Effect of Fenugreek Seeds Powder on the Diabetic Patients

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An annual herb which is belonging to fabaceae family called as Fenugreek. Its scientific name is Trigonella foenum-graecum L. The genus Trigonella which means little triangle is due to the shape of the leaflets. It consists of more than fifty species but the most cultivated specie is foenum-graecum, fenugreek, which exactly means ‘Greek hay’ representing its utilization as forage in the past.

Fenugreek is widely distributed worldwide and is cultivated or grown in the 6 continents which includes Austarlia, Africa, North America, Europe, South America and Asia. Trigonella having the two species includes T. foenum-graecum (the common seed type) and T. corniculata (the leaf type) to be cultivated and is economically important (Edison, 1995).

Chemical Composition of Fenugreek

The chemical composition of fenugreek contains 7.14 % crude lipids, 47.4 % carbohydrates, 6.87 % moisture, 3.28 % ash, 28.4 % crude protein and 9.3 % crude fiber (Nasri and Tinay, 2007). 

 Nutritional Composition of Fenugreek

The nutritional composition of fenugreek contains 331 mg copper, 49.3 mg sodium, 9.9 mg zinc, 1306 mg potassium, 1550 mg manganese, 22.5 mg iron, 415 mg phosphorus and 158 mg calcium. The 1g of fenugreek protein contains 10.8 mg phosphoethanolamine, 38.5 mg isoleucine, 3.1 mg ornithine, 53.5 mg leucine, 35.3 mg serine, 51.4 mg lysine, 32.1 mg proline, 5.6 mg methionine, 39.8 mg glycine, 58 mg phenylalanine, 115 mg glutamic acid, 26.6 mg threonine, 82.2 mg aspartic acid, 50 mg valine, 29.7 mg alanine, 19.6 mg histidine, and 24.5 mg tyrosine (Nour and Magoul 1986).

The lipid concentration present in fenugreek is 10 % phospholipids, 5 % glycolipids and 85 % neutral lipids. The unsaturated fatty acids present in fenugreek are comprised of 25 % linolenic, 40 % linoleic, 25 % oleic acids (Baccou et al. 1978) (Sulieman et al. 2000).  The aroma in seeds of fenugreek is due to non-a lactone, n-alkanes, and sesquiterpenes. Carbohydrates present mostly in the form of galactomannan. The leaves of fenugreek also contain vitamin C, Vitamin A, minerals, and proteins. One hundred grams of fenugreek leaves contain 13 mg oxalic acid, 51 mg phosphorus, 54 mg vitamin C, 76.1 mg sodium, 0.05 mg vitamin B1, 360 mg calcium, 6450 IU vitamin A, 17.2 mg iron, 165 mg chlorine, 51 mg potassium, and 167 mg sulfur (Aykroyd et al., 1963).

Dietary Composition of Fenugreek

The dietary composition of fenugreek has shown it’s well known of rich in insoluble (28%) and soluble (20%) of dietary fibers and high protein content which is 25% by weight (Pandey and Awasthi, 2015). The fenugreek seeds contain 32% insoluble and 13.3% soluble (45.4% dietary fibers). As the insoluble and soluble fibers play a vital role in the glucose metabolism, appetite, and normal function of the Gastro-intestinal tract (Roberts 2011). The fenugreek also has an anti-diabetic effect (Basch et al., 2003).


Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that is characterized by insulin insufficiency or insulin impairment. This condition can be called hyperglycemia. Diabetes is very common now a day. It is the 7th leading cause of death in the US. Americans are highly suffered by this disease as almost thirty million are having this. In the fifth century 1st case of diabetes mellitus was recorded in India. After this China also described the same symptoms and the disease which was diabetes mellitus. This disease was more common among the rich persons as they were having large quantities of eating and high-calorie intake. Demetrius of Apameia attributed the term ‘Diabetes’ as it was derived from the Greek word stated the meaning ‘to empty’. (Moini, J. (2019)

The urine tasting test was first the test to be taken and it was described by Egyptians, Indians, and Asians. Urine taste like honey or sugar cane was described by Hindus in the 5th century. Then this condition was fulfilled by salt deposition within kidneys by Paracelsus. This leads to extreme thirst and extreme urine. He concluded that after the diabetic patient evaporated it leaves a white color substance. An English physician in 1674, Thomas Willis named the disease ‘’Diabetes Mellitus’’ and Mellitus meaning honey sweat. Mathew Dobson and Robert Wyatt in 1776 proved that sugar in the blood of patients caused the sweat taste in diabetic patients. The test for a high level of sugar in urine and blood was developed by the 19th and early 20th centuries. (Moini, J. (2019). In Canada by Frederick Banting, Charles Best, James Collip, and John James Rickard Macleod discovered insulin in 1921. (Moini, J. (2019).

Diabetes can be defined as the chronic metabolic disorder which is characterized by the condition of hyperglycemia along with the variation in protein, carbohydrates, and protein metabolism because of the fault in insulin secretion or due to insulin resistance. (American Diabetes Association, 2014a,b).

