RCT supports Fenugreek extract’s menopausal benefits

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock / Ezergil
© iStock / Ezergil

Related tags: Menopause

A standardized extract of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) may reduce hot flashes in postmenopausal women, and improve their quality of life, says a new study.

Data published in Phytotherapy Research​ indicated that hot flashes decreased by 48% on the Greene Climacteric Scale, a questionnaire used to study the symptoms of menopause, compared to baseline.

Other measures were improved, including vaginal dryness, irritability, anxiety, night sweats, mood swings, insomnia, and headaches, wrote the researchers.

The researchers used the FenuSMART branded standardized fenugreek extract from Akay Flavours & Aromatics Pvt., Ltd., and the Indian company funded the study.

“Supplementation of 1,000 mg of [FenuSMART] for 90 days was found to offer hormonal balance by significantly enhancing the estradiol levels, an estrogen that was shown to play a key role in menopausal discomforts,”​ wrote the researchers.

“Moreover, [FenuSMART] supplementation for 90 days was found to be safe with no adverse effects as shown by the haematological (sic) and serum biochemical parameters.”

Study details

The researchers recruited 88 women to participate in their randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study. The women were randomly assigned to receive either 1,000 mg per day of FenuSMART or placebo for 90 days.

Results showed that, compared to placebo, the fenugreek extract was associated with 57% reductions in scores of night sweats, a 68% reduction in measures of mood swings, a 75% reduction in measures of insomnia, and a 54% reduction in headache measures.

Hot flashes were reduced by an average one to two times per day from the baseline levels of three to five times a day. In addition, about 32% of the women in the fenugreek group reported no hot flashes at the end of the trial.

While the placebo group displayed increased in levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, no such increases were observed in the fenugreek group. “[FenuSMART] revealed a plausible cardiac beneficial effect by maintaining the lipid profile of the subjects in the baseline values,” ​they wrote.

Commenting on the potential mechanism, the researchers noted that the fenugreek extract was found to increase estradiol levels by 120%.

“Although the mechanism of estradiol enhancement has not been investigated in the present study, the observed increase in estradiol and the improvement in the postmenopausal discomforts point towards the establishment of a healthy hormonal balance upon [fenugreek extract] supplementation. It has been demonstrated that the decrease in estrogen levels to below 60 pg/mL was the main reason for menopausal discomforts. Estradiol also stimulates vaginal lubrication and blood flow, affecting a woman's capacity for sexual arousal and orgasm.”

Source: Phytotherapy Research
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/ptr.5680
“A Novel Extract of Fenugreek Husk (FenuSMART) Alleviates Postmenopausal Symptoms and Helps to Establish the Hormonal Balance: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study”
Authors: S. Shamshad Begum, et al.

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