Fenugreek is known since ancient times as a traditional herbal medicine of its multiple beneficial effects. Fenugreek's most studied and employed effect is its hypoglycemic property, but it can also be useful for the treatment of certain thyroid disorders or for the treatment of anorexia. The regulation of glucose homeostasis is a complex mechanism, dependent on the interaction of different types of hormones and neurotransmitters or other compounds. For the study of how diosgenin and fenugreek seeds modify insulin sensitivity, we used a rat insulin resistance model induced by high-fat diet. Diosgenin in three different doses (1mg/bwkg, 10mg/bwkg, and 50 mg/bwkg, respectively) and fenugreek seed (0.2 g/bwkg) were administered orally for 6 weeks. Insulin sensitivity was determined by hyperinsulinemic euglycemic glucose clamp method. Our research group found that although glucose infusion rate was not significantly modified in either group, the increased insulin sensitivity index and high metabolic clearance rate of insulin found in the 1 mg/kg diosgenin and the fenugreek seed treated group suggested an improved peripheral insulin sensitivity. Results from the 10 mg/kg diosgenin group, however, suggest a marked insulin resistance. Fenugreek seed therapy results on the investigated anabolic hormones support the theory that, besides insulin and gastrointestinal peptides, the hypothalamic-hypopituitary axis regulated hormones synchronized action with IGF-1 also play an important role in the maintaining of normal glucose levels. Both diosgenin and fenugreek seeds are capable of interacting with substrates of the above-mentioned regulatory mechanisms, inducing serious hormonal disorders. Moreover, fenugreek seeds showed the ability to reduce the thyroid hormone levels at the periphery and to modify the T4/T3 ratio. It means that in healthy people this effect could be considered a severe side effect; however, in hypothyroidism this effect represents a possibility of alternative natural therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)