains of sexual arousal and orgasm
- positive effect on self-reported satisfaction with muscle strength, energy and well-being
- no effect on mood or sleep
- no changes in testosterone and prolactin
These results prove the traditional use of Fenugreek as a libido enhancer and as the results suggest, it even improves general well-being which is pretty rad if you ask me. However, it doesn’t seem to influence testosterone.
Instead of focusing on libido, this other research says that Fenugreek has been dubbed as an ergogenic aid. As such, the researchers set out to evaluate the effect of Fenugreek (Torabolic) on strength and body composition.
To cut the long story short, the research says that Fenugreek and resistance training “can alter body composition to a greater extent than resistance training alone“. This research also observed a bit of increase in “free” testosterone with Fenugreek but stated that “it has limited relevance due to the fact that it did not significantly change over time“.
How Do I Take FENUGREEK?
It’s pretty hard gauging how much Fenugreek you should be taking based on the studies I referenced to here. See, the first few were rat and rabbit research and obviously, we’re not mice and bunnies. Additionally, the human studies used different forms of Fenugreek and yielded different results too. Allow me to give you a break down of what the different researches used and for what purpose they were tested.
- Testosurge – Fenugreek standardized to 80% Grecunin (on total and bioavailable testosterone)
- Testofen – Fenugreek standardized to 50% Fenuside (on libido and strength)
- Torabolic – Fenugreek standardized to 70% Trigimannose (on body composition)
All these compounds these brands standardize their Fenugreek to are collectively called “steroidal saponins” or just “saponins” for short. To simplify all these, I suggest you go look for a Fenugreek supplement that’s standardized to around 50% saponins dosed at 1000-2000 mg.
With standardized ingredients, you generally don’t need heavy dosages because they’re designed to be more potent. With plain Fenugreek, you might want to go with the higher scale dosages to maximize its benefits.
The drawback in Fenugreek research
Like I said, the human research on Fenugreek I showed you here all used different forms of Fenugreek. They also each came up with different results that ultimately boiled down influencing male health. Cool, right? Yeah. But this isn’t the drawback.
Testofen, Testosurge, and Torabolic are all made by the same company. What’s more is that the same company also funded their respective research. Why is this a problem, you ask? Well, if the same company funds the research on its own products, it could create a bias and could therefore influence the credibility of the study.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t say that the results of the studies were fabricated or anything. I’m merely stating that this is a key limitation to these studies IF in fact the results were influenced by the company.
Based on the research, I can say that Fenugreek has a justified purpose in men’s health supplements for sex and bodybuilding. Specifically for sex, its benefits don’t seem limited to just libido or sexual desire but even spreads out to a better orgasm.
In bodybuilding, the goal is to get bigger and stronger muscles with less fat. As research shows, combining Fenugreek and resistance training seems to enhance all these characteristics.
For testosterone though, Fenugreek honestly looks a little weak. Admittedly, it does have testosterone boosting potential because of its ability to inhibit aromatase and 5a-reductase so to me, it still does warrant inclusion in testosterone boosters. However, with contradicting studies saying that it does boost T while a couple others say that it doesn’t, I personally think that Fenugreek is better as a performance and libido enhancer rather than a natural testosterone booster.
TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS THAT USE FENUGREEK
- N-Test 600 – A muscle-building stack that usess 600 mg of Testofen
- Test Freak – Balances the DHT lowering properties of Fenugreek with a separate DHT Support Complex
- Quantum T – Synergistic ingredients that includes 300 mg of a potent 4:1 extract of Fenugreek
- Super Male T – Uses a branded form of Fenugreek (Furosap®) standardized to 45% Furostanolic Saponins and 20% Protodioscin
- TestoSyn – Utilizing another brand of Fenugreek in Fenusterols®, this one is standardized to 50% steroidal saponins.