Fenugreek seeds are a good natural remedy for a range of health issues from diabetes to high cholesterol. They can also protect your liver.1 And while they don’t cause any serious side effects in general, you should be wary of a few things before you try supplementing with fenugreek seeds.
A common complaint among people who have larger quantities (over 100 g) of fenugreek seeds is nausea.2 Cut down your intake if you’re left with a puking sensation every time you take them.
2. Stomach Upsets, Diarrhea, And Indigestion
If you try and have more than a 100 g portion of these seeds in one go, your intestine may be disturbed by this huge intake. The result could be a stomach upset.3 This may manifest as diarrhea or just the feeling of uneasiness that comes with indigestion.
3. Loss Of Appetite
Eating fenugreek seeds can dull the appetite in some people. One study found that consuming fenugreek seeds suppressed the appetite of participants and reduced their daily intake of dietary fat considerably.4 This may seem like good news to many of us. But not all dietary fats are bad, and if you are struggling to gain weight, that’s certainly not the case! More worrying, if you have any kind of eating disorder, this can interfere with an already troubled relationship between food and appetite.
4. Plummeting Blood Sugar
Fenugreek is a natural remedy to lower blood sugar levels.5 However, if you are already on medication that helps lower your sugar levels – including diabetes medication – you should check with your doctor before starting on fenugreek seeds. The blood sugar-lowering effect of your existing medicines plus that of the seeds could cause your sugar levels to dip dangerously low.
5. Risk Of Miscarriage
Pregnant women are advised against consuming these seeds while they have a baby on board. Saponins, a class of compounds found in fenugreek seeds, can stimulate the uterus, bringing on contractions. This, in turn, can up your risk of a miscarriage. Even if you are not pregnant but are menstruating, it may be a good idea to hold off on taking fenugreek-based remedies. This is to prevent excessive bleeding as a result of the saponins.6
6. Body Odor
There are people who have reported an odd mildly sweet body odor after consuming fenugreek seeds or supplements. If that’s a deal-breaker for you, you may not want to try fenugreek seeds.
7. Allergic Reaction
You could have an allergic reaction to fenugreek seeds, especially if you are already allergic to things like green peas, peanuts, chickpeas, or even soybeans. Typical allergic side effects include rashes, a runny nose, or watery eyes. One piece of research also points to more severe allergic reactions such as wheezing, numbness of the head, and even fainting in a few cases.7
Dosage For A Healthy Adult: 2–5 g Twice Daily
If you are diabetic or on blood sugar-regulating medication, or if you are pregnant, any amount could be potentially problematic. How much you can have will depend on your individual health profile, so speak to your doctor about it first. For everyone else who is in otherwise good health, consuming fenugreek seeds in moderation should be fine. Typical dosage is in the range of 2–5 g taken twice per day. This should not cause an adverse effect.
Some remedies prescribe the seed powder in the range of 25–30 g a day. As a thumb rule, if you have exceeded the 100 g a day level at any point, you could be in trouble. Most side effects are experienced at this level or higher.8
|↑1, ↑6||Srinivasan, K. “Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum): A review of health beneficial physiological effects.” Food reviews international 22, no. 2 (2006): 203-224.|
|↑2, ↑8||Fenugreek Side Effects. University of Michigan.|
|↑3||Fenugreek Side Effects. University of Michigan.|
|↑4||Chevassus, Hugues, Nathalie Molinier, Françoise Costa, Florence Galtier, Eric Renard, and Pierre Petit. “A fenugreek seed extract selectively reduces spontaneous fat consumption in healthy volunteers.” European journal of clinical pharmacology 65, no. 12 (2009): 1175-1178.|
|↑5||Smith, Michael. “Therapeutic applications of fenugreek.” Alternative Medicine Review 8, no. 1 (2003): 20-27.|
|↑7||Patil, Sangita P., Pramod V. Niphadkar, and Mrinal M. Bapat. “Allergy to fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum).” Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 78, no. 3 (1997): 297-300.|