A Natural Aid For Diabetics
By Anthony Almada, M.S.

The seeds of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) comprise a potent bunch of phytochemicals that may prove beneficial for diabetics and those with high blood lipids, a condition which can lead to high cholesterol and heart disease. In one study, powdered extracts of the seeds (5 g per day over three months) produced favorable changes in blood-sugar levels in patients with minor Type II diabetes and reduced both total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels among heart disease patients. Healthy subjects showed no effects. Earlier studies in Type I diabetics found that a much heftier dose (100 g per day) over a 10-day period reduced blood-sugar levels while improving blood lipids. When germinated fenugreek seeds were ingested (12.5?18 g per day for 30 days) by vegetarians with high total blood cholesterol, significant drops in all "unfriendly" lipids were seen without a change in HDL (good) cholesterol, the "friendly" lipids.

One potential side effect of fenugreek seed extract is a reduction in the more active thyroid hormone T3, which could cause an increase in body weight, seen thus far in animal studies. This has not yet been explored in human studies but merits attention, especially in diabetics.

Nutrition and exercise biochemist Anthony Almada, M.S., has collaborated on more than 45 university-based studies and is founder and chief scientific officer of IMAGINutrition.