Soluble dietary fibre fraction of Trigonella foenum-graecum (fenugreek) seed improves glucose homeostasis in animal models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes by delaying carbohydrate digestion and absorption, and enhancing insulin action

Br J Nutr. 2007 Mar;97(3):514-21. doi: 10.1017/S0007114507657869.


Trigonella foenum-graecum (fenugreek) seeds have been documented as a traditional plant treatment for diabetes. In the present study, the antidiabetic properties of a soluble dietary fibre (SDF) fraction of T. foenum-graecum were evaluated. Administration of SDF fraction (0 x 5 g/kg body weight) to normal, type 1 or type 2 diabetic rats significantly improved oral glucose tolerance. Total remaining unabsorbed sucrose in the gastrointestinal tract of non-diabetic and type 2 diabetic rats, following oral sucrose loading (2 x 5 g/kg body weight) was significantly increased by T. foenum-graecum (0 x 5 g/kg body weight). The SDF fraction suppressed the elevation of blood glucose after oral sucrose ingestion in both non-diabetic and type 2 diabetic rats. Intestinal disaccharidase activity and glucose absorption were decreased and gastrointestinal motility increased by the SDF fraction. Daily oral administration of SDF to type 2 diabetic rats for 28 d decreased serum glucose, increased liver glycogen content and enhanced total antioxidant status. Serum insulin and insulin secretion were not affected by the SDF fraction. Glucose transport in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and insulin action were increased by T. foenum-graecum. The present findings indicate that the SDF fraction of T. foenum-graecum seeds exerts antidiabetic effects mediated through inhibition of carbohydrate digestion and absorption, and enhancement of peripheral insulin action.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / diet therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / pharmacokinetics
  • Dietary Fiber / pharmacology
  • Dietary Fiber / therapeutic use*
  • Digestion / drug effects
  • Disaccharidases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Disaccharidases / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / drug effects
  • Homeostasis / drug effects
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Intestinal Absorption / drug effects
  • Intestine, Small / enzymology
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Solubility
  • Sucrose / pharmacokinetics
  • Trigonella / chemistry*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Sucrose
  • Disaccharidases