Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is a plant growing in southern Europe and Asia. The germinated seeds of fenugreek have been used for many years in traditional Chinese medicine. Its uses in traditional Chinese medicine include alleviation of pain including joint pain, as a digestive aid, to induce labor, and to induce lactation.
As a sports supplement, fenugreek seed may be of use to help with nutrient partitioning. Plentiful research has shown it to have hypoglycemic (blood sugar lowering) effects due to 4-hydroxyisoleucine, a constituent of fenugreek seed. This effect of fenugreek seed has been shown to be slow and sustained which limits the chance of adverse side effects such as hypoglycemia. Fenugreek seed has been shown to enhance glycogen (carbohydrate stored in muscle) resynthesis after exercise when combined with carbohydrates as opposed to taking carbohydrates without fenugreek seed, supporting its hypoglycemic effects and use as a sports supplement. Fenugreek seed may also have some additional benefits. These benefits include increased utilization of fatty acids for energy during exercise, liver detoxification, stimulation of testosterone production, and protection against free radicals by the anti-oxidant polyphenols and flavonoids of fenugreek seed. Fenugreek seed may stimulate growth-hormone release in rats, but it is unknown whether or not fenugreek seed has the same effect in humans.
Fenugreek seed has many benefits to athletes and bodybuilders, especially its effects on blood sugar levels. 4-Hydroxyisoleucine and fenugreek seed are included in many carbohydrate partitioning and blood glucose lowering supplements due to this effect. Fenugreek seed is also included in quite a few testosterone boosting supplements due to its ability to stimulate production of testosterone.
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