Fenugreek Supplements for Breastfeeding
Statistics show that half of US and Australian infants are not breast-fed, and the numbers increase in the UK.
Symptoms of Insufficient Breastfeeding
Studies show infants that do not receive proper breastfeeding are prone to different medical conditions. These conditions include pathological conditions, otitis media, leukemia, pneumonia, gastrointestinal problems, obesity, diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome, and increased risk of morbidity.
Science and Galactogogues
Health research studies showed the effectiveness of different remedies, including both pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapeutic options. Women with insufficient milk supply use medicinal herbs and supplements for centuries to properly nourish the newly born baby. These remedies act as galactagogues or, in other words, promote the secretion of milk by the mammary glands. Medicinal herbs such as Fenugreek, caraway, milk thistle, anise, and a few more are getting popular as galactagogues in recent years. Along with the effectiveness of these herbs, the primary reason is their safe profile compared to pharmacological agents. Pharmacological agents, including metoclopramide and domperidone, possess a high risk of side effects.
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is an important medicinal herb used for the management of various medical conditions, including diabetes, gastrointestinal symptoms, hyperlipidemia, insufficient milk secretion, and menstrual cramps. It belongs to family leguminacease highly found in western Asia, the Mediterranean region, and southern Europe. The seeds of Fenugreek contain potent active constituents, including amino acids, minerals, flavonoids, vitamins, and polysaccharides significantly responsible for galactagogue activity. Traditionally, it was used to manage high blood sugar, indigestion, high blood cholesterol level, edema, hair loss, and insufficient human milk production.
Seeds of Fenugreek are widely used in most countries for enhancing the production and secretion of human milk. The mechanism behind galactagogue activity of Fenugreek is not clearly elucidated; however, studies suggested that it modulate the sweat and mammary gland secretion that results in increased production and secretion of human milk.
How Long Does It Take?
Research studies reported that Fenugreek shows its milk stimulating activity within one to three days after consumption. However, it takes long for some women, and Fenugreek may slow activity after a week or two for them.
How does Fenugreek Work?
As mentioned above, medical studies are not sure about the exact mechanism; however, they suggested certain hypotheses. These include direct effects on the sweat gland and mammary glands that support optimal human milk production and secretion. Moreover, other indirect actions that increase and promote the human milk supply include the antidepressant, anticancer and antioxidant activity of Fenugreek. Thus, it relieves stress, improves mood, protects cellular integrity, and prevents breast cell damage. All these beneficial functions of Fenugreek support women's health and promote breastfeeding.
Medical Research Studies About Fenugreek
The researcher worked on the galactagogue activity of Fenugreek and found enough pieces of evidence that support the milk enhancing activity in women. An early study concluded that the consumption of Fenugreek during the early postpartum period enhances breast milk production and supports proper breastfeeding. Also, Bumrungpert. A et al. showed that a mixture of three herbs, including Fenugreek, significantly improves the human breast milk volume and supports essential nutrient composition.
Another study conducted on postnatal women stated that using Fenugreek for seven days improves breast milk production and promotes infants' birth weight. Moreover, a randomized controlled trial conducted on Fenugreek (given as herbal tea) showed significant positive effects on milk production and secretion. The researchers concluded that Fenugreek is a useful herbal remedy for stimulating breast milk production that supports optimal growth and development of the newly born baby.
Furthermore, Fenugreek significantly increases the number of breastfeeding times and increases the amount of available milk for infants, plus support optimal weight gains and growth of the newly born baby. Thus, considering these credible pieces of evidence, it is evident that Fenugreek increases human breast milk stimulation and production for a certain period and supports an infant's healthy nourishment.
How Much Fenugreek is Recommended?
Fenugreek is formulated in a capsule dosage form intended for easy oral administration. Officially recommend usage is 2 - 30 grams of dried seeds per day. That means you can take up to 6 capsules when the fenugreek capsule contains 500mg fenugreek extract (10:1) powder. Girls younger than 19 years should avoid Fenugreek consumption. Or do as directed by your physician.
Usually, the consumption of Fenugreek is safe for infants and effective for breastfeeding. However, it is advised not to exceed the recommended doses of Fenugreek or do as directed by your physician. Because it may cause certain side effects such as gastrointestinal distress, fever, nausea, induce thirst, diarrhea, dizziness, excessive sweating, suppress appetite, aggravate symptoms of lung diseases.
Moreover, don't consume it concomitantly with NSAIDs and anti-diabetic agents as it also lowers the blood sugar level and will result in hypoglycemia. Studies also reported that Fenugreek might damage DNA, induce miscarriage, impairs fertility, and harm nerve function.
Consult a doctor in the following conditions before taking Fenugreek:
- If you have known hypersensitivity.
- If you have any severe medical condition.
The use of Fenugreek is contraindicated in the following conditions:
- Menstrual bleeding
- Blood clotting related disorders
- During pregnancy
- In the case of asthma and hypertension.
Why a Formulation of Fenugreek?
- Formulation of Natural Ingredients.
- Proven Galactagogue Activity.
- Highly reported in Medical research studies.
- Easy to Swallow dosage forms.
- Recommended for Women of all Ages.
- Less Risk of side effects.
- Highly effective for Insufficient Milk Supply.