Fenugreek Seeds for Diabetes- Benefits, Dose, Safety and Side Effects

This post is updated based on recent scientific studies (*), culminating in multiple clinical trials. Here is the essential information related to type 2 diabetes using fenugreek. There were 894 study subjects from 14 clinical trials. They were healthy subjects with Type2 DM or Prediabetic. The inclusion criteria were the intervention of at least seven days using only fenugreek seeds at any dose.

The exclusion:

The Results:

Fenugreek seed consumption reduced the FPG by 3.7 mg/dL, PPG by 10.61 mg/dL, and HbA1c by 0.88%. However, only the reduction in HbA1c was statistically significant.

Can Fenugreek seeds, a small herb, challenge the big disease like Diabetes?

Fenugreek seeds are known to be used in Indian and Chinese medicines from ancient times.

They are prepared from the dried seeds of Trigonella foenum-graecum, a medicinal plant with impressive health benefits. Indians call it ”methi.” It is a small plant with green leaves, white flowers, and long green pods (picture of a natural methi field). The light reddish brown-yellowish seeds, the dry, fresh, and frozen leaves, and frozen raw leaves are regularly used household items in India.  Methi leaves, and seeds can add unique flavor to the curries and rotis.


You could easily buy fenugreek seeds from the supermarket, Indian grocery stores or online.

Aside from its culinary use, one of the significant benefits of Fenugreek seeds is known for is to reduce blood sugar in diabetes patients. Diabetes, if left untreated for a long time can suffer from multiple organ failures and degradation of quality of life.  Here is the link to our recently published post about the symptoms of diabetes.

Nutrition Facts of Fenugreek Seeds

One tablespoon (11.1 grams) of whole fenugreek seeds contain

  • Energy, 35.5 kcal
  • Protein, 2.55 gm
  • Total fat, 0.71 gm,
  • Carbohydrate, 6.48 gm
  • Natural dietary fiber, 2.73 gm

How Does Fenugreek Seeds Benefit Type 2 Diabetes?

  • Fenugreek seeds have anti-diabetic properties because of their high fiber content. They contain a good amount of soluble fibers, which slow the digestion of carbohydrates and reduce blood sugar spiking.
  • Fiber prolongs gastric emptying time, slowing down glucose absorption into the bloodstream.
  • Fiber also lowers glucose uptake in the small intestine.
  • This combination of effects helps to lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Fenugreek seeds may also help to protect pancreatic cells and stimulate insulin production.

Overall, fenugreek seeds are a promising natural remedy for type 2 diabetes.




What is in Fenugreek Seeds that Help Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM)?

Constituents of fenugreek extracts include dietary fibers, mucilages, steroid saponins, flavonoids, and trigonelline.

  • 4-hydroxy isoleucine, a unique amino acid- act on the pancreas to release insulin. It is an active ingredient in blood glucose control, acting on the pancreas to release insulin.
  • Fenugrecin and trigonelline-the alkaloids present in fenugreek show hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) action
  • Steroidal Saponins -Glucose and lipid lowering effects
  • Soluble fibers, including glucomanan delays intestinal absorption of blood sugar

What Works the Best for Glucose Reduction? Seeds, Fatted Seeds or Leaves

Normal and diabetes objects were administered for glucose reduction after eating a single dose of 25 g of grains, 5 g of gum isolate, and 150 g of leaves. The duration of the treatment was 23 days. The results show the glucose reduction was highest with the whole seeds (Ref: Sciencedirect.com r.d. Sharma).

Nature of Fenugreek      % of Blood Glucose Reduction

whole fenugreek seeds                42.4%

Defatted fenugreek seeds.          36.9%

Defatted fenugreek seeds           36.9%

Gum isolet                                     37.5%

Gegummed fenugreek seeds     (very little)

Cooked fenugreek seeds             35.1

Cooked fenugreek leaves           (tiny)

Fenugreek Seeds Prevent T2DM with Prediabetes 

In a parallel study, 66 people invested 5 gm of fenugreek seed powder twice a day before meals and were compared with 70 prediabetes objects (30-70 years of age).  T2DM diagnostic parameters were measured every three months for three years.

