If you're an athlete or someone who's passionate about bodybuilding, chances are you've heard about the supplement tribulus. If you haven't heard about it, you probably will pretty soon. Typically marketed as a testosterone-boosting product that can help you to achieve impressive muscle gains and better sexual function, tribulus is becoming very popular in the realm of health and fitness. If you're wondering what the hype is about this herb, keep reading.
What Tribulus Is
As an herb found in many places around the world--especially in warm areas in southern Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia--Tribulus terrestris is a flowering plant that is used in supplements with the thought that it can increase testosterone, libido and promote big muscle gains. Tribulus can be found as an ingredient in preworkout supplements, sexual health products and other bodybuilding formulas, and it also comes as a product on its own. If the name “tribulus” sounds unfamiliar, you might be more accustomed to hearing its other names, “puncture vine” or “devil's weed.” Some of the main active ingredients in tribulus are saponins, flavonoids and alkaloids.
Uses for Tribulus
While many people who take tribulus are men who are striving to achieve higher testosterone levels for better athletic performance, there are other reasons that people turn to tribulus. According to WebMD, both men and women have been known to use tribulus to help improve symptoms of angina, circulatory conditions, sexual dysfunction, low libido and infertility. The idea is that tribulus may boost testosterone levels in men and provide benefits for women as well by increasing luteinizing hormone in the anterior pituitary gland. A boost in testosterone in men may contribute to better workout performance, lean muscle growth and increased sexual desire. In women, tribulus may help regulate ovulation, reduce symptoms of menopause, improve fertility and boost libido, according to Men's Fitness.
What Research Says
With insufficient research, it can't be determined that tribulus is effective for the aforementioned athletic purposes. A 2007 study of male rugby players showed that taking tribulus for five weeks did not produce an increase in strength or lean muscle mass. However, several other studies have shown it can be beneficial for certain women's hormonal issues. Though there isn't any evidence suggesting that tribulus can pump up your muscles or give you herculean strength, it may be able to provide benefits for other purposes, like infertility and certain sexual and hormonal issues.
If You Want to Try Tribulus
Before you try tribulus, you should talk to your doctor to discuss whether it is appropriate for you. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not take tribulus. Likewise, you shouldn't take it if you have any health condition that is dependent upon hormones, like prostate cancer or breast cancer. Competitive athletes should use caution if taking tribulus, as it may cause a positive drug test due to the increase of urinary testosterone/epitestosterone (T/E). Tribulus can interact with certain medications, so you should talk to your doctor before trying it.
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