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Tribulus Terrestris

Tribulus Terrestris (also known as Tribulus, Puncture Vine & Protodioscin) is a plant that grows in many tropical and moderate areas of the world. Reported to be "the secret weapon" employed by Bulgarian strength athletes, tribulus terrestris is reported to increase muscle growth, improve libido and lift male performance in the bedroom. Many different cultures have used it for a number of conditions. The Greeks, for example, used tribulus terrestris as a mood-enhancer. The people of Bulgaria used tribulus terrestris as a way to enhance sex and as a treatment for infertility. In the 1970's eastern European athletes used it in place of certain anabolic drugs to gain strength and size. Tribulus terrestris may be effective for anyone seeking gains in muscle size, strength and power athletes involved in strength and power-based sports, bodybuilders and regular gym users may notice gains in both muscular size & performance when combined with anaerobic training and a suitable diet. Men wanting to lift performance in the bedroom and enhance libido may also benefit from supplementation with tribulus. 

Tribulus terrestris may raise testosterone levels safely and naturally within the normal human range. Testosterone is one of nature's most powerful muscle building hormones. Testosterone tells your muscle cells to absorb more protein, leading to more muscle size and strength. By raising testosterone levels safely and naturally, and then keeping them elevated for long periods, tribulus terrestris may support increases in lean muscle, strength and performance. Tribulus terrestris has been shown to lead to a rise in the production of luteinizing hormone. When luteinizing hormone levels are increased, the natural production of testosterone also increases. Luteinizing hormone also may increase sex drive and libido, which is why it has been used to increase fertility and help with impotence. Laboratory animal studies show that tribulus terrestris increases sperm count as well as motility levels after taking it for 30 days. "This is a good supplement for men and women to increase their sex drive (according to Bill Phillips, former editor of Muscle Media)...tribulus terrestris can significantly lift performance in the bedroom." Tribulus terrestris contains a number of different substances known as steroidal saponins. The saponin in tribulus terrestris thought to be responsible for its effect on testosterone levels and libido is known as protodioscin. The protodioscin content of tribulus terrestris varies widely depending on the way the herb is grown, processed, packaged, and stored. High-quality tribulus terrestris products are standardised to a high percentage of protodioscin levels - the higher the protodioscin level, the better.

It usually takes 5-7 days of supplementation with tribulus terrestris before most people notice any increase in aggression, libido and drive. To see or feel any gains in muscle strength and size it takes a little longer, usually in the region of 11-15 days. When used in combination with an effective training programme and a high protein diet, it's reasonable to expect to expect noticable gains. Please note that some people may experience a strong increase in libido when using this product. Tribulus terrestris is a highly effective supplement when taken alone for promoting gains in muscle strength and size, libido and aggression. However, some Bulgarian strength coaches believe that it works well at promoting muscle growth when combined with some other compounds such as isoflavones as well a high protein diets. Wilborn et al (2010) were able to show that Tribulus supplementation was able to significantly affect body fat levels, total testosterone and bioavailable testosterone, which has strong implications for muscle growth and other ergogenic benefits. 

Because of the important role played by minerals in supporting testosterone levels, tribulus terrestris may be combined with zinc and magnesium, preferably as ZMA. Men looking for a real boost in sex drive may also want to combine tribulus terrestris with horny goat weed. However, some men are uncomfortable with a large rise in libido, and may benefit from starting with smaller doses to assess their tolerance. Approximately one in ten people report some gastrointestinal upset when taking Tribulus terrestris. Taking it with food can help to minimise this effect.

Tribulus Supplements are commonly presented & sold as Complementary Medicines, Registered Therapeutic Items or Goods and Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods in Australia. Tribulus terrestris is not a sole source of nutrition and should be used in conjunction with an appropriate physical training or exercise programme. Not suitable for children or pregnant women. Should only be used under medical or dietetic supervision. Always read the label prior to use.

1 Essentials of Sports Nutrition and Supplements, Jose Antonio, PhD, Douglas Kalman, Phd, RD, Jeffrey R. Stout, PhD, Mike Greenwood, PhD, Darryn S. Willoughby, PhD, G. Gregory Haff PhD.   p. 487
2
Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding, by Robert Kennedy, p. 238
3
Sports Supplement Review, 3rd issue, by Bill Phillps, p. 28

4. Wilborn C, Taylor L, Poole C, Foster C, Willoughby D, Kreider R. ‘Effects of a purported aromatase and 5α-reductase inhibitor on hormone profiles in college-age men.’ Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2010 Dec;20(6):457-65.
5. Gauthaman K, Ganesan AP, Prasad RN. ‘Sexual effects of puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris) extract (protodioscin): an evaluation using a rat model.’ J Altern Complement Med. 2003 Apr;9(2):257-65.
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