A fenugreek seed extract selectively reduces spontaneous fat intake in overweight subjects



Fenugreek seeds (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) have long been used as a herbal medicine for treating metabolic and nutritive dysfunctions. They have been shown to modulate feeding behaviour in animals. We have recently observed a selective decrease in fat consumption in healthy normal weight volunteers treated with a hydro-alcoholic seed extract. However, strong clinical data on the effects of fenugreek seeds on energy intake are lacking, especially in overweight individuals. The aim of our study was to investigate the effects of a repeated administration of a fenugreek seed extract on the eating behaviour of overweight subjects.


Thirty-nine healthy overweight male volunteers completed a 6-week double-blind randomized placebo-controlled parallel trial of a fixed dose of a fenugreek seed extract. Main endpoints were energy intake (dietary records and meal test), weight, fasting and post-absorptive glucose and insulin, appetite/satiety scores and oxidative parameters.


Daily fat consumption, expressed as the ratio fat reported energy intake/total energy expenditure (fat-REI/TEE), was significantly decreased in our overweight subjects administered the fenugreek seed extract relative to those receiving the placebo (fat-REI/TEE 0.26 ± 0.02 vs. 0.30 ± 0.01, respectively; P = 0.032). We also observed a significant decrease in the insulin/glucose ratio in subjects treated with fenugreek seed extract relative to the placebo group (0.89 ± 0.09 vs. 1.06 ± 0.10 mUI mmol−1, respectively; P = 0.044). No significant effect was observed on weight, appetite/satiety scores or oxidative parameters.


The repeated administration of a fenugreek seed extract slightly but significantly decreased dietary fat consumption in healthy overweight subjects in this short-term study.

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This study was sponsored by the University Hospital of Montpellier (UF7698) with the financial support of French Ministry of Health (PHRC régional 2001) and Laboratoires Legras (Cachan, France). We specially thank B Bories-Azeau (administrative assistant) for her extensive work concerning volunteers recruitment and study management. This study was also successfully carried out thanks to the expert scientific, medical, technical and logistic assistance of JL Allaz, AM Barbanel, R Blanc, A Bonardet, A Cadène, JP Cristol, M Escoffier, J Foppolo, P Jonquet, C Montaudié, A Mouraret, C Piat, MC Picot, G Pouly, AM Puech-Cathala, I Roch-Torreilles, MH Rocolle and H Tsiambakaïna.

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Correspondence to Hugues Chevassus.

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Chevassus, H., Gaillard, JB., Farret, A. et al. A fenugreek seed extract selectively reduces spontaneous fat intake in overweight subjects. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 66, 449–455 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00228-009-0770-0

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  • Eating behaviour
  • Energy intake
  • Fat
  • Fenugreek seed
  • Overweight subjects
  • Human