In this post, you are going to learn about the most dangerous fenugreek side effects and how you can avoid them.
Fenugreek is an amazing plant; it has many benefits such as lowering blood cholesterol levels, helping with diabetes and increasing milk production in nursing mothers… however it has also many side effects that can range from harmless to even dangerous!
- 1 Is fenugreek good or bad for you?
- 2 How much fenugreek is safe?
- 3 Does fenugreek cause breast cancer?
- 4 Fenugreek side effects on women
- 5 A strong smell
- 6 Fenugreek side effects on your hair
- 7 Skin problems
- 8 Fenugreek oil side effects
- 9 Fenugreek water side effects
- 10 Soaked fenugreek seeds side effects
- 11 Fenugreek sprouts side effects
- 12 What happens if a man takes fenugreek?
- 13 Bloating and gas
- 14 Fenugreek allergy
- 15 Diarrhea
- 16 Fenugreek and nursing infants
- 17 Premature childbirth
- 18 Wrong diagnoses
- 19 Lowering blood glucose levels
- 20 Mood swings
- 21 Weight gain
- 22 Fenugreek and appetite
- 23 High blood pressure
- 24 Interaction with certain medications
- 25 Side effects of fenugreek supplements
- 26 How long does fenugreek stay in your body?
Is fenugreek good or bad for you?
This doesn’t mean that fenugreek is a dangerous food/spice/herb, it’s in fact very safe to consume every day, it’s very helpful for your skin, gaining muscles, improving the immune system, and even cancer prevention, however there are many side effects you should be aware of, these are for the most part harmless, but the overconsumption of fenugreek can have dangerous effects on your health.
How much fenugreek is safe?
These side effects are only going to happen when and only when you consume high amounts of fenugreek, for most people, more than four tablespoons of ground fenugreek seeds a day, or fenugreek powder, if you stay below this amount, your body is certainly going to cope extremely well with it, however if you take more, you may start encountering some side effects, and some can be very serious.
So, you can think of these side effects as fenugreek “overdose” symptoms so to speak, meaning that when you take a lot, you’ll encounter some or maybe all of these side effects.
One more very important fact most people seem to forget, it’s the idea that if you consume fenugreek alone, on an empty stomach, you are going to have some nasty side effects, even if you have less than six tablespoons.
I know that this idea may seem strange, but it’s the truth, for some people, consuming fenugreek on an empty stomach, even very small amounts, can be quite problematic and is going to cause different stomach problems.
We are going to talk more about this later in this post and this is also the reason why I have always advised my readers to consume fenugreek after a nice meal, preferably breakfast.
A nice meal can be some few bites of bread or an apple for example; the idea here is to never consume fenugreek on an empty stomach.
This is what this post is about, informing you on the most annoying and also dangerous side effects of fenugreek overconsumption.
First, let’s talk about:
Does fenugreek cause breast cancer?
I’m not trying to scare you or force you to read this article, what I’m trying to do is make you aware of this very important subject, and here, we are not only talking about breast cancer, but other cancers including ovarian cancer as well.
You see, I keep receiving many e-mails every single week from scared women, some have been taking fenugreek supplements or pills or ground fenugreek seeds for some few times and they are scared this may cause them cancer development.
I’m not going to answer you emotionally, I love fenugreek seeds, and I believe that they are a powerhouse of nutrition, but what I’m going to do is give you the latest scientific research on the subject, and I really invite you to read the following articles, the first one is paid, the second one can be freely downloaded as PDF:
If you read these articles, you are going to find that it’s mentioned clearly that fenugreek is a very powerful anticancer food, it contains organic compounds which are responsible for reducing cancer risks, and here, scientists are not just talking about breast cancer, but different kinds of cancer.
Does fenugreek cause breast cancer?
Absolutely not, fenugreek is very safe to consume even if it contains very powerful phytoestrogens, yes, they may mimic human estrogens, however, in our bodies, they act as protection against hormone excess, in other words, they regulate the use of these hormones in the body which act as a barrier that lessens the effects of such hormones which reduces the risk of cancer.
