fenugreek improves cholesterol in diabetics

People with type 2 diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to die from heart disease. So, when managing diabetes, it is also important to manage cardiovascular risk factors. Fenugreek can do both!

Fenugreek is a very exciting herb for diabetes. It lowers blood sugar and improves glucose tolerance in both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. It even helps type 2 diabetics who add it to their drugs when their drugs are not sufficient to manage their diabetes (Chin J Integr Med 2008;14:56-60). In a very exciting study of prediabetics, fenugreek prevented progression to diabetes (Diabetes Metab Disord 2015;14:74).

Importantly, fenugreek can also help manage cardiovascular risk factors in diabetics. Type 2 diabetics often have elevated levels of harmful LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides and low levels of beneficial HDL-cholesterol. Several previous studies have shown that fenugreek can lower LDL-cholesterol, the even worse VLDL-cholesterol and triglycerides (Eur J Clin Nutr 1990;4:301-6; Phytother Res 1996;10:332-4; J Pharmacol 2000;32:34-6).

A new study confirms these cholesterol benefits and adds a critical new benefit. 95 people with type 2 diabetes were given either the diabetes drug metformin or 25g of fenugreek twice a day for a month.

The metformin did not improve cholesterol levels, but the fenugreek did. Fenugreek was significantly better than the diabetes drug at improving total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol. What is new about this study is that the fenugreek was also significantly better than metformin at increasing HDL-cholesterol. Increasing HDL-cholesterol is even better for your heart than lowering LDL-cholesterol.

The researchers conclude with the promising statement that fenugreek seed powder has “pronounced effects in improving lipid metabolism in type II diabetic patients with no adverse effects."


J Diabetes Res September 5, 2019;2019:8507453


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