Could your job be lowering your testosterone levels? A November 2011 study says yes.
According to the study, men whose jobs exposed them to chemical agents in the environment (e.g. traffic pollutants) had lower levels of total testosterone and “free” testosterone.
Obviously, getting a new job may not be an option, but boosting your testosterone levels with the help of fenugreek is. In fact, multiple studies show that fenugreek benefits both total testosterone levels and “free” testosterone levels.
What Is Fenugreek?
Fenugreek is an herb grown around the world and well-known for having many applications. It is said to have more than 100 phytochemical constituents; including Furostanol Saponins and Steroidal Saponins.
The leaves of this herb are commonly used as an ingredient in Middle Eastern dishes, and its seed are used for medicinal purposes.
Fenugreek seeds have been used to treat digestive problems, atherosclerosis, and to reduce cholesterol.
An increasingly popular use of fenugreek–thanks to clinical research–is boosting testosterone levels.
How Does Fenugreek Boost Testosterone?
In reality, researchers are not sure how or why fenugreek benefits testosterone levels and production. One theory is that the Steroidal Saponins in fenugreek trigger the release of testosterone, which is a steroidal hormone.
Besides increasing testosterone production, fenugreek should also make more “free” testosterone available.
Men produce about 7 milligrams of testosterone each day. Ninety-seven percent of this is used by the kidneys and the bloodstream. What’s left is “free” testosterone, and the more you have, the more this hormone can influence muscle growth and strength.
Is Fenugreek Safe?
According to WebMD.com, “Fenugreek is likely safe for people when taken by mouth in amounts normally found in foods. It is possibly safe when taken in amounts used for medicinal purposes.”
Although fenugreek could potentially cause side effects, reports are uncommon. If they do occur, side effects include stomach upset, bloating, gas, and nasal congestion.
For 8 weeks, a study was conducted at Texas A&M University to determine if fenugreek benefits testosterone levels and availability. Each day of the study, 30 male subjects were either given 500 mg of fenugreek or a placebo.
During the study, subjects who received fenugreek had a 6.57% increase in total testosterone and a 12.26% increase in “free” testosterone.
Estradiol and DHT levels also increased, but the results were not significant. On the other hand, the placebo group did not experience any changes in hormone levels.
Another study published in the February 2011 issue of Phytotherapy Research involved 60 male subjects, who were given 600 mg of fenugreek a day for six weeks. The subjects who were given fenugreek reported an increase in sexual arousal, energy, stamina, and testosterone levels.
Where Can You Find Fenugreek?
As a result of these and other clinical studies, fenugreek has become a staple ingredient in most testosterone supplements. But you may not always see it under the name “fenugreek”. This herb has been patented under the name TestofenTM, and sometimes the patented form is used more often than the regular form.
The Benefits of Fenugreek
“Chemical agents” in the environment aren’t the only cause of low testosterone. Infections, stress, and injury can affect this key hormone too. Fortunately, clinical studies show that fenugreek can increase testosterone levels and availability. And it’s safe, easy-to-find, and affordable. So, what are you waiting for?
Fenugreek is a very useful plant that is used in natural medicines in countries all over the world, but it is also used as a beauty treatment for re-growing hair, fighting dandruff and scalp conditions, and more. It has long been used in this manner by people on the Indian sub-continent, but fenugreek benefits for hair have now become better known in Western countries, too.
Balding and Hair Growth
The entire fenugreek plant, also known as methi in India, is useful, but the seeds are especially useful in treating follicular problems. The seeds contain hormone antecedents that enhance hair growth; the herb is also a great source of protein and nicotinic acid, which are both extremely important in strengthening and rebuilding hair follicles. Protein enriched diets have always been encouraged to diminish hair loss and stimulate its growth, so it only makes sense that the high concentration of protein in fenugreek partially explains the herbís curative ability on balding hair.
Dandruff is an inflammation that causes flaking skin, irritation, and redness of the scalp. Many people will suffer from it at some point during their lives, because it is a common, yet embarrassing problem. Fenugreek has been used for hundreds of years in India to cure this annoying and uncomfortable problem. Home remedies describe using a paste of the crushed or boiled seeds, applied to the scalp and allowed to penetrate overnight as an excellent dandruff remedy. The oils in the fenugreek seeds, which contain numerous skin-enriching ingredients, nourish the scalp.