This brings me to one of the most important subjects:
Fenugreek side effects on women
In other words, are women who are taking fenugreek going to suffer any side effects?
The answer is yes, there are many side effects related to fenugreek intake by women, and most particularly when taking fenugreek for breast enlargement and enhancement, here they are:
The first one is:
Heavy bleeding is going to occur the first few cycles, in fact, from my own experience, this has occurred in the first three cycles after starting to use fenugreek in order to increase my breasts size.
First of all, this is absolutely not dangerous and can be easily explained.
I have already told you about fenugreek being very rich in phytoestrogens, well, these are going to act as your own estrogens, in other words; they are going to increase the lining of the uterus which is going to produce much more flow during menstruation.
The second one is:
The same phytoestrogens found in fenugreek seeds that are responsible for heavy bleeding are also responsible for delaying your period.
And here, I’m not talking about weeks of delay, it can range from 1 to 5 days, however, rest assured, these side effects, heavy bleeding and delayed period , are not dangerous in any way, in fact, they are a completely normal reaction to fenugreek intake, especially if you are taking large amounts every single day, more than three tablespoons.
And this is also the reason why I have always advised my female readers to start very slowly with fenugreek, as little as one teaspoon of ground fenugreek seeds every day should be more than enough in order to get your breast growth started.
The third one is:
Nipple and breast sensitivity
When taking ground fenugreek seeds or even fenugreek water or tea on a daily basis, your nipples and breasts are going to become very sensitive, this is due to hormonal changes, and most of the time, it’s not going to persist very long, one or two weeks, because your body is going to adapt.
What about fenugreek causing breast pain?
Although fenugreek is one of the best herbs to take for breast cysts and other breast issues, some women may have breast pain when taking it on a daily basis for the first few weeks; after all, not all women react the same way to fenugreek daily intake.
Yes, fenugreek intake may result in breast pain, but only temporary.
This is very important for you to be aware of because most women are going to be freaked out during the first weeks of fenugreek intake, some have even e-mailed me with some very scary subject lines such as these: “my period has disappeared” or “the bleeding won’t stop”…
During the first few weeks of fenugreek intake, especially if you’d like to increase your breasts size, you are going to notice that your breasts and nipples are going to become very sensitive, your period is going to last much longer, and you may even feel discomfort in your breasts or pain.
Please, if any of these side effects persist, check with your doctor.
The fifth one is:
Increased period pain and cramps
If you have been suffering from PMS in the past, then let me tell you that with fenugreek intake, the symptoms are going to be lessened dramatically.
I used to suffer from very painful periods in the past, of course, after giving birth, they have lessened dramatically in pain, however, things really improved when I started to take fenugreek on a daily basis.
Of course, I’m not saying that fenugreek is a medicine for PMS, you need to consult with your doctor before attempting to do anything if you are suffering from period pain or cramps however, for me, it improved my situation a lot.
On the other hand, not all women are alike; a lot of my readers have experience period pain and cramps while taking fenugreek, again, this is due to the amount they are taken and most importantly, to their tolerance of phytoestrogens.
The sixth side effect of fenugreek intake is:
A strong smell
Sometimes it’s referred to as maple syrup odor.
Both men and women who take fenugreek regularly are going to experience a pungent and very strong smell after a few hours.
This side effect is nothing to worry about, in fact it’s a sign that fenugreek’s nutrients and antioxidants have spread throughout your body, it’s normal for your sweat to become pungent and smelly because it will contain many aromatic compounds that act as antioxidants and protect your body from infections and free radicles.
There aren’t many ways to get rid of this odor other than taking a shower or using a good deodorant!
I repeat, this side effect is nothing to worry about, it’s totally harmless and it’s going to disappear once you stop consuming fenugreek.
Personally, I have no issues with fenugreek body odor because it’s a clear sign that its amazing compounds and antioxidants are working and are spreading throughout my body, however, if this is a problem for you, which is completely understandable, then, I highly recommend that you take daily showers and use a very good shower gel and deodorant, that’s what I use and it works just fine.
What about fenugreek urine smell?
This can happen in some people, it’s like, in my opinion, asparagus smell, some people are going to notice it while others aren’t.