Types of Diabetes:

Generally, diabetes is of two types which can be stated as i.e Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes beta cells that are responsible for producing insulin got destructed in the pancreas and results in insulin deficiency and insulin resistance. It is an autoimmune disorder (Kawasaki et al., 1999)(Stumvoll et al., 2005).

Type 2 diabetes has an increased blood glucose level continuously in circulating cytokines and also high in free fatty acids (Stumvoll et al., 2005). Due to this increased production of reactive oxygen species it results in apoptosis of the beta cells  (Andersson et al., 2001). It is estimated that worldwide people suffered from this condition are 415 million (International Diabetes Federation, 2015).


In the United States the increased numbers of diabetes cases were confirmed by the center of disease control and prevention. 0.93% of the population was diagnosed with diabetes in 1958. 23.35 millions of population was affected in 2015. However, today there are over 30 million. (Moini, J. 2019). In developing countries, the incidence of the rise in diabetes was estimated at 170 million by WHO. This states that 75% of World diabetic patients. An increase from 4.3 million in 1995 to 14.5 million in 2025 will be in Pakistan. In developing countries 75% of all the people will suffer from diabetes by the year 2025. (King H., et.al, 1998) .

Symptoms of Diabetes

The symptoms of diabetes can be stated as polydipsia (excessive thirst), polyphagia (excessive hunger), weight loss, polyuria (excessive urine), sometimes it may also have blurred vision. In chronic hyperglycemia the susceptibility to certain infections along with impairment in growth also occurs. The condition of diabetes can also result in life-threatening when it becomes uncontrolled with the nonketotic hyperosmolar syndrome.

Risk factors

The risk factors for diabetes can be the age above 45 and its risk and prevalence is high among the age 65 and above. One of the major risk factors for both type and type 2 diabetes is having a family history of diabetes. (Nyaga DM, et al, 2018) (Saxena R, et al, 2012). Some studies also show that lifestyle uniqueness like smoking, poor dietary patterns, having insufficient physical activity, and being overweight can lead to diabetes (Hu FB, et al, 2001) (Effoe VS, et al, 2017). In addition to this, abnormal serum lipids and hypertension often present before the incidence of diabetes (Grundy SM, et al, 2004).


The complications associated with diabetes type 2 includes hypertension, sexual dysfunction, retinopathy and loss of vision, neuropathy leading to amputation, atherosclerosis leading to cardiovascular diseases, autonomic neuropathy causing gastrointestinal symptoms and nephropathy leading to renal failure (American Diabetes Association, 2009).

Role of Fenugreek in Diabetes Management

Fenugreek plays an important role in diabetes management. This is due to the presence of fiber in the fenugreek and the ability and potency of fiber especially the dietary fiber which is soluble on insulin production and responsible for glucose management of blood and serum. Among the patients of diabetes type 2 the blood glucose level decreased by 25% when 100g of fenugreek powder was given for 10 days which contains 50% of dietary fiber. The postprandial rise decreased by soluble fiber fraction in the blood glucose level by hindering the digestion of sucrose of diabetic type II rats. When the soluble fiber of fenugreek was orally administered twice a day for 28 days at a dose of 0.5g per kg, then the level of fructosamine in serum reduced with no considerable change in insulin level, in contrast with the control. However, the conclusion is that fenugreek soluble fiber had a valuable effect on dyslipidemia, and it could inhibit the platelet in model diabetic type II rats (Khorshidian et al., 2016).

The hypoglycemic effect of fenugreek has been especially documented in humans and animals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus (Roberts, 2011). The result suggested that the hypoglycemic effect may be mediated through stimulating insulin synthesis and/or secretion from the beta-pancreatic cells. Upon prolonged administration of the same dose of the active principle for 30 days to the severely diabetic rabbits, fasting blood glucose lowered significantly, but it could elevate the fasting serum insulin level to a much lower extent, which suggests an extrapancreatic mode of action for the active principle. The effect may due to increasing the sensitivity of tissues to the available insulin. The hypoglycemic effect was observed to be slow but sustained, without any risk of developing severe hypoglycemia (Puri et al., 2002). A high-fiber fenugreek diet is useful in the management of diabetes (Wani and Kumar, 2016). It may be concluded that fenugreek extract can lower kidney/body weight ratio and blood glucose and also improves hemorheological properties in experimental diabetic rats following repeated treatment for 6 weeks (Xue et al., 2007).

As the prevalence of diabetes are increasing every day. Many drugs are introduced to treat it but the most effective and reliable source to prevent and control diabetes must be through diet, as drugs have many side effects and can be expensive too. Fenugreek plays an important role in diabetes management. This is due to the presence of fiber in the fenugreek and the ability and potency of fiber especially the dietary fiber which is soluble on insulin production and responsible for glucose management of blood and serum. The hypoglycemic effect of fenugreek may be mediated through stimulating insulin synthesis and/or secretion from the beta-pancreatic cells. By introduction of suitable amount of fenugreek seeds powder in diet diabetes can be controlled and prevented for long term without any harmful effects.


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