Individuals who are wondering if fenugreek increases testosterone may be disappointed regarding the lack of convincing research on this topic. Moreover, the information and sparse studies involving fenugreek that are available for review provide contradictory information. Fenugreek offers both culinary and medicinal uses, but there's no evidence that it increases the body's androgens.
Does Fenugreek Increase Testosterone?
Many people who are interested in the possible effects this herb may have on testosterone are interested in using it to build muscle mass. At one time, fenugreek was touted as an herbal aid within the bodybuilding community. If fenugreek were to boast androgen-raising properties, its typically safe nature would make it a very valuable supplement in contrast to the dangerous steroids that are often taken by those in training.
What you really need to know regarding fenugreek's effects on testosterone is that there are almost no reputable studies that deal with this topic. In fact, the majority of the buzz involving the fenugreek and testosterone connection was generated by a Texas A&M professor, Richard Kreider, who has a background in fitness-related nutrition. Published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, such a study can neither prove nor disprove health claims. Unfortunately, aside from this single study, there is little else in the way of reputable research. Some anecdotal evidence demonstrates potential effects upon testosterone levels, but home studies and personal results are not the same as unbiased peer-reviewed research.
Every person's biochemistry is unique, though this doesn't necessarily translate to dissimilar. Fenugreek may react quite differently within the systems of different individuals. What is interesting regarding the hormonal effects of fenugreek is that the herb is sometimes considered by some to be a cousin to DHEA, and to others, a strong phytoestrogen. Depending on which source is more accurate, it is no wonder that some individuals have achieved results with the herb that are quite opposite from those expected by the fenugreek/testosterone link promoters.
Fenugreek is known to contain hormonal precursors, but should it act as a phytoestrogen, it could cause remarkably estrogen-like effects within the body. This would explain why users of fenugreek have reported breast enlargement in both females and males! Estrogenically enlarged breasts are not exactly an effect to which most bodybuilders aspire.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the medicinal uses of fenugreek include soothing skin inflammations, a possible blood sugar-lowering effect in diabetics, and the ability to stimulate and increase lactation. Fenugreek has been researched and proven to exhibit positive results in these situations. It has not been proven to have a categorical effect on testosterone and until any further and legitimate studies are executed as to its effect, it is unwise to take fenugreek for such a purpose.
The relatively good news is that fenugreek is considered to be a safe herb in that its side effects are mild and tend to disappear immediately upon the discontinuation of the supplement. It is highly unlikely that any users who have experienced breast enlargement while taking fenugreek will suffer from permanent effects. Breast enlargement is largely an anecdotal side effect and not considered one of the more common effects of the herb. It is difficult to say precisely what can occur when any herb is taken at high doses for a lengthy period of time. When you are adding an herbal supplement to your diet for any reason, documented or undocumented, it is always recommended that you first consult a medical expert who is familiar with the particular product.