I myself don’t suffer from fenugreek urine smell, but my sister does and a lot of women I have talked to have reported their urine smelling like fenugreek, maple syrup!
If you are experiencing this side effect, don’t worry, it doesn’t mean that you are suffering from urinary tract infection or other bacterial issues, although I highly recommend that you check with your doctor if you have any doubts.
But if you are taking large amounts of fenugreek seeds on a daily bases or fenugreek supplements, then, experiencing fenugreek urine smell is absolutely normal.
Fenugreek side effects on your hair
First of all, fenugreek is very rich in phytoestrogens, these organic compounds are going to act as DHT blockers, in other words, they are going to lower testosterone concentration in your skin, especially your scalp, which is not only very beneficial for your whole body, but it’s also extremely powerful if you would like to increase hair growth.
So, as a nice side effect of fenugreek, you are going to experience hair growth, of course, here, I’m talking about generalized hair growth, so, even if you are going to have a thick and very beautiful hair on your scalp, this can be problematic if you are suffering from facial hair for example and you are a woman as myself, then, you will find that you need to wax once every four days instead of once every week!
This is the truth, there is no denying, you are going to have thicker hair on your scalp, and also in other areas of your body.
The ninth one is:
The over consumption of fenugreek can be associated with different skin problems, ranging from rash, hives and even hair issues.
Is fenugreek hot or cold for the body?
You need to understand that fenugreek is very cold on our body, unlike most spices, when you consume a large amount, it’s going to decrease your body’s temperature, this is the reason why it’s often used in bringing down fevers in many parts of the world, and it’s also the reason why fenugreek has been used to treat sinus problems, it lowers infections and is in fact a very powerful antibacterial herb.
This same effect can lead to rash and hives forming on the skin, this is very rare but it can happen since our body uses higher temperatures to defend itself from invading bacteria and germs.
As mentioned, this is rare, but it can theoretically happen since fenugreek will reduce body temperature and thus increase infections in some parts of the body.
Does fenugreek cause acne?
Acne is caused by many factors; the most important one is bacterial, Propionibacterium acnes, and as mentioned in many of my previous posts, fenugreek contains powerful antibacterial properties, so, it doesn’t cause acne, in fact, it can lower it when used topically.
Fenugreek oil side effects
Yes, the real issues occur when using fenugreek oil.
And here, I’m talking about fenugreek essential oil since it’s highly concentrated and can cause severe damages to the skin when applied directly.
This is probably one of the few occasions where I do not recommend using fenugreek since its essential oil can be devastating on the skin if you don’t know how to take advantage of it.
As a rule of thumb, always start small, use one drop on the back of your hand, test it and see after some few hours whether your skin will inflame or not.
If it does, then you need to understand that you are dealing with a very powerful kind of fenugreek oil and it can really cause your skin damages if used on a large portion of your body.
One more thing, most fenugreek essential oil sold nowadays isn’t really 100% pure, in other words, it’s usually mixed with other non-essential oils like olive or grape seed.
This means that most of the time, it’s very safe to use it, however, if, after doing the little test I have just talked about, you found that your skin is sensitive to fenugreek oil, then you need to dilute it yourself in a good carrier oil, olive oil and coconut oil are the best.
Always respect this ratio to stay clear from trouble: 1 to 5.
For each drop of essential oil you use, you need to add five drops of olive oil or the carrier oil of your choice.
This way, you’ll stay clear of trouble no matter how much concentrated your fenugreek oil is.
Fenugreek water side effects
When consuming fenugreek water, in other words, taking fenugreek whole seeds and soaking them overnight in water, the side effects, the ones found in this post, are going to be reduced dramatically.
What I’m saying here is that a lot of these side effects are going to happen because consuming ground fenugreek seeds is going to release a large amount of the organic compounds found in fenugreek, however, with fenugreek water and also fenugreek tea, these compounds are going to be lowered.
However, some side effects are going to persist, namely the smell and the increase in hair growth.
Soaked fenugreek seeds side effects
Soaked fenugreek seeds may have less side effects, on the condition that you throw away the water, however, let’s be honest, most of the nutrition is going to be thrown away once you get rid of the fenugreek water.
