Effect of fenugreek supplementation on blood lipids and body weight: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

J Ethnopharmacol. 2020 May 10:253:112538. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2019.112538. Epub 2020 Feb 20.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Fenugreek is a traditional herbal medicine that has been used for centuries to treat hyperglycemia, muscle spasms, gastritis, constipation, edema, and other metabolic disorders. Recently, lipid-lowering effects of fenugreek have been identified.

Aim of the study: The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to determine and clarify the impact of fenugreek supplementation on anthropometric indices and serum lipid levels.

Materials and methods: We searched PubMed, Scopus, ISI Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar from inception to June 2019 using relevant keywords. All randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the effects of fenugreek on anthropometric indices and plasma lipids in adults were included. A random-effects model was used for quantitative data synthesis. A sensitivity analysis was conducted using the leave-one-out method.

Results: A meta-analysis of 12 RCTs (14 arms) with 560 participants suggested a significant decrease in plasma concentrations of total cholesterol (WMD = -9.371 mg/dL; 95% CI: -15.419, -3.323, p = 0.002), triglycerides (WMD = -13.776 mg/dL; 95% CI: -26.636, -0.916, p = 0.036), and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (WMD = -6.590 mg/Dl; 95% CI: -13.042, -0.137, p = 0.045), as well as an increase in plasma high density lipoprotein cholesterol (WMD = 3.501 mg/dL; 95% CI: 1.309, 5.692, p = 0.002), while body weight (WMD = 0.223 kg; 95% CI: -0.509, 0.955, p = 0.551) and body mass index (WMD = 0.091 kg/m2; 95% CI: -0.244, 0.426, p = 0.596) were not altered.

Conclusion: Fenugreek supplementation improved lipid parameters in adults. However, to confirm these results, more studies, particularly among hyperlipidemic patients, are needed.

Keywords: Blood lipids; Fenugreek; Meta-analysis; Supplementation; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / drug therapy
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / isolation & purification
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Trigonella / chemistry*


  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • Lipids