Study suggests Fenugreek alleviates perimenopausal discomforts

Fenugreek contains phytonutrients such as protodioscin, trigonelline, diosgenin, 4-hydroxyisoleucine and many flavonoids

A patented and standardised extract of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) may alleviate vasomotor symptoms and depression in perimenopausal women, an RCT trial has shown.

Recent studies have explored the beneficial effects of a novel and patented composition of fenugreek extract (Fenusmart) in menopausal discomforts at a relatively low dosage. The extract is prepared by hydro-ethanolic extraction with a 3:1 ratio of Protodioscin to Trigonelline from selected fenugreek varieties at a particular stage of its harvest, says Emmanuel Nambusseril, Chief marketing Officer at Akay-Spiceuticals.

A randomised double-blinded placebo-controlled study, reported for the first time, the influence of a fenugreek extract on perimenopausal discomforts, employing Fenusmart for supplementation.

“Maintaining a proper hormone balance during the menopausal transition phase is the key in the management of perimenopausal discomforts,” said Dr Krishnakumar, Chief Research Officer at Akay. Moreover, transition to menopause and its changing hormonal milieu are strongly associated with the onset of a depressed mood even among women with no history of depression. The positive association between vasomotor symptoms and depression has also been demonstrated. “Supplementation at 250mg× 2/day Fenusmart for 6 weeks significantly improved the vasomotor symptoms and depression with a healthy hormonal balance without any adverse effects or affecting the clinical safety parameters in perimenopausal women at the investigational dosage,” wrote the researchers from India.

The women characterised with perimenopausal symptoms (n = 48), as assessed by menopausal rating scale questionnaire, were randomised either to FHE (n = 24) or placebo (n = 24) and supplemented with 250 mg twice a day for 42 days. Both inter and intra-group comparison revealed a significant improvement in somatic, psychological, and urogenital scores in Fenusmart group, especially for hot flashes (25.9%), night sweats (26.5%), depression (31.8%), and insomnia (21.6%). Fenusmart treated women showed an improvement in general wellbeing as revealed by the 22.1% improvement in menopausal rating scale total symptoms scores as compared to 9.3% in placebo.

Further hormone analysis revealed an enhancement in serum estradiol (18.9%), free testosterone (38.2%), and progesterone (19.9%) concentrations and a significant decrease in FSH (38.2%) and SHBG (21.1%) concentrations in the Fenusmart group; without significant changes in other clinical safety parameters.

The researchers said: “The menopause transition is characterised by loss of ovarian follicular activity leading to an imbalance in the hormone levels, especially the depletion of estradiol levels. The reproductive hormone levels were found to be attenuated by Fenusmart supplementation towards attaining a hormonal balance. protodioscin and trigonelline in Fenusmart play a major role in this activity. Protodioscin may be converted to DHEA, which may further have converted to testosterone by 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17β-HSD).

“Low dose administration of DHEA positively modulated several endocrine parameters in early and late postmenopausal women, inducing the increase of the androgenic, estrogenic, and reducing the climacteric symptoms. Also, women with higher DHEA have reported greater overall quality of life, physical functioning, and fewer depressive disorders.”

Another recent study has also shown the efficacy of Fenusmart in alleviating the problems related to post-menopausal symptoms. The study revealed the extract’s efficacy to modulate leg pain & inflammation among postmenopusal subjects along with its efficacy on vasomotor effects, without adverse medical effects.

The study was funded by M/s Akay Natural Ingredients, India as a part of the research program for the development of ‘Spiceuticals,’ nutraceutical ingredients from spices.

Sources

“Efficacy of a novel extract of fenugreek seeds in alleviating vasomotor symptoms and depression in perimenopausal women: A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study.” J Food Biochem 2020;00:e13507. https://doi. org/10.1111/jfbc.13507

“Phytoestrogenic effect of fenugreek seed extract helps in ameliorating the leg pain and vasomotor symptoms in postmenopausal women: A randomized, double-blinded, placebo- controlled study” PharmaNutrition https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phanu.2020.100209

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