Soaked fenugreek seeds may cause less body odor, breast and nipple sensitivity, and urine smell, but at the same time, fenugreek benefits are going to be lessened a lot.
Fenugreek sprouts side effects
The main side effect of fenugreek sprouts is the smell.
I have experienced this myself in the past, fenugreek sprouts by some mysterious way are going to increase that distinct maple syrup odor in your body, however, on the other hand, fenugreek sprouts are not the best if you want to increase your breasts size or get the amazing benefits of fenugreek seeds such as increasing milk production in nursing mothers!
Yes, fenugreek sprouts are also very healthy, but in terms of benefits, they can’t be compared to ground fenugreek seeds.
What happens if a man takes fenugreek?
Fenugreek side effects on men
Throughout my website, I’ve had many comments from different men asking about the dangers of taking fenugreek seeds, and after many comments and questions, I came to realize that most men are afraid of getting boobs!
And here, I’m talking about man boobs.
Indeed, this seems to be the most important worry guys have whenever they want to take fenugreek seeds or fenugreek tea.
First of all, you need to understand that as a man, you should never exceed two teaspoons a day of ground fenugreek seeds, which translates to about four capsules/pills.
Although fenugreek is very beneficial when it comes to enlarged prostate, prostate cancer (because of its phytoestrogens), training and endurance, check out the following study for more information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2978122/pdf/1550-2783-7-34.pdf , it’s not without side effects for men.
I’m not going to repeat the ones we have already talked about, apart from excessive bleeding and PMS, men are going to suffer from the same side effects, with the addition of “man boobs”.
Yes, consuming huge amounts of fenugreek seeds is going to change the morphology of a man’s chest because of the phytoestrogens found in this herb.
These plant hormones are going to mimic hormones in the female’s body which is going to have a significant effect the morphology of a man’s chest.
Of course, this is only going to happen when fenugreek ingestion is in excess of four tablespoons a day, ground seeds.
The fifteenth side effect is:
Bloating and gas
If you eat more than the recommended amount of fenugreek a day, you are certainly going to start experiencing bloating and gas.
This is nothing to worry about; it’s simply a reaction of your digestive system to the amount of fiber in fenugreek.
Fenugreek contains a considerable amount of fibers, more than 3g in each serving of 11g of ground fenugreek seeds, these fibers are the ones responsible for helping people with constipation, but they are also the ones responsible for making people have gas and bloating as well!
Over consumption of fenugreek will make you gassy, bloated, upset your stomach, and cause you nausea and stomach pain, especially if ingested on an empty stomach, especially first thing in the morning, this has happened to me on many occasions and it’s not very pretty.
Can fenugreek cause constipation?
This is very rare because fenugreek contains large amounts of fiber, as mentioned before; three grams in each eleven grams of fenugreek seeds are fiber, which is very healthy.
So, if you are suffering from constipation, this is probably not caused by fenugreek consumption.
Fenugreek belongs to the same plant family as chickpeas and peanuts, some people may develop a fenugreek allergic reaction if they already have peanut or chickpeas allergy.
You need to be careful when starting to take it, start very slowly and try to notice any changes in your health.
Fenugreek allergy is real, so please, be very careful, especially if you are just starting out with this herb, and as a precaution, I want you to simply start very slowly, in other words, your first intake should not exceed a quarter of a teaspoon of ground fenugreek seeds, if you do not notice any heat, sweating, stomach cramps or stomach pain, diarrhea, headaches, then, you have nothing to worry about, but please, if you notice any of these side effects, I want you to contact a medical expert as soon as possible because, as with peanut allergy, you are not really sure how your body is going to react to fenugreek allergy.
I’ve been eating fenugreek for a big part of my life, and most of my family have and not one single person have experienced an allergic reaction to it.
This doesn’t mean that fenugreek will not cause allergies in some people, there are many people who are hypersensitive to fenugreek, these are the one who are going to experience allergic symptoms such as, besides the ones I have just cited, coughing, wheezing, skin rash, facial swelling and even nasal congestion!
