Does Tribulus Terrestris Boost Testosterone?

does tribulus boost testosterone

Setting The Stage For Tribulus Terrestris

Before we get into what Tribulus Terrestris is and why it’s part of the testosterone boosting discussion, let’s just set the stage first.

The issue that is most pressing at this time is the fact that the testosterone levels in men are dropping at a faster rate of speed than ever before in history.

Today’s modern man has about a 20% lower level of testosterone than he would have had at the same age just 20 years ago.  That’s a real problem, and what’s worse, it doesn’t look like that trend is going to get better. If anything, it looks like it may continue to get worse.

As a result, more and more men today are feeling the effects of low levels of testosterone. Loss of muscularity, increased belly fat, loss of sex drive, loss of energy & stamina, and issues with depression and mental focus are just some of the negative effects that are afflicting men all over the world.

Looking For Test Boosting Solutions

With the faster rate of testosterone decline, more men are looking for solutions to the problem, and they’re looking at how they stop the rate of decline or better yet, increase their T levels.

Of course, there’s the expensive and potentially dangerous option of testosterone replacement therapy. This option includes receiving testosterone from an outside source and having it administered to you either through injections or sometimes topical creams or patches.

We won’t go into all the reasons why we highly recommend NOT choosing this option, but the nutshell version is that when you put testosterone into your body from an outside source, your body regulates accordingly. It now thinks that you have plenty of testosterone (which you do because you’re getting injected with it), and so it shuts off it’s own production of testosterone now.

Now you’ve created a situation where your body will decrease its testosterone production even more, leaving you with even lower levels of natural testosterone, essentially forcing you to stay on testosterone replacement therapy for the long haul.

If that wasn’t enough to make you think twice about testosterone replacement therapy, there are the potentially dangerous health risks and negative side effects associated with it.

Here’s a few of the most common ones:

  • Testicular shrinkage
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Male breast growth (gynecomastia or bitch tits)
  • Increased aggression
  • Psychosis
  • Dependency

Many men don’t want to deal with all of the negative issues associated with testosterone replacement therapy, and rightfully so. I know, I don’t want to deal with all of those things either.

The Rise Of Natural Testosterone Boosters

best testosterone boosters

It turns out that medical researchers and scientists have been hard at work as well uncovering the different ways that you can boost testosterone in natural ways that don’t come with all the negative side effects and health risks that you see with TRT.

One of those natural ways is through testosterone boosters. Testosterone boosters are made of a collection of herbal botanicals, vitamins, minerals, and other natural compounds that work together to cause your body to make more of its own healthy and vibrant testosterone – naturally.

A testosterone booster can be an amazingly effective way to measurably boost testosterone levels, but that’s all predicated on whether or not the T-booster has ingredients in the formulation that have been scientifically proven to get the job done.

Check out our Top 3 Testosterone Boosters Of The Year

Analyzing and understanding which ingredients are proven to boost testosterone is probably the most important factor when you’re in the midst of choosing a good quality testosterone booster that can truly make a difference for you.

Now that the stage has been properly set, this is where Tribulus Terrestris enters the discussion.

What Is Tribulus Terrestris?

Tribulus Terrestris is a plant, also known as the puncture vine due to the inclusion of its thorny exterior. Tribulus is said to come with a whole host of health benefits, which we’ll look at later in this article, but there’s one benefit in particular that we are most interested in delving into, and that is whether or not it has the properties to boost testosterone levels.

A Common Supplement Ingredient

The market is loaded with all kinds of health & fitness supplements that claim any number of benefits. One of the most popular benefits touted these days is the ability to boost testosterone levels. As the spotlight intensifies on this problem of declining T levels, more manufacturers are trying to capitalize on the need by offering supplement products that claim to measurably increase testosterone levels. Obviously, this is especially popular in legal steroid alternatives and testosterone boosters.

Supplements live or die based on their ingredients. Do the supplements do what they say they will do? Do they they have ingredients that are scientifically proven to boost testosterone?

This is the question we are seeking to answer with Tribulus Terrestris because it is a popular ingredient and there is some conflicting information out in the market. Some supplements claim that Tribulus is proven to boost testosterone, and you can read other sources that say testosterone levels are not affected positively in any way at all with tribulus. The theory behind tribulus is that it’s supposed to elevate luteinizing hormone (LH), which in turn sends instructions to the testes causing them to make testosterone.

