(Article medically reviewed by Dr. Zac Hyde M.D)
Does fenugreek increase testosterone?
Based on the currently available science, the answer to that question is a big fat NO!
Now, I will admit that some men experience a temporary increase in sex drive after taking it.
But this can be explained by studies that have demonstrated that low prolactin levels can do a number on a mans libido.
And guess what?
Fenugreek increases prolactin levels in men, so this boost in sex drive is likely caused by this increase in prolactin.
This also explains why regular supplementation of fenugreek always seems to backfire, because high prolactin will crush a man hormonally.
Anyway, our editorial team breaks down all the science below if you’d like to dig deeper into this subject.
Or if you’d like, you can read about a supplement that actually does increase testosterone right here.
Does Fenugreek Increase Testosterone?
We’ve covered dozens of herbs, nuts, berries, and other supplements that have positive effects on male sexual health.
Many of these are prized by medical disciplines going back thousands of years, ranging from the Ayurvedic practices in India to the traditional remedies of China.
However, for every seed or root that does the deed, there are dozens and dozens of duds.
In this article, we’re going to discuss one such example.
Fenugreek extract has long been marketed to the men of the world as a surefire way to normalize and increase your testosterone levels, especially as you get older and you begin to lose some of the ding in your dong.
However, new evidence seems to suggest that this age-old edible, which dates back to biblical times, might have pulled one over on the guys who first started using it as a sexy time supplement.
Fenugreek Increases Prolactin
Fenugreek contains galactagogues, which are substances that help increase prolactin levels.
If you’re not up to date on the prolactin hormone, it’s because men aren’t really the “target audience” of most prolactin boosters.
If the name hasn’t given it away by now, prolactin is a pituitary hormone that causes a woman’s breasts to grow and produce milk during pregnancy and after birth.
In fact, if you scroll past all the “fenugreek makes you rock hard” advertisements, you’ll actually find dozens and dozens of web pages describing how women can use fenugreek to improve and increase lactation.
So, while men who take fenugreek supplements or eat the leaves and seeds won’t grow generous, bountiful breasts, they can see a spike in their prolactin levels, which actually inhibits testosterone production.
That’s one hell of a side effect. In fact, one might argue that it’s notable enough to simply be considered “the effect.”
Does Fenugreek Increases FREE Testosterone? (nope)
It might seem like someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes here, and that may actually be the case. Y
You see, the first study into fenugreek’s effects on the male body was actually pretty promising.
Indeed, regular supplementation was shown to boost testosterone levels while improving body composition in men who regularly practiced resistance training.
This is a big reason why fenugreek remains most popular among guys who love to work out and know the roles that proper testosterone plays in gaining lean muscle, losing fat, etc.
Unfortunately, the sponsor of those early studies happened to be a fenugreek supplement manufacturer.
Do with that information what you will (I’m not looking for a lawsuit).
Now, it’s true that fenugreek possesses a variety of well-known compounds for boosting T levels, such as protodioscin, calcium, apigenin, luteolin, and magnesium.
The problem apparently lies in fenugreek itself.
No matter how you twist things, there just isn’t enough evidence to support it having any long-term effects on T levels.
It’s a bit like putting a weight loss vitamin inside a chocolate bar. The are some great ingredients (as mentioned above) in there. However, something about the entire package just does more harm than good.
Here’s what some other studies had to say on the matter.
Prolactin & Testosterone Studies
- In one rodent study, fenugreek extract was found to have a positive effect on muscle growth. Unfortunately, there was virtually no measurable effect on testosterone levels.
- In a human-based study specifically designed to emulate the original, manufacturer-financed trial, fenugreek was found to have zero effect on both total and free testosterone levels. To make matters worse, it actually lowered DHT levels thanks to a previously unidentified 5-a reductase inhibitory side effect.
- Finally, a study that provided male subjects with a whopping 600 mg a day dosage of fenugreek extract repeatedly showed zero results in terms of testosterone response. At more than twice the dosage of any other study on this list, that’s pretty significant.
So, what does all this tell us? Well, for starters, it indicates that unlike this herb, the initial study into fenugreek’s efficacy was most likely a false positive.
When dealing with weight training men, there could be any number of reasons why their T levels would fluctuate upwards.
And even if we assume taking the supplement does have a slight benefit to hormones, there are far better all-natural testosterone boosters out there that won’t force you to take up to 600 mg a day!
Like it or not, you can’t hang your hat on just one scientific study.
It takes constant, expanded research in order to fish out the anomalies and find the real reason behind a supplement’s effects.
In this case, those additional studies just keep slapping fenugreek back down. Still, this fact hasn’t stopped it from becoming a super popular hormone booster.
And, if my estimates are correct, this article won’t either!
Fenugreek May Reduce Thyroid Function
Ignoring the prolactin-enhancing effects we mentioned earlier, you might be wondering if fenugreek has any beneficial effects.
Well, there’s an answer to that (but it isn’t good).
You see, additional studies unrelated to testosterone found that regular doses of fenugreek disrupted thyroid hormone regulation in rodents, the result of a chemical compound called trypsin.
As you might expect, this is far from what you might call a “benefit.” This leaves us with the vague “improvement in body composition” results mentioned way earlier in this article.
So, let’s break this down:
- A significant increase in prolactin levels
- No measurable changes in testosterone
- Potential disruption of thyroid function
- Slight increase in body composition in men who regularly practice resistance training
As you can see: no matter how you slice it, there just isn’t any real benefit to taking (and paying for) regular doses of fenugreek.
If the goal is to gain muscle mass, there are better supplements out there.
If the goal is to boost your testosterone, you’re likely throwing your money away, because there are tons of better supplements out there.
See here for example.
Does Fenugreek Increase Testosterone Conclusion:
If a new (legitimate) study comes out revealing a special formulation of fenugreek that can boost your T levels into infinity, I’ll be the first one to post all about it.
However, as of right now, the science just doesn’t back up what fenugreek is supposed to be able to do.
Moreover, it doesn’t take a tin-foil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorist to see how a company that manufactures and sells fenugreek might benefit from financing a study that shows it can do something it can’t.
At the end of the day, boosting prolactin and 5-a reductase inhibition is not something that men concerned about testosterone need to be doing.
So I feel pretty confident in saying that you should not only avoid this supplement on its own, but check your other supplement bottles to see if its included in the blend.