It’s highly preferable if you have never consumed fenugreek before to start very slowly, don’t exceed the 6 g a day limit, and if you are noticing any changes in your health, stop immediately!
However most people, even children and women, have nothing to worry about and can consume fenugreek on a daily basis, but they should never exceed the 6 g a day limit.
Of course, there are some people who can have more, but this is not the subject we are dealing with today, in general, you should be very careful whenever introducing a new food to your diet, especially when you are dealing with such a powerful herb as fenugreek.
Diarrhea is another result of the high fiber content of fenugreek.
Diarrhea is only going to occur when you have a lot of ground fenugreek seeds! In fact, moderate consumption of fenugreek is going to help your intestines and stomach a lot.
If someone is experiencing diarrhea after eating fenugreek, it’s certainly because of the amount he or she has ingested, however if the amount consumed is very small and the diarrhea is painful and abnormal, then fenugreek consumption should be stopped immediately and it’s essential to consult your doctor.
Fenugreek and nursing infants
Fenugreek can make your baby gassy!
I know that this is going to surprise most of you, but it’s the reality, if you are a breastfeeding mother and you consume fenugreek, during the first few days, it can cause your newborn gas, upset stomach, and even diarrhea.
This is a direct result of the soluble fibers found in fenugreek seeds, these fibers can pass through your blood stream into your breast milk supply and cause different stomach issues to your newborn.
This may be very frustrating, especially to new mothers, so, if you notice that your infant is having digestive problems and you are taking fenugreek, you need to stop immediately.
You can start taking fenugreek one week later after everything calms down but in general, the moment you notice any issues with your nursing infant, you need to stop your fenugreek intake as soon as possible.
The nineteenth side effect of fenugreek is a dangerous one:
Due to fenugreek’s high phytoestrogens content, it’s unsafe for women to take it during pregnancy as it may cause early contractions in the uterus, which can be very dangerous and can even lead to premature childbirth.
It’s advisable for women during pregnancy to avoid the consumption of fenugreek altogether and in fact, if you are thinking of conceiving, you need to stay away from fenugreek consumption since it causes the uterus to become unstable, which is not a suitable environment for conceiving.
The twentieth fenugreek side effect is:
The maple syrup smell the body produces after the consumption of fenugreek can lead many doctors to misdiagnoses and to think that the patient is suffering from a disease called Maple syrup urine disease.
So, it’s advisable for people who are going to do a medical checkup or some urine tests to stop the consumption of fenugreek.
Lowering blood glucose levels
Fenugreek and hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia, low blood sugar levels, can also be caused by the overconsumption of fenugreek.
This has been proven scientifically; to read more about this subject, please check out this article (paid): https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874116305232
It’s because fenugreek is rich in dietary fibers that are going to help lower glucose levels in the blood, and also because fenugreek is going to increase the insulin effects on the muscles, making them burn more glucose.
So, if you are suffering from hypoglycemia or if you are taking glucose lowering medications, you need to definitely stay away from fenugreek.
For a very long time, I kept receiving many e-mails from women who have been taking huge amounts of fenugreek extracts, capsules, daily and I have been told by many about depression and other mood disorders.
You need to understand one very important thing, because consumption of fenugreek seeds is associated with lower blood sugar level, this can also be a reason for mood swings and can even cause depression.
You see, when your body runs very low on sugar, it will reduce your energy levels dramatically and you will feel an almost immediate low!
This has happened to me on many occasions; I have consumed large amounts of fenugreek only to find myself three hours later feeling horrible and not able to think about anything.
So, there is a relationship between fenugreek consumption, high amounts, and feeling depressed and having terrible mood swings.
The twenty third side effect of fenugreek is:
So, can fenugreek cause weight gain?
Again, I keep receiving so many e-mails from different women complaining that fenugreek made them gain weight, let me tell you that there is no scientific evidence that fenugreek contributes to weight gain, in fact, the opposite is true, for more information, please, read the following study:
It’s clearly stated that:
“Fenugreek supplementation did not alter … body weight…”
However, there is one very important distinction I need to make, this study was done on mice, it’s true, we aren’t mice, however, from my experience, any weight gain I have noticed came not because I was taking fenugreek supplements or ground fenugreek seeds, but because I wasn’t paying close attention to what I was eating daily, in other words, whenever I let myself go, whether on fenugreek or not, I would gain weight.
