Randomized Controlled Trial
1Human Performance Lab, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Belton, Texas, 76513, USA
2Exercise and Performance Nutrition Lab, School of Physical Education and Exercise Science, The University of South Florida, USA
3Exercise and Biochemical Nutrition Laboratory, Department of Health, Human Performance & Recreation; Baylor University, Waco, TX 76798, USA
4Exercise and Sport Nutrition Laboratory, Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 78743, USA
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is a leguminous, annual plant originating in India and North Africa. In recent years Fenugreek has been touted as an ergogenic aid. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of Fenugreek supplementation on strength and body composition.
49 Resistance trained men were matched according to body weight and randomly assigned to ingest in a double blind manner capsules containing 500 mg of a placebo (N = 23, 20 ± 1.9 years, 178 ± 6.3 cm, 85 ± 12.7 kg, 17 ± 5.6 %BF) or Fenugreek (N = 26, 21 ± 2.8 years, 178 ± 6 cm, 90 ± 18.2 kg, 19.3 ± 8.4 %BF). Subjects participated in a supervised 4-day per week periodized resistance-training program split into two upper and two lower extremity workouts per week for a total of 8-weeks. At 0, 4, and 8-weeks, subjects underwent hydrodensiometery body composition, 1-RM strength, muscle endurance, and anaerobic capacity testing. Data were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA and are presented as mean ± SD changes from baseline after 60-days.
No significant differences (p > 0.05) between groups were noted for training volume. Significant group × time interaction effects were observed among groups in changes in body fat (FEN: -2.3 ± 1.4%BF; PL: -0.39 ± 1.6 %BF, p < 0.001), leg press 1-RM (FEN: 84.6 ± 36.2 kg; PL: 48 ± 29.5 kg, p < 0.001), and bench press 1-RM (FEN: 9.1 ± 6.9 kg; PL: 4.3 ± 5.6 kg, p = 0.01). No significant interactions were observed among groups for Wingate power analysis (p = 0.95) or muscular endurance on bench press (p = 0.87) or leg press (p = 0.61). In addition, there were no changes among groups in any clinical safety data including lipid panel, liver function, kidney function, and/or CBC panel (p > 0.05).
It is concluded that daily supplementation of 500 mg of fenugreek in conjunction with an eight week, structured resistance training program can significantly increase upper and lower-body strength, reduce body fat percentage, and thus improve overall body composition in comparison to placebo in a double-blind controlled trial.