Diabetes Supplements: Fenugreek For Diabetes

by Cindy

Fenugreek Benefits For Diabetes

Fenugreek is a plant that has been used for medicinal purposes for many years.  The seeds and extract of this plant have been used to treat many different health conditions such as stomach upset, constipation and high cholesterol.  Fenugreek is also frequently used by breastfeeding women to stimulate lactation.  Recently, nautral substances such as cinnamon, chromium, bitter melon and fenugreek has been studied for use in lowering glucose levels in diabetic patients.  For diabetic patients who are interested in natural diabetes supplements that can help reduce blood sugar levels and improve the a1c blood test readings, fenugreek shows promise!

What is Fenugreek?

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is a plant that is native to India and North Africa.  It is used for both culinary and medicinal purposes and is known for its flavor that is similar to maple syrup.  Its seeds and extract have been used since ancient times to treat a variety of ailments.  Fenugreek has historically been used to treat the following conditions:

  • Stomach Upset
  • Constipation
  • Menopausal Symptoms
  • Breastfeeding
  • Diabetes
  • High Cholesterol

Fenugreek Seeds For Diabetes

Fenugreek is thought to lower blood sugar levels by stimulating the release of insulin to help the body store glucose.  In addition, the high fiber content of fenugreek seeds are thought to slow the absorption of sugars from the intestinal tract and stomach.  Several small studies supported the use of fenugreek for lowering blood sugar in diabetic patients.  One study deomonstrated that consumption of fenugreek seed extract reduced fasting glucose levels and improved cholesterol in patients with type 2 diabetes.  Another small study found that fenugreek extract worked to reduce blood sugar levels and symptoms of diabetes when used in combination with commonly prescribed diabetic medications.

Scientific studies have indicated that fenugreek contains numerous compounds that play a role in insulin release, insulin sensitivity and the absoprtion of sugars.  Studies have shown that fenugreek seeds can be used for diabetics to decrease sugar levels by promoting insulin release and slowing the uptake of glucose from the intestinal tract and stomach.

Other Fenugreek Uses

  • Fenugreek For Lactation: Fenugreek is very commonly used to stimulate lactation and improve milk supply in breastfeeding women.  This substance should not be used by pregnant women for any reason because it is not safe for use in pregnancy because it can stimulate contractions.
  • Fenugreek For Inflammation: Fenugreek has also been used to combat inflammation, burns and eczema by grinding fenugreek seeds into a paste that is applied directly to the skin.
  • Fenugreek for Gastrointestinal Upset:  Fenugreek has been used since ancient times to help stimulate appetite and to relieve upset stomach.
  • Fenugreek For Cholesterol:  A few isolated studies have shown improvement in cholesterol levels in patients taking fenugreek supplements.

Where to Buy Fenugreek

Fenugreek supplements can be purchased in natural health food stores within the United States.  It is important to remember that these supplements are not tested by the FDA and some natural supplements have been reported to contain contaminants and insuffient amounts of the product.  It is best to purchase any supplement from a reputable company that employs and outside testing facility to ensure quality products.  Look for supplements that contain the USP verified mark, which indicates that the product was tested and contains the listed ingredients and is free of contaminants.

Fenugreek Side Effects

Unlike many supplements that have unpleasant side effects, such as niacin with its characteristic niacin flush, fenugreek is relatively well tolerated by diabetic patients. Fenugreek may cause stomach upset, gas or bloating.  It has also been associated with allergic reactions in a few individuals.  Fenugreek is not safe for use in pregnancy and should not be given to children.  This substance can also interact with medications.  In particular, patients taking MAO inhibitors, blood thinners and diabetic medications must consult their doctor before starting fenugreek supplements because fenugreek could interact with your medications.

Fenugreek is still being studied for its hypoglycemic properties but the current data is encouraging.  Until more information is available, it is important for diabetic patients to exercise caution before starting any supplement because the dosing information and full effects of fenugreek still are not understood.  It is of most importance for patients taking certain medications to consult their physician before starting this supplement because fenugreek may be unsafe for use with certain medications.

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