Fenugreek Boosts Testosterone and Sheds Fat in Athletes

Natural testosterone boosters have long been the most frustrating supplement in my gym bag.  There has been many testosterone-boosting claims of this and that mineral, Chinese remedies, roots, herbs, and everything else under the sun.  If you are not educated in the facts of these supplements (in reading this I am guessing you are trying), then you may very well end up with some random T-Booster that is about as effective as deer antler spray is on IGF levels.  So let me introduce you to a study on fenugreek, which is becoming the base of some test boosters currently on the market.powder

In this study, sponsored by Indian Indus Biotech (who also happens to produce fenugreek), 500mgs of fenugreek taken daily increase the amount of unbound testosterone by 26%.  Now, fenugreek has already been shown to have a mild anabolic effect in animals and humans. This is rumored to be a cause of the increase in testosterone that fenugreek produces.  Sports scientists at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (a respected US University) carried out the following:

Thirty strength athletes with an average age of 21 participated.  One group (AI) took 500mgs or .5g of fenugreek extract daily for a period of eight weeks.  The extract was standardized for graecunins to concentrate the steroid-like compounds called spirostanes that are found in fenugreek.  Most fenugreek supplements will be standardized for graecunins in different concentrations.  The other group (PL) was given a placebo.  During the eight weeks of the study, both groups increased their strength by roughly the same percentage (Figure 1).

T1= week 0

T2= week 4

T3= week 8


Figure 1

Both groups gained LBM by an increase of 3lb 8.44oz or 1.6kg.  Free, unbound testosterone increased by a statistically significant 26% in the (AI) group (Figure 2).  The estradiol, or E2 levels didn’t increase by this much, which is a good thing.  However, I would expect that to happen with an increase in testosterone.  It looks as though fenugreek extract actually inhibits testosterone from converting to estrogen (estradiol/E2).


Figure 2

The figure below shows the decrease of fat mass percentage in the participants (Figure 3).  In the fenugreek group (AI), fat mass dropped by 1.8%.  In the placebo group (PL), it only dropped by .6%.


Figure 3

Based on this study, fenugreek can increase fat loss in male athletes three fold.  Proper diet and training will be the most important variable.  A in increase in fat metabolism is a common effect of testosterone, and a more favorable body fat percentage is common in those with higher free testosterone in their veins.  This decrease in body fat was most likely attributed by the sharp increase in testosterone.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21116018

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