RCT supports Fenugreek extract’s low dose menopausal benefits

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Luis Echeverri Urrea / Getty Images
© Luis Echeverri Urrea / Getty Images

Related tags fenugreek fenugreek seed Menopausal symptoms women's health

A standardized extract of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) may help balance hormones and improve vasomotor effects and leg pain in postmenopausal women, says a new study in India.

Data published in PharmaNutrition​ indicated that six weeks of supplementation with FenuSMART, a branded standardized fenugreek extract from Akay Flavours & Aromatics Pvt., Ltd, led to better hormonal balance in 48 women participating in the randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study.

“The observation that the [proprietary extract of fenugreek seeds]-treated participants experienced an improvement in quality of life within 2 weeks of supplementation indicates the plausible efficacy of the test substance at the investigational dosage,” ​wrote scientists from Leads Clinical Research and Bio Services (Bangalore), Akay Natural Ingredients, the University of Agricultural Sciences (Bangalore), and the Aman Hospital and Research Center.

“The significant improvement in various symptoms, especially on leg and body pain, hot flashes, night sweat and vaginal dryness points towards the phytoestrogenic effects of [the proprietary extract of fenugreek seeds]. The hormonal analysis by the end of the study period further confirmed the [proprietary extract of fenugreek seeds]-induced hormonal deviations towards the achievement of a balanced hormonal concentration within the safe range.”

The new study was funded by Akay as part of its ‘Spiceuticals’ – the nutraceutical ingredients from spices​ research program.

Fenugreek extract’s menopause benefits

The study builds on data from an earlier RCT with FenuSMART​ that supplementation of 1,000 mg of the ingredient for 90 days decreased hot flashes by 48% on the Greene Climacteric Scale, a questionnaire used to study the symptoms of menopause, compared to baseline.

“However, its efficacy in regulating the hormonal levels at low dosage remains unclear,” ​explained the researchers. “Thus, the present study was aimed to investigate the beneficial effects of FHE at 250 mg × 2/day in alleviating postmenopausal discomforts and its influence on hormonal imbalance.”

Study details

Forty-eight post-menopausal women with an average age of 54 were randomly assigned to receive placebo or 500 mg of FenuSMART per day for six weeks. FenuSMART has a composition of protodioscin and trigonelline at 3:1 (w/w) ratio.

Results showed that the fenugreek extract improved various menopausal symptoms, especially for leg and body pain, hot flashes, night sweat and vaginal dryness.

“The [fenugreek extract]-treated participants reported the feel of well-being within two weeks of supplementation and further improvement, in somatic, psychological and urogenital scores towards the end of the study period,”​ stated the researchers.

“There were 2.9, 4.2 and 7.2 times reduction respectively in hot flashes, night sweats and pain on leg muscles and joints with significant improvement in irritability and vaginal dryness when compared to placebo.”

Hormonal analysis revealed that women consuming the fenugreek extract experienced increases in estradiol, progesterone and free testosterone, which the researchers attributed to the metabolic conversion of protodioscin, the main furoastanic saponin in the fenugreek extract, to dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).

DHEA is known to be an important precursor to both androgens and estrogens.

“During aging, DHEA declines and the low circulatory levels has been associated with the diminished serum testosterone and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD) activity as well as reduced female sexual function,” ​explained the researchers.

“Thus, it is estimated that [fenugreek extract] supplementation, being rich in protodioscin, might have induced an enhanced DHEA levels in circulation leading to a balanced production of androgens (testosterone) and estrogens (estradiol), thereby effectively managing the postmenopausal symptoms.”

Source: PharmaNutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.phanu.2020.100209
“Phytoestrogenic effect of fenugreek seed extract helps in ameliorating the leg pain and vasomotor symptoms in postmenopausal women: A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study”
Authors: J.V. Thomas et al.

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