Fenugreek Boosts Libido and Reduces Irritability in Healthy Women, Research Finds

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A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study of patented organic fenugreek extract (FenuSMART, from Akay, India) found that the extract may help establish “hormonal balance” and improve sexual problems such as that low libido improving vaginal dryness, irritability and mood without side effects. Additionally, it offered significant beneficial effects (P

The reproductive cycle is regulated by hormones of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis (HPG); mainly estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).

The constant variations in hormonal levels normally cause a number of physiological and psychological changes throughout a woman’s life, from puberty through the postmenopausal period through the pregnancy and childbirth years.

Hormonal imbalance due to physiological deterioration in the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis can lead to various symptoms such as hot flashes, sweating, sleep disturbances, mood swings, depression, decline cognitive, vaginal dryness and sexual dysfunction, which can impact quality of life.

Since drugs and modalities currently available such as hormone replacement therapy are associated with side effects, there is great interest in safe, natural agents to achieve “hormonal balance”.

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) Is a medicinal plant which has been shown to be useful against various physiological problems in women; or for hormone related issues.

Therefore, the present study aimed to test the influence of FenuSMART (FHE) on hormonal balance and its safety in healthy young women.

The study

A total of 48 healthy menstruating women with regular menstrual cycles of 28 to 34 days and aged 20 to 48 years were included in the study. Participants were randomized to two intervention arms to receive either FHE (n = 24) or placebo (n = 24) for 42 days at 250 mg × 2 / day.

The primary outcome measure included assessment of the effectiveness of FHE supplementation on sexual problems and irritability, as measured by the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) Questionnaire on Day 0 and at day 42. The MRS is a health-related quality of life monitoring scale developed to measure the severity of menopause. symptoms, including sexual problems and irritability. The questionnaire consists of 11 elements, completed by the participants at the start (day 0) and at the end of the study (day 42).

The secondary endpoint included the safety and influence of HEF on hormonal balance compared to placebo.

The study found a significant reduction in sexual problems (41.67%) and quality of life in the FHE group compared to placebo, with a 40% decrease in the irritability score. Interestingly, improvement within the normal reference range was seen for estradiol (P = 0.04), total testosterones (P = 0.012), and free testosterone (P = 0.025) among participants who had levels weak base; without significant improvement in progesterone (P = 0.174) and FSH (P = 0.879).

However, the increase in estradiol and testosterone in participants with normal baseline levels was not significant (P> 0.05), indicating relatively low estrogenic activity for FenuSMART. The researchers point out that phytoestrogens are generally shown to have weak receptor binding. So, under normal healthy conditions, when there is enough natural estrogen in the body, the receptors available to bind to phytoestrogens will be limited. But, in the case of insufficient estrogen levels, phytoestrogens can bind to receptors and support to improve symptoms associated with low estrogen levels.

Action mechanism

FenuSMART is a hydro-ethanolic extract of fenugreek seeds containing protodioscin and trigonelline in a 3: 1 ratio with approximately 10% protodioscin as well as the other bioactive molecules of fenugreek seeds such as 4-hydroxyisoleucine, diosgenin and flavonoids.

The researchers suggest that the hormone balancing effect of the supplement can be primarily attributed to its content of protodioscin, a furostanolic saponin molecule with significant structural similarity to DHEA. Protodioscin can, in fact, be converted to DHEA, which is then converted to testosterone and estradiol.

FenuSMART also contains trigonelline, which can increase estrogen levelsand work on the serotonin pathway. Estradiol and testosterone activate the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis by binding to estrogen receptors and activation of the HPG axis is necessary for fertility. Decreased serum estrogen results in decreased intracavernosal, vaginal and urethral clitoral blood flow, due to diffuse clitoral brosis, thinning of the vaginal epithelial layers, and decreased vaginal submucosal vasculature.

Reference: Clinical phytoscience

Khanna. A., et al.

“Safety and influence of a novel fenugreek extract on healthy young women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study”

https://doi.org/10.1186/s40816-021-00296-y


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