So what’s the truth?  Well, let’s do what we do with every ingredient, and let’s look at what the latest scientific research has to say about it.

What Does Science Say About Tribulus Terrestris?

testosterone scientific research

One reason for the possible confusion is that there looks like there may be some conflicting information from the scientific community.

Let’s see if we can make some sense of it.

Studies Supporting Tribulus As A Testosterone Booster

study claiming tribulus does increase testosterone

Probably the most popular and most commonly referenced study that supplement manufacturers use to support their claims that Tribulus boosts testosterone is this study. Primates were INJECTED with tribulus and the result was that their testosterone levels more than doubled! However, their raised levels were only short lived. This study showed that there was some level of short term androgenic androgenic effect on monkeys when injected with tribulus.

What does this study tell us? Well, it tells us that when primates receive an injected form of tribulus terrestris, there is some level of short term androgenic effect, meaning a short term boost in testosterone.

Unfortunately, this is a far cry from saying that a human being will have sustained and measurable increases in testosterone with an oral over-the-counter supplement.

There were a couple of more studies with rats and rabbits that showed a very moderate increase in testosterone, but nothing significant. It’s important to reiterate that these studies were done on animals, and not humans. (study) (study)

What About Studies With Humans?

The results of three major studies on humans have done quite a bit to quiet the claims that tribulus terrestris is a bonafide testosterone booster. Three studies on humans showed no increase in testosterone levels or luteinizing hormones (LH).
Studies: (1) (2) (3)

tribulus terrestris review journal of strength and conditioning

Another study conducted in 2007 published by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research specifically tested the effects of tribulus terrestris on 24 rugby players. Twelve of the players received 450 mg of t.terrestris and the other 12 received a placebo. The test ran for a full 5 weeks, and both groups did the exact same exercise regimen. After the study, researchers examined the data and were disappointed to find that there were no increases in strength or muscle mass of tribulus group, and they also found that there was no change in the T/E (testosterone to estrogen) ratio, which means there was no increase in testosterone.

tribulus terrestris review - study

Even as recently as 2016, there was another study conducted on 30 men that were known to have fertility issues. One group received a placebo, and the other group received a total 750 mg of tribulus terrestris per day given in three 250 mg servings spread throughout the day. This study was conducted over a 3 month time period, and after the study they found that there was no change in total testosterone, free testosterone, or luteinizing hormone.

One study muddied the waters a little bit. It showed that if a man takes tribulus that has a steroidal glycoside called Protodioscin accounting for at least 10% of the extract as an active ingredient, then there could be a rather significant increase in LH and also testosterone production. I know that sounds hopeful and optimistic, but an important fact to note is that most OTC tribulus terrestris supplements don’t contain any (or very little) Protodioscin. (study)

 

What Are Industry Experts Saying?

Ali Kuoppala is the founder of AnabolicMen.com and is a recognized research expert on natural testosterone and men’s health. He is most known for researching natural ways to increase testosterone, and here was his conclusion on the test boosting ability of Tribulus Terrestris based on his research analysis:

“In my opinion Tribulus Terrestris is one of the worst testosterone boosters out there. Yes it might work if you get an extract with standardized amount of steroidal saponins and Protodioscin, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. Or just get yourself a testosterone booster that actually works in humans without any guessing, such as micronutrients, Mucuna Pruriens, and Ashwagandha.”


Examine.com is one of the leading authority resources for independent scientific research on supplements and nutrition. It’s one of the tools we use constantly to cross reference various ingredients in the supplements we review. Here’s their take on whether tribulus terrestris boosts testosterone:

“The thing is, tribulus doesn’t work. And there is plenty of research to prove that it doesn’t work; we have direct and repeated evidence that tribulus doesn’t increase testosterone in athletic males. In other words, if you’re taking tribulus to become stronger or add more muscle, don’t expect much.”

“In otherwise healthy males, testosterone is not influenced with supplementation of tribulus terrestris. There may be an increase in infertile men, but this is weak.”


