So you’re looking for a way to boost your testosterone levels?
Then you’ve probably already seen tribulus.
This natural herb has been marketed towards bodybuilders and gym-goers for decades due to its uncanny ability to boost the bodys production of testosterone, leading to large gains in muscle mass in just 5-28 days.
But here’s the thing…
It doesn’t work.
What Is Tribulus?
Tribulus Terrestris is an ingredient which has been floating around the supplement world for a long, long time.
It first rose to fame when it was sold as an aid for increased male sexual performance, but it really caught fire in the early 1990s when supplement manufacturers began labelling it as a muscle builder.
The reason for this is because one of the ingredients in tribulus terrestris, called protodioscin, increases secretion of luteinizing hormone from the pitulary gland, which regulates fertility, and this signals the testicles to produce more testosterone. Given the huge role which testosterone plays in the muscle building process, it makes sense that higher test levels could lead to a greater muscle building response, right?
Heck, that’s basically why people use steroids.
But all of these potential results hinge on tribulus’ ability to actually boost testosterone levels in the first place…
Why Tribulus Is A Poor Test Booster
Ah, it was all going so smoothly!
Alas, much like 3D televisions and the 2016 Ghostbusters remake, this is one of those “punch in the face” moments where a great theory doesn’t work out in real life.
When we look at the human studies which attempt to use tribulus to increase testosterone, we are greeted with a number of in-depth trials showing that it simply doesn’t work. (1, 2, 3)
Also, while the theory of boosting luteinizing hormone to increase testosterone production sounded great, this is another aspect which didn’t play out the way we’d hoped – a 2005 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacoly showed that there was actually zero increase in LH. (3)
In fact, the only study to show slight improvements in testosterone with tribulus supplementation came from Egyptian researchers in 2016, but even then they worked specifically with a group of males who already had partial androgen deficiency (very low test) to start with. (4)
So there you have it:
Tribulus is NOT a test booster, and it is NOT a muscle building supplement.
I’ll stop short of saying it’s completely useless, of course, because it does hold some merit with regards to improving sexual appetite (not performance), and guarding against the formation of kidney stones. (5, 6, 7).
However, that’s probably not why you were looking it up.
- Rogerson S., et al. The effect of five weeks of Tribulus terrestris supplementation on muscle strength and body composition during preseason training in elite rugby league players. J Stregth Cond Res (2007).
- Saudan C., et al. Short term impact of Tribulus terrestris intake on doping control analysis of endogenous steroids. Forensic Sci Int (2008).
- Neychev V. K., et al. The aphrodisiac herb Tribulus terrestris does not influence the androgen production in young men. J Ethnopharmacol (2005).
- Roaiah M. F., et al. Pilot Study on the Effect of Botanical Medicine (Tribulus terrestris) on Serum Testosterone Level and Erectile Function in Aging Males With Partial Androgen Deficiency (PADAM). J Sex Marital Ther (2016).
- Sellandi T. M., et al. Clinical study of Tribulus terrestris Linn. in Oligozoospermia: A double blind study. Ayu (2012).
- Santos Jr C. A., et al. Tribulus terrestris versus placebo in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: A prospective, randomized, double blind study. Actos Urol Esp (2014).
- Anand R., et al. Activity of certain fractions of Tribulus terrestris fruits against experimentally induced urolithiasis in rats. Indian J Exp Biol (1994).