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L.Srikumar Pai
B.Sc( Engg.), MIE, MIWWA, MICI
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Fenugreek and diabetes

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Hindi: Meti, Mutti; Ben, Sanscrit: Methika, Methi, Kalanusari;  Marathi: Methi; Malayalam: Uluva; Tamil : Ventayam; Kannnada: Mentya, Menlesoppu; Telugu: Mentulu, Mentikura; Arab: Hulabaha

Fenugreek (also known as Greek Hay and Fenigreek), is an herb that is commonly found growing in the Mediterranean region of the world. While the seeds and leaves are primarily used as a culinary spice, it is also used to treat a variety of health problems in Egypt, Greece, Italy, and South Asia. Fenugreek is used both as a herb (the leaves) and as a spice (the seed, often called methi).

All diabetics interested in lowering their blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels should take this herb into consideration in either seed or leaf form. It has also demonstrated some positive benefits for abnormalities associated with diabetic retinopathy. All references and links to the research are at the end of these short summations. This guide is a work in process, but there is plenty of information here to get you started.

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) seeds have shown to have hypoglycemic and hypocholesterolemic effects on type1 & type2 diabetes mellitus patients and experimental diabetic animals. Supplementation of fenugreek leaves lowers the lipid-profile in diabetes mellitus (ref.15). Supplementation with Fenugreek leaves improves body weight and liver glycogen and has a significant effect of carbohydrate metabolism similar to Glibenclamide (ref. 16). Studies (ref 3) indicate that soluble dietary fraction of fenugreek seeds exerts anti-diabetic effects mediated through inhibition of carbohydrate digestion and absorption, and enhancement of peripheral insulin action.

Fenugreek also corrected the alterations in the distribution of skeletal muscle glucose transporter GLU4 (ref 4). The results of study in ref 1 show enrichment of fenugreek extracts, which has implications for diet-based diabetes management.

Fenugreek and Sodium orthovandate alone or in low dose combination have been shown to effectively control ocular histopathological and biochemical abnormalities associated with diabetic retinopathy (ref 5). Low doses of Vandate and Trigonella in combination was effective in normalization of altered membrane linked functions and GLU4 distribution without any side effects (ref.6,7).

Another study concludes that 2g of a powdered mixture of 3 medicinal plants (bitter gourd, jamun seeds and fenugreek) in raw or cooked form can be successfully used n lowering blood glucose in diabetes (ref.8)

Research suggests that low doses of Na3VO4 in combination with Trigonella seed powder are an efficient antidiabetic agent to control long-term complications of diabetes in tissues such as peripheral nerves (ref. 9).

Fenugreek leaf powder reduces oxidative stress in experimental diabetes. Fenugreek supplementation significantly lowered lipid peroxidation and significantly increased antioxidant system in diabetic rats in research study (ref. 10).

Research studies have noted positive influence of feeding fenugreek seed mucilage and spent turmeric on intestinal and renal disaccharides and thus their beneficial role in diabetes management (ref.11).

The hypoglycemic activity of fenugreek seed extract is mediated through the stimulation of an insulin signaling pathway (ref.12)

Fenugreek seed powder protects against histopathological abnormalities in tissues as well as acts to normalize metabolism which proves its potential as an antidiabetic agent (ref.13).

Fenugreek seeds are rich in protein and contain the unique free amino acid 4-hydoxyisoleucine (4-OH-Ile), which has been characterized as one of the active ingredients for blood glucose control. Potential genotoxicity of fenugreek seed extract was evaluated using FDA recommended tests and it was determined not to be genotoxic (ref.14).

Research studies (ref.2) conclude that Fenugreek extract can lower kidney/body weight ratio, blood glucose, blood lipid levels and improve hemorheological properties in experimental diabetic rats.

( Courtesy: )




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