Tribulus, also known as “the puncture vine”, has been used as an herbal testosterone booster to promote muscle gains for athletes and the average guy alike. The herb varies from species to species; so all products are not created equal. Studies are still in the works, but the preliminary results look promising. Lithuanian researchers gave athletes the testosterone-boosting herb in doses of 625 milligrams three times per day for a full 20 days. After the first 10 days there was a notable increase in the athletes testosterone levels. However, the same testosterone boost did not come during the second half of the study. Here is a guide to walk you through Tribulus use, everything from its history, different species of the plant, how to purchase, and when to take it.
The herb throughout history
In Chinese and Indian medicine Tribulus is used to treat a number of conditions affecting the kidneys and the liver, in addition to the cardiovascular and immune systems. It was in Eastern Europe that the herb was first used in folk medicine for sexual potency and muscle strength. It is now almost exclusively used to improve sexual function in humans. After two full decades of hushed government-sponsored studies, a formula for Tribulus Terrestris has entered the pharmaceutical market on a global scale.
So how does it work?
Tribulus affects testosterone levels by increasing luteinizing hormone (LH) or follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). A secondary theory to support Tribulus’ use for a testosterone boost is the herb’s ability to reduce blood glucose, which in turn triggers an increase in testosterone production.
Tribulus terrestris also works by relaxing smooth muscles, which the penis is made up of entirely, and increases blood flow. The relaxant effect observed is probably due to the increase in the release of nitric oxide from the endothelium and nerve endings. Benefits have been noted as early as within three or four days of use. Some might consider this herb to be ideal for male enhancement purposes because it not only increases testosterone, but also works towards relaxing the penis muscles while increasing circulation to the area to improve erections.
Choosing the right kind
When purchasing the herb it is important to pay close attention to the portodioscin concentration. This concentration level indicates how powerful that particular species of Tribulus will be. The strength is very dependent on where it was harvested geographically. The herb is grown all over the world and the highest concentrations are harvested from Turkey, Macedonia, and Bulgaria. Southeast Asian Tribulus tends to have the lowest protodioscin concentrations. Be sure to read any product label before purchasing to ensure you have the highest quality and will be more likely to receive the best results for your body possible.
The Tribulus also needs to be taken in the correct dose as the delivery of active protodioscin has a very small window during which is effective. You need to find Goldilocks fit for your Tribulus supplement, meaning that too little or too much will be moot. Hitting that ‘just right’ mark is general between 2.3 and 4.6 milligrams per pound of bodyweight daily. Set up an equation for yourself to figure out the right dose: body weight x 2.3 milligrams. Make sure your supplement has at least, bare minimum, that much Tribulus.
When to take it
If the Tribulus increases circulating free testosterone it is best to take the Tribulus on an empty stomach with water only. Tribulus is most efficient when blood glucose is at its lowest, this is because it can only increase testosterone once it has alreaday promoting blood glucose disposal. In short, the lower your blood sugar, the less work the herb has to do before raising your testosterone.
Adaptogenic herbs are a type of herb that only works to bring the body into balance if it is already out of sync. The research conducted on Tribulus suggests that it may be an adaptogenic herb. This means that it may be more efficient to cycle on and off doses of Tribulus instead of taking it consistently over a long period of time. It is best to add Tribulus to your arsenal of supplements during training or dieting periods and take some time off from the herb in between.
Side effects and risks
While no significant side effects have been found from recent scientific research during clincical trials, those who have been found to use larger amounts of the herb than necessary have experienced complications. The kidneys seem to be primarily affected when Tribulus is abused and in rare cases damage has been incurred from the amount of stress ingesting irresponsible doses has caused. Not enough is really known about the herb to discuss the long-term usage side effects that one might experience if taking it regularly for several years.
The most common side effects are in some cases even positive. Some users report increased mental sharpness, alertness, and an overall energized feeling. This can also be interpreted by some as an uncomfortable experience, having a greater amount of energy can make the user feel restless with an increased heart rate. Like with any ingredient that alters glucose disposal some shakiness and dizziness might occur, especially if you are already prone to low-blood sugar sensitivity. Although, almost all adverse effects reported are related to issues with taking the proper dosage.
The bottom line….
There is not enough conclusive evidence to directly link Tribulus Terrestris to penis enhancement or increased testosterone levels over a long-term period. The issue with the research is mostly linked to correct dosing to avoid minor side effects. Remember to read the labels of Tribulus Terrestris properly and dose according to body weight for best results. The strong evidence that Tribulus Terrestris may be an adaptogen along with the lack of research suggests that it is best to have an on again off again relationship with this supplement for best results and minimal risk.