  • Fasting glucose was significantly reduced.
  • Significant increase in LDL cholesterol
  • Significant increase in insulin
  • Decreased insulin resistance
  • The control group had a 4.2 times higher chance of developing diabetes than people consuming fenugreek.

Defatted Fenugreek Seeds help Diabetes Type 1

Type 1 diabetes results from the pancreas not producing insulin, and the treatment involves injecting insulin into the body to control blood glucose.

In a 1990 study, researchers they treated insulin-dependent type 1 diabetes patients, each with 100 g/day of defatted fenugreek seed powder equally divided between lunch and dinner with diets of similar calorie value for ten days.

Compared to the patients with no fenugreek in their diet, the patients with a fenugreek-added diet showed the following:

  • Reduced fasting blood glucose
  • Improved glucose tolerance
  • 54% reduction in 24 h glucose excretion
  • LDL cholesterol (risk for the heart) and triglyceride levels were also significantly reduced

However, HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) level remained unchanged.

Fenugreek Water Reduces Fasting Blood Glucose in Type 2 Diabetes

11/ 18 Type 2 diabetic patients who consumed 10 g of fenugreek seed powder/ day soaked in hot water were treated VS. 7/18 were given a similar amount of fenugreek seeds powder soaked in yogurt for eight weeks.

There was a 25% reduction in fasting blood glucose (FBS) with fenugreek seed powder soaked in hot water. No change in Fasting blood sugar (FBS) was seen in the yogurt arm.

Fenugreek Seeds Help Set A Delayed Response Type 2 Diabetes

A simple addition of fenugreek seeds to your diet leads to a reduction of fasting blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin (HA1c) levels in type 2 diabetes.

In 2017: a 60-patient study, all under strict diet control and exercise (recommended by American Diabetes Association) were divided into two equal groups. 30 of these patients were given fenugreek seeds soaked in hot water 10g/day for six months. The blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) level were measured monthly for six months.

A fasting blood glucose reduction was seen in the 5th month, and HbA1c reduction was observed on the 6th month. (Ref: American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes – 2015. Diabetes Care. 2015;38:S1–94. [Google Scholar])

  • The results would have been immediate if the blood sugar control were due to fiber.
  • Fenugreek seeds may be used with drugs to reduce the dose of the medication.

Can a combination of Fenugreek Seeds and Metformin work in diabetes?

The combination of fenugreek (150 mg/kg) and metformin (100 mg/kg) produced a significant reduction in plasma glucose level (20.7%) in type 2 diabetes evaluated in several chemically induced diabetic animal models.


  • For Diabetes: 5-100 grams of powdered fenugreek seeds added to one or two meals daily for 4 days to 3 years has been used.


FDA has described fenugreek seeds “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) as flavoring spices and other natural flavorings in 21 CFR 182

Fenugreek seed shows a broad margin of safety in several clinical and preclinical studies analyzed together.

Possible Side Effects of Fenugreek Seeds

The most common side effects of taking too much fenugreek may result in the following. Taking more than 100 gm of fenugreek may cause intestinal distress. It can cause

  • Stomach upset
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Allergic reactions with facial edema, wheezing, dizziness, and shock
  • Interact with warfarin to cause bleeding. People with bleeding problems should not use fenugreek seeds.
  • Intake of fenugreek during pregnancy may result in uterine contraction. So pregnant women should be careful.
  • Get advice from your physician about eating fenugreek seeds if you have low blood sugar.
  • People with allergies to chickpeas, green peas, and soybeans need to be careful taking fenugreek.

Caution!  Consult your physician before you start taking fenugreek seeds.


Fenugreek seeds act as anti-diabetes in prediabetes, type 1, and type 2 diabetes.  However, more studies with larger populations need to be tested. It has the potential to work with anti-diabetes drugs like metformin and glibenclamide in animal models.

Consult your physician before you start taking fenugreek seeds.



Anusuya Choudhury

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