Fenugreek and appetite
Personally, I have noticed that fenugreek is going to increase my appetite, in fact, this is what most women have noticed as well, I’m sure that you are going to say that since fenugreek increases the appetite, then, it increases weight gain as well!
Well, there is a huge difference, fenugreek may increase my appetite, but instead of eating potato chips and doughnuts, I’m going to eat more vegetables and fruits, this way, I’m not going to gain any weight.
I think that you see my point now, it’s not whether you are taking fenugreek or not, it’s whether you are paying close attention to what you eat or not.
Twenty fifth is:
High blood pressure
As a rule of thumb, when you limit the consumption of fenugreek, as mentioned previously in this post, no more than four tablespoons a day of ground fenugreek seeds, always after a large meal with a lot of water, you have nothing to worry about, but let’s be honest, over consumption of fenugreek can cause blood pressure issues.
And here, I’m talking about the fact that fenugreek raises blood pressure, so, if you experience headaches or even dizziness after consuming large amounts of fenugreek, you have to be aware that as a side effect, it may raise your blood pressure which leads me to the next side effect:
The twenty sixth side effect of fenugreek is:
Interaction with certain medications
Fenugreek is a powerful food that’s both effective against high cholesterol levels and high blood sugar levels, however if you are already taken medications for these conditions, you must avoid taking fenugreek because it’s going to worsen them.
Fenugreek will also interfere with blood clotting medications or blood thinners, the over consumption of fenugreek may increase your risks of bleeding and bruising when also taking blood clotting medications.
This also applies to blood pressure medication, as a rule of thumb, if you are taking any drug or medication/treatment; you need to consult with your doctor before starting to take fenugreek seeds or fenugreek supplements as they may interact with prescription drugs.
Side effects of fenugreek supplements
There is a very important distinction to make here, it’s the fact that for the most part, I have been taking ground fenugreek seeds, or fenugreek powder, sold in herbal shops, however, there is a very important issue we need to talk about right now:
It’s the fact that most fenugreek capsules and pills, when you exceed the recommended daily dosage, are going to cause more side effects than the ones we have been talking about.
And here, I’m talking about the one I fear the most:
You see, most fenugreek capsules and pills sold nowadays are going to contain large amounts of fenugreek extracts, and here, manufacturers have removed most of the fiber and insoluble materials and have concentrated what’s left into tiny pills and capsules.
The problem comes when you start consuming a large number of fenugreek capsules or pills, that’s when you are going to hurt yourself the most.
As a rule of thumb, I have always asked my readers to start very slowly, in other words, to not exceed two capsules a day and then increase this amount until they reach six capsules a day, and it’s better to separate them, two in the morning, two after lunch, and two after dinner.
Of course, if you are suffering from liver or kidney issues, you should consult your doctor first before taking anything.
But in general, I prefer to just use ground fenugreek seeds because it’s not as concentrated as fenugreek pills, but for the sake of convenience, fenugreek pills can also be a viable alternative.
How long does fenugreek stay in your body?
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any information about the time it takes fenugreek to leave our system, but since our body is going to deal with fenugreek compounds as any other molecule we ingest, I thought to myself that as a point of reference, I can take the information we already know about the way our body handles alcohol.
I think that in fenugreek’s case, as it contains fiber, it can take more time to leave our system, I’m not really sure.
So, use this information as a point of reference, just let me tell you that I have noticed the same effects as well, this time, with fenugreek odor.
So, how long does fenugreek stay in our body?
The answer depends on the form of fenugreek you have been taking, as mentioned before, ground fenugreek seeds contain more fiber and thus may stay in your system for much longer, the rate of your metabolism plays a crucial role as well.
So, as with alcohol, fenugreek molecules can stay in your body for up to 80 hours, about four days.
Of course, the more water you drink, the more you will be able to flush out of your system, but please, be careful of water intoxication, drinking too much water.