Tribulus terrestris might be beneficial in regulating blood sugar and cholesterol for those with type 2 diabetes.
Many health supplements today are derived from plants that were traditionally used for their medicinal properties.
Tribulus terrestris is one such plant believed to offer numerous health perks, such as lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels, influencing hormone levels, and boosting sexual function and desire.
This article provides a comprehensive look at this plant, its potential health benefits, and if it’s worth adding to your supplement routine.
- What it is
- Heart health and blood sugar
- Enhanced libido
- Effects on physical fitness and body shape
- More potential benefits
- Dosage, safety, and side effects
What is Tribulus terrestris?
Tribulus terrestris is a small plant with leaves. Other names for it include puncture vine, Gokshura, caltrop, and goat’s head.
You can find it growing in various regions like parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
Historically, both the root and fruit of this plant played a role in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Indian Ayurveda practices.
People have consumed this plant traditionally for multiple reasons, from enhancing sexual desire to supporting urinary tract health and reducing inflammation.
Nowadays, Tribulus terrestris is commonly found in health supplements, and some claim it can boost testosterone levels.
Summary: Tribulus terrestris has been consumed for its potential health advantages over the centuries. It’s commonly found in modern health supplements and is sometimes used in testosterone-enhancing products.
How Tribulus terrestris might impact heart health and blood sugar
Though many consume Tribulus terrestris for its potential positive effects on sexual health and testosterone, it’s also been studied for other vital benefits.
A study observed the results of administering 1,000 mg of Tribulus terrestris daily to 98 women diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Three months in, those who consumed the supplement showed decreased blood sugar and cholesterol levels compared to those who received a placebo.
Animal-based studies further suggest that Tribulus terrestris can lower blood sugar, safeguard against damage to blood vessels, and prevent cholesterol spikes.
Despite these encouraging results, we need more research to confidently recommend this plant for such health benefits.
Summary: Early findings indicate that Tribulus terrestris might aid in managing blood sugar and cholesterol levels in diabetic individuals. But, we need more human-based studies to confirm these benefits.
Tribulus terrestris doesn’t elevate testosterone levels
When you search online for Tribulus terrestris supplements, you’ll find many are marketed for testosterone enhancement.
A comprehensive review took data from 12 key studies that looked at the plant’s effects on men and women aged 14-60. These studies spanned from 2-90 days and included both healthy individuals and those with sexual challenges.
The conclusion? The supplement doesn’t boost testosterone.
While some animal studies have hinted at a testosterone increase due to Tribulus terrestris, the same doesn’t seem to apply to humans.
Summary: Despite what advertisements might suggest, Tribulus terrestris doesn’t increase testosterone in people, as evidenced by several studies encompassing diverse age groups and health conditions.
Tribulus terrestris might help boost sexual desire
Though it might not influence testosterone, Tribulus terrestris could enhance libido.
Research shows men with diminished sex drives saw a 79% boost in libido after taking 750-1,500 mg of Tribulus terrestris daily for two months.
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Additionally, 67% of women with low sexual drive felt increased sexual desire when they consumed 500-1,500 mg supplements for 90 days.
Other investigations have found that the herb can boost sexual desire, arousal, and satisfaction in women with decreased libido.
But its effects on men with erectile dysfunction are not consistent. Some studies suggest an 800 mg daily dose might not be effective. Yet, others found notable improvements in erections and sexual satisfaction with a daily dose of 1,500 mg.
So, while Tribulus terrestris might enhance libido in both genders, we need more research to understand the full scope of its sexual benefits.
Summary: Tribulus terrestris seems to elevate libido in both men and women with decreased sexual desire. However, its effectiveness in treating erectile dysfunction in men remains unclear, though higher dosages might be more beneficial.
Tribulus terrestris doesn’t enhance physical fitness or body shape
Many fitness enthusiasts use Tribulus terrestris, hoping it will better their body shape by adding muscle or shedding fat.
This could stem from its reputation as a testosterone booster, even though it hasn’t been proven to do so.
Research on whether the plant can enhance body shape or fitness performance in athletes or active people is scarce.
One investigation looked at its effects on elite male rugby players during five weeks of weight training. The outcome? There were no notable differences in strength or body shape improvements between those taking the supplement and those on a placebo.
Another study deduced that coupling this supplement with an eight-week exercise regimen didn’t outperform a placebo in terms of body shape, strength, or muscle endurance.
Currently, there’s no data on its effects in active women, but it’s probable the supplement would also not offer them any significant benefits.
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Summary: Tribulus terrestris doesn’t seem to have an edge over a placebo when it comes to building muscle, shedding fat, or enhancing physical performance.
More potential effects of Tribulus terrestris
Besides the effects we’ve talked about, Tribulus terrestris could have several other impacts on our body:
- Water regulation: It might work as a diuretic, increasing the amount of urine produced.
- Immunity boost: Rats showed a rise in immune system activity after taking this supplement.
- Brain effects: When combined with other ingredients, Tribulus terrestris seemed to have potential antidepressant effects in mice.
- Reducing inflammation: Test-tube studies suggest that it might have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Pain management: In rats, higher doses seem to provide some pain relief.
- Cancer resistance: In test-tube research, the plant showed potential anti-cancer properties.
But, remember, many of these observations come from animal or test-tube studies, so the data is pretty limited.
We really need more comprehensive research, especially in humans, to confirm these potential benefits.
Summary: There’s a lot of speculation about Tribulus terrestris’s health effects, but we don’t have enough solid evidence for many of these claims. Most findings come from animal or lab-based tests, not human trials.
Recommended dosage, safety, and side effects of Tribulus terrestris
The dosage of Tribulus terrestris used in research varies widely.
For studies looking at its impact on blood sugar, 1,000 mg daily was the norm. For those exploring libido enhancements, doses ranged between 250 and 1,500 mg per day.
Some researchers prescribed dosages based on body weight. For instance, many studies used 4.5-9 mg per pound (10-20 mg per kg) of body weight.
So, for someone weighing about 155 pounds (70 kg), the daily dose might be between 700 and 1,400 mg.
Key compounds: Saponins
Saponins are the primary compounds in Tribulus terrestris believed to give it its health effects.
Often, supplements will mention the dosage and the saponin percentage, indicating the concentration of these compounds in the product.
Many Tribulus terrestris supplements have saponin content between 45-60%. If the saponin percentage is high, you’d need a smaller dosage because of the higher concentration.
Low risk of side effects
Most research, even with varied dosages, reports only minimal side effects without significant safety concerns.
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A few users might experience mild stomach cramps or acid reflux.
A study involving rats pointed to possible kidney concerns. There’s also a recorded case of a man experiencing toxicity after taking Tribulus terrestris to avoid kidney stones.
Still, most studies indicate that the supplement is relatively safe with few side effects. It’s essential to weigh the potential benefits against any risks.
If you’re considering this supplement, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional about the right dosage.
Summary: For most people, Tribulus terrestris is well-tolerated and doesn’t cause major side effects. Some might experience stomach issues, and there’s minimal evidence pointing to possible toxicity risks.
Tribulus terrestris is a plant with a rich history in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine.
While many potential benefits are attributed to it, a lot of them have been studied only in animals.
There’s some evidence to suggest it might help manage blood sugar and cholesterol for those with type 2 diabetes.
And, while it doesn’t seem to boost testosterone, it might help with libido in both men and women.
However, don’t expect it to transform your body composition or boost your athletic performance.
Most research suggests this supplement is safe with minor side effects, but it’s always wise to consider all potential benefits and risks when taking any supplement.