To assess the metabolically beneficial effects of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), C57BL/6J mice were fed a low- or high-fat diet for 16 weeks with or without 2% (w/w) fenugreek supplementation. Body weight, body composition, energy expenditure, food intake, and insulin/glucose tolerance were measured regularly, and tissues were collected for histological and biochemical analysis after 16 weeks of diet exposure. Fenugreek did not alter body weight, fat mass, or food intake in either group, but did transiently improve glucose tolerance in high fat-fed mice. Fenugreek also significantly improved high-density lipoprotein to low-density lipoprotein ratios in high fat-fed mice without affecting circulating total cholesterol, triglycerides, or glycerol levels. Fenugreek decreased hepatic expression of fatty acid-binding protein 4 and increased subcutaneous inguinal adipose tissue expression of adiponectin, but did not prevent hepatic steatosis. Notably, fenugreek was not as effective at improving glucose tolerance as was four days of voluntary wheel running. Overall, our results demonstrate that fenugreek promotes metabolic resiliency via significant and selected effects on glucose regulation, hyperlipidemia, and adipose pathology; but may not be as effective as behavioral modifications at preventing the adverse metabolic consequences of a high fat diet.
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