Is Fenugreek Bad for Liver?

fenugreek-seeds-fatty-liverSo, is there a link between fenugreek and liver damage? Simply put, the answer is no. Instead, it is usually considered as an herb with hepatoprotective properties these days. Besides, it is often used for increasing mother’s milk, healing skin inflammation, boosting men’s testosterone levels, treating appetite loss, improving diabetes, and so on. Unfortunately, things are not quite that simple. While many studies support the healing properties of fenugreek, some others have shown that it couldn’t help any of the above-mentioned health condition. Of course, it is worth mentioning that there’s no consensus yet on this debate so far.

In order to evaluate the effects of fenugreek seed polyphenol extract (FPEt) on collagen and liver lipids, in 2007 S. Kaviarasan ever conducted experiment with rats with damaged rates, which were fed with alcohol and fenugreek simultaneously. The result shows that low doses of fenugreek protect alcohol-induced liver damage. And this study was published in “Cell Biology and Toxicology.”

In 2008, S. Kaviarasan continued to investigate whether or not fenugreek possibly helps liver to increase the levels of antioxidant enzymes. And finally he concluded that fenugreek could protect the liver, much like silymarin does. By the way, silymarin is a unique flavonoid complex derived from the milk thistle plant and has long been used in the prevention and treatment of liver and gallbladder disorders.

Kaviarasan believes that it is the fenugreek seed’s phytochemicals that make this herb possess liver-protecting properties. As a result, these steroidal saponins, in particular the one that is diosgenin, play the key role here. By the way, diosgenin is mainly extracted from the root of wild yam and can be made into estrogen and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in the laboratory. That’s to say, it can be one of treatment options for menopause symptoms, such as night sweats, hot flashes, and the like.

In addition, N. Sushma and T. Devasena ever conducted a study to examine the protective effects of fenugreek’s phytochemicals on pesticide-induced toxicity. And the results of this research find that this herb can control the lipid levels and then prevent and reverse liver damage. Later they published this study in the journal “Human and Experimental Toxicology.”

Fenugreek is generally considered to have nothing to do with clinical liver injury and doesn’t affect serum enzyme levels. However, some skeptics argue with this view. And Aziza M. Hassan is one of them. He ever conducted animal research to investigate the side effects and toxicity of fenugreek seeds. And he found that there is a connection between mild hepatitis and megadoses of this spice. Interesting enough, he also found that megadoses of fenugreek didn’t affect small and large intestine, stomach, and kidney but liver. Later he published this study in the “African Journal of Biotechnology.”

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