Bodybuilding.com, who sells lots of men’s health & fitness supplements is very careful in the wording they use when it comes to tribulus terrestris and boosting testosterone. In this article they did on TT, look at how carefully they used their words, never coming out saying that TT does (or doesn’t) boost testosterone:

“…it may possess the power to help support increased testosterone levels during training periods.”

If Tribulus does affect testosterone levels, it might do so by increasing luteinizing hormone (LH) or follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).”

“Another explanation to any rise in testosterone could be that it happens as a secondary response to Tribulus’ ability to significantly reduce blood glucose.”

If Tribulus raises natural testosterone levels, its effects appear to be dose-specific.”

“My theory is that if Tribulus increases circulating testosterone, then it probably does so secondary to promoting blood glucose disposal.”

Their most definitive statement was at the very end of the article under the heading called Not Enough Evidence:

“The data on Tribulus is still inconclusive, but remains promising. The current shortcomings may simply reflect a lack of research to dial-in the correct dosing and dosing conditions to optimize the response. Only time will tell.”

Note: The underlines in the quotes are my additions highlighting how carefully they worded things.


Men’s Health take on Tribulus Terrestris as a testosterone booster:

“Marketers claim that Tribulus terrestris boosts testosterone production and therefore increases muscle mass and strength (not to mention libido). However, a four-week study of 21 healthy young men reported in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology failed to find any measurable differences in testosterone levels between those taking the supplement and a placebo group…..Bottom Line: Keep your cash”


From WikiPedia:

“Some body builders use T. terrestris extract as a dietary supplement with the belief that it increases testosterone levels. The belief was popularized by the American bodybuilder Jeffrey Petermann in the early 1970s. However, T. terrestris has failed to increase testosterone levels in controlled studies.[17][18][19] It has also failed to demonstrate strength-enhancing properties,[20] a finding indicating that the purported anabolic steroid effects of Tribulus terrestris are untrue.”


From Livestrong.com:

“This herb has been hyped to raise testosterone and thus aid in muscle size and strength gains. There is very little research that has been conducted on tribulus terrestris, and what has been done has consistently failed to show a positive effect among athletes for improving body composition, strength or training performance and is not recommended.”


From ArtOfManliness.com:

“Tribulus terrestris is the #1 selling testosterone booster, and the best example of a supplement that increases libido, but has no effect on testosterone.”


 

So What’s The Verdict On Tribulus Terrestris Raising T Levels?

From our point of view, looking at what research is available, it doesn’t look like Tribulus Terrestris really has any measurable effect on increasing testosterone levels.

With the exception of one study, all the other studies done on humans, showed no measureable increase in total testosterone, free testosterone, or luteinizing hormone. And the one exception study required that the Tribulus extract had to have a minimum of 10% Protodioscin (steroid glycoside) as an active ingredient.

The preponderance of the scientific evidence shows, that while you may receive a variety of other very valuable benefits from tribulus terrestris, increasing your testosterone levels is not one of them.

So does that mean that you should discount this ingredient completely?

Does it have any benefits that may be of value to you?

Hang on, don’t throw the towel in on tribulus just yet…

Benefits Of Tribulus Terrestris

Okay, so maybe tribulus isn’t a star at boosting testosterone, but it turns out that there are some very interesting and valuable benefits it does have which should make you feel good if you happen to find this ingredient in a muscle supplement or testosterone booster you’re thinking about taking, or if you’re just thinking about taking it separately on its own.

Sexual Health Benefits

One of the main reasons why tribulus is so common, particularly in testosterone boosters, is because of the known and undisputed sexual benefits that it brings to the table.


Examine.com:

“The roots enhance libido and sexual well being without affecting testosterone while the fruits appear to be potently protective of organ function.”


Low libido is one of the most common symptoms of low testosterone, and it’s one of the most compelling reasons men look for a testosterone booster. It can wreak havoc on a man’s relationship with his partner. Because of this, many men look to testosterone boosters because with an increase in testosterone comes a natural increase in libido (sex drive). This is where the tribulus terrestris star shines the brightest.

