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Tribulus Terrestris

Quick Tribulus Terrestris Summary Points

  • Tribulus Terrestris is a herb that has long been used in the supplement industry as a testosterone-support ingredient.
  • It can help to optimise natural levels of testosterone within the body's natural limits.
  • When looking for a good tribulus supplement, if possible, pick one with a high concentration of protodioscin - the main active compound of Tribulus.
  • Tribulus should be taken for at least 2-3 weeks for noticeable effects.
  • Both men and women can use Tribulus with few negative side effects.
  • Tribulus can be stacked with almost any supplement including protein, creatine and other hormone support supplements.

What is Tribulus Terrestris?

The herb Tribulus Terrestris first gained prominence as a ‘secret weapon’ employed by Bulgarian weightlifters. Tribulus Terrestris is supposed to have many metabolic properties including increasing muscle growth, improving sex drive, and boosting male performance in the bedroom. There are also reports that Tribulus terrestris can treat colic pains, lower blood pressure and reduce your cholesterol levels.

How Tribulus Works

Tribulus, (also known as Gokshura, Ji Li, Yingjili, Puncture Vine, Devil’s Thorn, Cat’s head, and Tribestan), is a native ground cover to many parts of the world.  Bodybuilders have used Tribulus to increase endogenous testosterone, strength and muscularity. The primary active ingredient is protodioscin and significant variances have been shown to exist between brands, with the Bulgarian-sourced ingredient potentially the most potent. Tribulus raw material derived from Bulgaria generally contains the highest concentration of active steroidal saponins, whereas materials from India and China, are the lowest.1 Protodioscin levels can be affected by the way the plant is grown, processed, packaged and stored. Tribulus is believed to work by increasing the body’s luteinising hormone (LH), produced by the body’s pituitary gland. LH in turn stimulates the testes to boost the production of testosterone. It’s commonly known that testosterone improves the body’s ability to build muscle mass and strength. That’s why synthetic testosterone and related supplements are so popular. As tribulus is not a hormone supplement or prohormone, it works by increasing the body’s natural production level of testosterone and works within the body’s natural limits to help men achieve their strength and muscular potential. Tribulus will only help to improve strength in conjunction with an exercise programme that places the muscles under strain and then allows them to recover. 2

Tribulus & Bodybuilding

A study of over 200 male subjects suffering from impotence (often caused by low testosterone levels), showed that many of the men experienced an increase in LH and testosterone as well as sperm from tribulus supplementation. Normally it takes 5-7 days of supplementation with Tribulus before an increase in aggression, libido and drive is noticed. Muscle gains and strength improvement can take 11-15 days before being noticed. For this reason, it may be worth purchasing a couple of bottles to account for this. This aggression can be channelled into your workouts to give you a psychological edge and improve your energy during training.

Cycling & Stacking Tribulus

Tribulus is best cycled, say for 60 days on, and 2-3 weeks off for maximum effect. Tribulus is rarely used on its own. To achieve the synergistic use of this supplement, stack tribulus with other anabolic compounds, such as Methoxy Isoflavone, Beta-Ecdysterone, red clover, or wild yam. A ZMA supplement is also worth taking whilst on Tribulus. If taking Tribulus before training, ensure you take a carbohydrate/protein formula post-training.

Tribulus for Women & Men

In males, Tribulus enhances Luteinizing Hormone and testosterone, while in women it enhances FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) and Estradiol while only mildly affecting Testosterone levels. These increased hormonal levels also increase libido and function.

Tribulus Side Effects

Some people may get an upset stomach from using Tribulus Terrestris. This may be minimised by taking it with food. Young males may respond to tribulus supplementation with oily skin. Tribulus may also increase your libido. Tribulus should not be taken by pregnant or lactating women, or individuals with enlarged prostates or any other medical conditions without consulting your doctor.

Choosing a Tribulus Supplement

When looking for a good quality Tribulus supplement, look beyond just the milligrams of Tribulus in the ingredient listing.

  • Look for root over fruit and leaf. Cheaper versions at $40 or less will generally be less effective and have lesser ingredients such as these.
  • Stay with well-recognised brands.
  • Liquid form can provide better absorption.
  • Choose Bulgarian rather than Chinese or Indian-sourced Tribulus, as it has been shown to have a higher quality and quantity of active protodioscin content.
  • Choose a product with LH-increasing ingredients in the formulation such as longifolia and forskolin for greater effectiveness.
  • Choose a product that works for you, and stick with it.

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
Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding, by Robert Kennedy, p. 238
Sports Supplement Review, 3rd issue, by Bill Phillps, p. 28

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