Tribulus terrestris, with its other known names, is a supplement that has been used since the past, as iron thistle and shepherd's buck. Although there is not enough evidence about Tribulus supplementation yet, it is thought to have many benefits to the body.
Many of the nutritional supplements used today consist of herbs used for therapeutic purposes in ancient times. Iron thistle, which can grow in many parts of the world and is actually a weed, is one of the plants used in the past to contribute to health for medicinal purposes. Both the leaves, root and fruit of the iron thistle plant have been used for medicinal purposes and continue to be used as a dietary supplement or in teas today. The use of herbs for healing purposes is common in our country, and the iron thistle plant is one of them. Iron thistle, which is a widely used plant in alternative and traditional medicine applications, is preferred because it can provide benefits in many areas with its effect on type II diabetes, cholesterol and hormones. However, studies showing the beneficial effect of the plant on humans are still limited. More studies are needed for definitive results.
What is tribulus?
Tribulus terrestris is also popularly known as "shepherd's weed or iron thistle". It is a small leafed plant. It grows in many different places in the world, especially in China and Asia, and in some parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Both the root and fruit of the iron thistle plant have been used in the past for treatments. Today; Tribulus terrestris is widely used as a general health supplement and in supplements that claim to increase testosterone levels. It is thought to have benefits in many areas such as sexual dysfunctions, urinary problems, skin problems, muscle mass increase, sperm quality. It has been proven that the original tribulus products do not contain allergen substances.
What does tribulus do?
Tribulus is a food supplement produced from the miraculous plant of our age. It is thought that it can help increase the amount of testosterone hormone in our body without disturbing its structure.
Tribulus, which is a nutritional supplement mostly preferred by athletes and people who do intense physical activity; It helps to increase muscle mass, stimulate protein synthesis, and increase testosterone levels. Although there is no definite proven result, it is thought that tribulus supplementation also contributes to muscle strengthening. By providing nitrogen balance, it can accelerate the muscle regeneration and recovery of your fibers after intense training. The 24-48 hours required for the muscles to fully rest can be reduced to 12 hours with tribulus supplementation. In other words, your muscles can fully rest in a much shorter time, which can increase your sports performance. Your body works much faster. According to the results of a study conducted by the All Star Health website on 212 men; Testosterone levels of people over the age of 35 begin to decline. It is thought that tribulus supplementation can be used to prevent this. Known as iron thistle, tribulus stands out with its high content of saponin. Today, iron thistle supplement is mostly used by men, especially since it is thought to increase testosterone levels.
In addition, for active people who do sports, we can see that iron thistle (Tribulus terrestris) supplement is used to increase muscle and reduce adipose tissue. However, research in athletes has revealed that the supplement used does not directly make any difference in body composition or performance.
Studies examining the side effects of iron thistle supplements have shown that the supplement causes some minor side effects, but shows that it is safe when used in a controlled manner.
As with all supplements, a healthcare professional should be consulted for the dosage and recommendation for use. While there may be different ways of use for different effects, it must be used in a controlled manner to prevent possible side effects.
What are the benefits of tribulus?
Iron thistle herb was also used in traditional Chinese medicine to strengthen libido or improve performance. It is also known that this plant raises the levels of some hormones in the body, especially testosterone and estrogen.
In addition, it is thought that tribulus supplement reduces the risk of various health problems such as high blood pressure, sexual function, high cholesterol, kidney stones and has diuretic properties, even if studies have not yet proven it.
After some research, the researchers; They found that men with low libido increased their sexual desire by 750% after taking 1500–79 mg of tribulus supplements daily for two months. Likewise, after studies on women with low libido; 67% of women saw a significant increase in their libido when they took 90-500mg of tribulus supplements for 1500 days. However, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of tribulus supplementation on libido and sexual desire.
We can summarize the benefits of Tribulus as follows;
- It helps prevent urinary problems.
- It can increase the frequency of erections.
- Increases sexual function.
- It regulates the energy level.
- It helps prevent skin problems.
- It helps to reduce muscle fatigue that may occur after intense training.
- It contributes to the strengthening of the immune system.
Dietary supplements containing Tribulus are on the agenda for their potential to raise testosterone levels, build muscle mass, and increase strength. At the same time, a report published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements in 2014 states that this effect of tribulus has not been fully proven and it is not possible to say anything definite yet. Based on an analysis of 11 previously published clinical studies, the authors determined that the testosterone-raising effect only occurs when tribulus is consumed through supplements containing a single ingredient combination. However, tribulus supplements are often sold in combination with other ingredients, which raises questions.
According to the results of a study conducted in 2016, tribulus supplementation; blood sugar, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol were significantly reduced compared to placebo. In this study, no significant effect was observed on triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels with tribulus supplementation.
Possible side effects of Tribulus
There are not enough studies on Tribulus yet. Therefore, it is not possible to talk about the side effects and benefits that may occur with long-term use of this plant. However, studies have shown that the use of tribulus supplements can cause an increase in heart rate and symptoms of restlessness.
One of the possible side effects of Tribulus may be to increase the weight of the prostate. People with benign prostatic hypertrophy or prostate cancer and similar complaints should stay away from this supplement.
Tribulus may also lower blood sugar levels. Therefore, diabetics should never use it without consulting their doctor. Taking Tribulus with diabetes medication can cause unpredictable drops in blood sugar and is dangerous.
Things to consider when using Tribulus
The average daily intake of Tribulus, or as it is known among the people, the iron thistle plant varies between 3 and 5 grams. Tribulus use varies according to brand and content. Various doses of tribulus have been used in studies investigating the health benefits of the plant. For example, for a study investigating erectile dysfunction, a dose of 250 mg three times a day for three months was chosen. However, many studies have included the tribulus herb in combination with other ingredients.
Due to the lack of research and safety, it's too soon to recommend tribulus for any health purpose. If you're still considering using it, check with your doctor first to see if it's right for you.
Tribulus Terrestris is often consumed in combination with other supplements. These combinations have not been tested for safety or benefit. It would be wrong to consume a supplement without thoroughly researching its content. If you want to use Tribulus, it would be best to contact a physician or dietitian for the safest and healthiest use.