If you are a gardener living in America then you might have heard of Tribulus Terrestris, or goats-head as it is known. It’s a weed that is classified as “invasive”. But in India, this plant is revered as a fantastic alternative medicine ingredient.
It is used to help improve strength, libido, and as a treatment for kidney infections. Since the 1970s it has become popular in the fitness community, and is seen as an effective testosterone booster.
But is this true? There are so many ingredients that have turned out to be ineffective, that many people are understandably wary about spending their money on it. This article is going to look into the science behind Tribulus Terrestris and help you to decide whether it is worth trying.
Tribulus Terrestris Claims
Many supplement manufacturers claim that Tribulus Terrestris can prevent erectile dysfunction and boost libido, increase testosterone, reduce body fat, and increase lean mass. We will take a look at each of these claims and discover whether they are accurate or not.
• Effect on Erectile Dysfunction – A 2012 study found that men with low sperm counts who took 6g of Tribulus Terrestris for 60 days recorded improved erections and an increase in sexual activity . There was also a statistically insignificant increase in testosterone.
• Effect on Libido – That same study also found that libido increased significantly after consumption of Tribulus Terrestris .
• Effect on Testosterone – While the first study may have indicated a slight increase in testosterone, this does not mean that Tribulus Terrestris is an effective testosterone booster. In fact, multiple studies have found that Tribulus has absolutely no effect on testosterone whatsoever.
A 2005 study by Neychev & Mitev found that Tribulus had no influence on androgen production (testosterone) . Another study on elite rugby league players also found no evidence that it increased testosterone over a period of 5 weeks .
• Effect on Body Fat – The study on elite rugby league players found that 5 weeks of supplementation with Tribulus Terrestris led to no changes in body composition (meaning no fat loss) .
Another study, this time an 8 week study on resistance trained males (dudes who train a lot in the gym) found absolutely no difference between the Tribulus Terrestris group and the control group .
• Effect on Lean Mass (Muscle) – Another common claim is that Tribulus Terrestris can increase muscle mass. As you can see from the previous studies (relating to body composition), this is absolutely not the case .
As a testosterone booster, Tribulus Terrestris is a complete failure. Only one study has found even a slight increase in testosterone and that was non-significant.
It has no effect on body fat, no effect on muscle mass, and it has no effect on strength. It does seem to have some benefit as a libido enhancer, and considering that many men who suffer from low testosterone tend to also suffer from a low libido, this may go some way into explaining why Tribulus Terrestris is included in some testosterone boosting supplements.
But on the whole this is a poor ingredient, and no testosterone booster should be including this as anything more than an additional perk. If there is a supplement that is listing this as a main ingredient, then you are looking at a bad supplement! Avoid.
 Sellandi, T., Thakar, A., Baghel, M. (2012) Clinical study of Tribulus Terrestris Linn. In oligozoospermia: A double blind study. Ayu 33(3): 356-64
 Neychev, V., Mitev, V. (2005) The aphrodisiac herb Tribulus Terrestris does not influence the androgen production in young men. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 3; 101(1-3): 319-23
 Rogerson, S., Riches, C., Jennings, C., Weatherby, R., Meir, R., Marshall-Gradisnik, S. (2007) The effect of five weeks of Tribulus Terrestris supplementation on muscle strength and body composition during preseason training in elite rugby league players. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 21(2): 348-53
(link) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17530942 Antonio, J., Uelmen, J., Rodriguez, R., Earnest, C. (2000) The effects of Tribulus Terrestris on body composition and exercise performance in resistance-trained males. International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism 10(2): 208-15(link) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10861339
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