August 1, 2013
This supplement review is going to sound a little clinical due to the nature of the supplement. When it comes to supplements and anything that affects your health you need to understand the what and the why. What it is, and why use it.
Tribulus Terrestris (commonly referred to as tribulus) is one of the hottest supplements out there. It can be found in a variety of supplements from anabolic formulas (anabolic just means growth, not necessarily steroids), libido enhancers, fat burners and finally to testosterone boosters. It has been on the market for quite a while and is most often marketed as a libido enhancer or testosterone booster. The marketing materials for it typically either have images of very muscular males or men and women in poses suggestive of an intimate relationship. It can be found by itself in it supplements or combined with other ingredients to achieve the objective of the manufacturers. But what is tribulus and what has it been shown to do? It may surprise you, especially if you have been taking it.
Tribulus is an herb commonly used in medicinal practices in India similar to traditional Chinese medicine. Traditionally it has been used to increase or maintain virility and energy levels in men. It is a known to increase androgen receptor density in the brain, making men’s brains more sensitive to androgens (testosterone, dihydrotestosterone and androstenedione), which does enhance a man’s libido. In one human study it did show increases in sexual wellbeing and erectile function. It has not been shown to affect fertility. It has been shown to positively impact high blood pressure. Often a compounding factor in erectile dysfunction is high blood pressure.
In regards to sport performance, muscle building and strength enhancement research has shown that tribulus has no effect/significant effect on fatigue, power output, fat mass or muscle mass. In many of these cases the evidence is insufficient due to either the research model used (multiple cohort studies, single blind, double blind, double blind with placebo, etc.) or insufficient amount of research. As for increasing testosterone all research related to its increase through tribulus use has shown to not affect testosterone levels, regardless of whether the research focus was on the actual testosterone production or on the signaling hormones to increase testosterone production.
There are at least 95 published research articles going back as far as the 1980’s looking a tribulus terrestris, with most being in the last 10 or so years.
Do not be fooled by the flashy marketing materials when it comes to supplements. Know what it is when you are buying it and why you are buying it.