Tribulus is a very powerful libido enhancer, and this is why it’s a great ingredient to see in testosterone boosters. If you’re looking at testosterone boosters, you should be looking to experience and take advantage of all the different health benefits associated with vibrant & healthy levels of testosterone – including increased libido. So, as long as the test booster has a core group of proven testosterone boosting ingredients to start with, having tribulus terrestris as an additional ingredient on top of that makes perfect sense and will give your libido an even bigger kick!

Other proven sexual benefits of tribulus that should get you excited are:

  • Better quality erections
  • Improved sperm quality
  • Improved sperm quantity

Examine.com:

“…tribulus root appears to increase rigidity of erections and improve performance (reduce anxiety while delaying ejaculation and improving orgasm)”


Read about our top rated testosterone booster that includes tribulus terrestris

 

Other Benefits of Tribulus Terrestris

  • Shown to improve circulatory system issues
  • Helps lessen depression
  • Helps reduce problems associated with both menopause and andropause
  • Helps promote deeper and more restorative sleep
  • Helps reduce blood pressure and improve blood circulation
  • Helps protect the prostate and urinary system
  • Helps with mood swings
  • Helps increase endurance and stamina
  • Helps decrease cholesterol

WebMD on the various benefits associated with tribulus:

Tribulus is used for kidney problems, including kidney stones, painful urination, a kidney disorder called Bright’s disease, and as a “water pill” (diuretic) to increase urination; for skin disorders, including eczema (atopic dermatitis), psoriasis, and scabies; for male sexual problems, including erectile dysfunction (ED), involuntary release of semen without orgasm (spermatorrhea), and to increase sexual desire; for heart and circulatory system problems, including chest pain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and “tired blood” (anemia); for problems with digestion, including colic, intestinal gas (flatulence), constipation, and to expel intestinal parasitic worms; for pain and swelling (inflammation) of the tissue lining the mouth (stomatitis) and sore throat; and for cancer, especially nose tumors.Women use tribulus to tone muscles before childbirth, to cause an abortion, and to stimulate milk flow.Some people use tribulus for gonorrhea, liver disease (hepatitis), inflammation, joint pain (rheumatism), leprosy, coughs, headache, dizziness (vertigo), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and enhancing athletic performance. It is also used for stimulating appetite and as an astringent, tonic, and mood enhancer.”


It seems pretty clear that even though tribulus terrestris may not be a testosterone booster, it provides a multitude of very powerful benefits, especially when it comes to anything sexually related.

It makes perfect sense to have this ingredient as part of your arsenal of ingredients particularly if you’re having sexual problems due to low T.

Side Effects Of Tribulus Terrestris

Here’s another positive about tribulus, and that is there really don’t seem to be any significant side effects to worry about.

Looking through various medical references and so forth shed no light on any potentially dangerous or negative side effect issues.

This is a natural herb vs. taking something synthetic, so typically you’re going to have most of your negative effects on the synthetic side of equation.

Obviously, with any supplement, you want to take it as directed and not go crazy with it because overdosing yourself with anything can cause problems, but if you stay in the range that it’s directed, then you shouldn’t have a problem at all.

Recommended Tribulus Directions For Use

According to Examine.com, the recommended use is approximately 450 mg per day. That is assuming a 60% saponin extract.

Final Thoughts

What do we know about Tribulus Terrestris now? We know it’s not really a testosterone booster, but that it has a lot of complementary benefits that make it a natural fit with one.

We know that it is particularly powerful and beneficial when it comes to any of the sexual problems that men deal with usually as a result of low levels of testosterone; things like little to no desire for sex, difficulty getting or maintaining an erection, quality of an erection, etc.

We like tribulus terrestris and think it’s an excellent ingredient to have for all the talked about benefits it provides, and we would recommend it highly for those benefits rather than for it being a testosterone booster.

Especially if you’re having sexual issues as a result of low testosterone, you might want to find a test booster that has great testosterone boosting ingredients AND also has Tribulus Terrestris for the sexual performance enhancements.

Read about our top test booster recommendation that includes Tribulus Terrestris!

About the Author Mike

Mike is our resident personal trainer specializing in men's health & fitness. He is an avid enthusiast when it comes to understanding and implementing the best strategies & tactics for optimal healthy living, and he is completely obsessed with how to achieve peak performance levels.