A fenugreek seed extract selectively reduces spontaneous fat consumption in healthy volunteers

Abstract

Purpose

Fenugreek seeds (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) are an old herbal remedy used to treat metabolic and nutritive dysfunctions. They have been shown to modulate feeding behaviour in animals, but strong clinical data are lacking. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a repeated administration of a fenugreek seed extract on energy intake and eating behaviour in healthy human volunteers.

Methods

Twelve healthy male volunteers completed a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled three-period cross-over trial of two different doses of a fenugreek seed extract (588 and 1176 mg). The three 14-day treatment periods were separated by a 14-day washout period. The main endpoints were energy intake, assessed in volunteers under normal ambulatory and free-living conditions by a 3-day detailed dietary record and during a meal test, weight, fasting glucose level, insulin and lipid profile, visual analogue scale scores of appetite/satiety and blood glucose and insulin levels measured repeatedly after a standardized breakfast.

Results

Daily fat consumption was significantly decreased by the higher dose of fenugreek seed extract [3.73 vs. 4.51 MJ day−1, −17.3% vs. placebo, 95% confidence interval (CI) −1.51 to −0.05, n = 12, P = 0.038]. This specific reduction tended to lower the total energy intake (9.97 vs. 11.29 MJ day−1, −11.7% vs. placebo, 95% CI −2.91 to 0.26, n = 12, P = 0.094). No significant effect was observed on the other nutrients or other endpoints.

Conclusions

The repeated administration of a fenugreek seed extract specifically decreases dietary fat consumption in humans which, given the traditional use of the plant, constitutes a novel result.

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Acknowledgements

This study was sponsored by the University Hospital of Montpellier (UF7599) with the financial support of Laboratoires Legras (Cachan, France). We specially thank B Bories-Azeau (administrative assistant) for her extensive effort in recruiting volunteers and managing the study. This study was also successfully carried out thanks to the expert scientific, medical, biological and logistic assistance of R. Blanc, A. Bonardet, F. Michel, C. Montaudié, M.C. Picot and A.M. Puech-Cathala.

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Correspondence to Hugues Chevassus.

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Chevassus, H., Molinier, N., Costa, F. et al. A fenugreek seed extract selectively reduces spontaneous fat consumption in healthy volunteers. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 65, 1175 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00228-009-0733-5

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Keywords

  • Eating behaviour
  • Energy intake
  • Fat
  • Fenugreek seed
  • Healthy volunteers
  • Human