Getting Curlier Hair
Fenugreek benefits for hair include the purported ability to boost hair follicle growth, fill in empty shafts, and even make straight hair look fuller, have more body and even add a little curl to it. This is because the herb supposedly helps reduce breakage and drying, which permits moisture to easily infiltrate the hair and alter its form. A large number of natural shampoos and conditioners for straight hair contain fenugreek for two significant benefits ó locking in moisture to make it more flexible and blocking out humidity to make it fuller and curlier.
Fenugreek seeds have high levels of lecithin, which is an emulsifying agent. The herbís seeds, when crushed, also create mucilage, a greasy substance that makes hair smooth and shiny. This feature makes fenugreek a valuable addition to natural leave-in and rinse-out conditioning formulas. Chemicals produced in a lab cannot mimic the beautifying properties of fenugreek. Using fenugreek alone or in conjunction with your current products can do the trick if a smooth, silky, well-conditioned mane is desired.
How to Use
There are several ways to use fenugreek to make your hair thicker, healthier and more beautiful. Try soaking the seeds in boiling water and letting them soak for several hours. Then crush the results into a thick paste, which can be massaged into the scalp. A second option is to grind the dry seeds into a powder, or use the powder from store-bought fenugreek capsules mixed with hot water until it becomes greasy to the touch. Rub the resultant mixture into your scalp, then work your way down the whole length of hair. Do this daily until desired results are achieved.
There are many products that promise to make hair thicker, prettier and cure dandruff, but many of them are expensive and some donít work at all.
Donít Ignore these Fenugreek Side Effects
For the most part, fenugreek is a safe and natural herbal remedy that has shown to provide great benefits for many different health problems and ailments. Just like any other curative or therapy, however, there will always be individuals who experience side effects from the use of this herb. The following is a list of possible fenugreek side effects that may occur while taking it.
Fenugreek has the possibility of interfering with the absorption of some oral medications. The two most common medications effected are blood thinners and a few drugs used for diabetes. Since the natural coumarins in fenugreek act as blood thinners, always be sure to contact your health care professional if you are already taking an anticoagulant drug. If a drug interaction occurs, it can lead to dangerous side effects such as uncontrolled or internal bleeding. Use fenugreek with caution and educate yourself on all of the warning signs of a reaction.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has associated an assortment of gastrointestinal side effects related to the use of fenugreek. These problems may include diarrhea, loose stools, flatulence, bloating, and excessive gas. It is recommended to consume no more than 100 grams of the herb daily to reduce the chance of these side effects. If any of these symptoms still appear, continue lowering your dosage until the complications subside. If stomach problems are still present, it is best to stop taking fenugreek altogether.
Fenugreek has been known to cause allergic responses in some individuals. The most common symptoms of this include facial swelling, rash, difficulty breathing and swallowing, and wheezing. If you are allergic to any kind of spice, a negative response may present itself after consuming fenugreek, so pay careful attention if you have been bothered by flavorings or seasonings in the past. A second problem is that fenugreek is in the same family as green peas, peanuts, and chickpeas. Those who are allergic to legumes should not use fenugreek, because a serious or deadly reaction may occur.
A component of fenugreek is sotolone, which is a strong aromatic complex, comparable to maple syrup. This compound passes through the body almost unchanged, exiting the pores and orifices with the same smell as when it was taken in. The herbís smell has been found to emit from a userís sweat and breath. Fenugreek can also cause a similar smell in the urine and turn it dark-colored when taken in high doses. Although these are not serious side effects, they can be embarrassing, and some individuals have quit using the herb because of the smell alone.
Fenugreek has been known to cause skin reactions in some individuals, which can become quite bothersome. When the herb is used topically, it can cause skin sensitivity, rash, and irritation. Other less common reactions include bleeding and bruising easily. Studies have shown, however, that these skin irregularities most often occur when testosterone supplement is taken in large doses or for a lengthy amount of time. Most people find that these problems subside as soon as they lower their dose or discontinue using the herb.
Fenugreek is a plant used in natural therapies for many types of ailments, and serious side effects are actually very rare. As long as a physician or health care professional is consulted before use, users should experience little to no fenugreek side effects while using the herb.