Fenugreek and Its Effects on Muscle Performance: A Systematic Review

J Pers Med. 2023 Feb 27;13(3):427. doi: 10.3390/jpm13030427.


Fenugreek extracts possess promising physiological and pharmacological properties in human and animal models. This review aims to provide a scientific and comprehensive analysis of the literature on the effects of fenugreek extracts on muscle performance. An extensive online search was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement guidelines. The main medical and scientific engines were searched for articles from May 1981 to May 2021 to capture all scientific studies focused on the effect of fenugreek on muscle and exercise or sport. Out of 81 studies acquired, six eligible randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included in the qualitative analysis. Four RCTs observed that fenugreek supplementation had significantly improved muscle strength, repetitions to failure (muscle endurance), submaximal performance index, lean body mass, and reduced body fat. Among the remaining two trials, one reported the significant effect of fenugreek extracts on the rate of muscle glycogen resynthesis during post-exercise recovery; however, the other failed to do so. Those two trials were weak, with a minimal sample size (<10). Further, fenugreek glycoside supplementation with sapogenins and saponins reported substantial anabolic and androgenic activity, influencing testosterone levels and muscle performance. It was useful during eight weeks of resistance training without any clinical side effects. Fenugreek with creatine supplementation improved creatine uptake without the necessity of high carbohydrate intake. Hence, fenugreek extracts can be a helpful natural supplement and ergogenic aid for athletes. However, it is better to be aware of doping and liver and kidney damage before using the fenugreek supplement.

Keywords: athletes; exercise; fenugreek; muscle; recovery.

Publication types

  • Review

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