I’ve been asked a few times by readers about a particular ‘testosterone booster’.
They’ll say, “Does Tribulus work?“, “What’s the best tribulus supplement?“, “Are there any side effects of tribulus?“.
In order to find out we need to turn away from the manufacturer’s claims and turn to any available research.
Here’s some of the claims:
- Increased Testosterone
- More Lean Mass
- Less Body Fat
- Therefore an improved Body Composition
Wow Wee! Just let me grab my wallet real quick!
There are other claims, but I’m looking at it from the perspective of a Muscle Hacker only.
So what do the studies say about its effects? Let’s take a look at 2 studies I have found that have relevance for us…
Study Title: “The effect of five weeks of Tribulus terrestris supplementation on muscle strength and body composition during preseason training in elite rugby league players.” Rogerson S, Riches CJ, Jennings C, Weatherby RP, Meir RA, Marshall-Gradisnik SM. J Strength Cond Res. 2007 May;21(2):348-53. (link)
They studied the effect of tribulus terrestris on strength and fat free mass over 5 weeks of preseason training in elite rugby league players.
22 Australian elite male rugby league players were match-paired and randomly assigned in a double-blind manner to either a tribulus terrestris or placebo group. All subjects performed structured heavy resistance training as part of the club’s preseason preparations. They were given 450mg of T.T. daily.
After 5 weeks of training, strength and fat free mass increased significantly without any between-group differences. So the addition of Tribulus terrestris didn’t do anything above what training alone can do.
The researchers concluded…”It was concluded that T. terrestris did not produce the large gains in strength or lean muscle mass that many manufacturers claim can be experienced within 5-28 days.”
Let’s hammer the point home. Here’s another one…
Study Title: “The effects of Tribulus terrestris on body composition and exercise performance in resistance-trained males.”
Antonio J, Uelmen J, Rodriguez R, Earnest C. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2000 Jun;10(2):208-15. (link)
They wanted to studyTribulus terrestris’ effects on body composition and exercise performance in resistance-trained males. Fifteen subjects were randomly assigned to a placebo or tribulus (3.21 mg per kg body weight daily) group.
After 8 weeks they found that there were no changes in body weight, body fat percentage, total body water, dietary intake, or mood states in either group.
Actually, muscle endurance (measured by the max. no. of repetitions at 100-200% of body weight) increased for the bench and leg press exercises in the PLACEBO group! I thought that was pretty cool. 🙂
The researchers concluded, “Supplementation with tribulus does not enhance body composition or exercise performance in resistance-trained males.” It sure doesn’t.
So to answer your questions…
Does tribulus work? Nope.
What’s the best tribulus supplement? There aren’t any.
Are there any side effects? Considering that there aren’t any EFFECTS period, I wouldn’t be overly concerned about SIDE effects. 😉
If you’re interested, these are the bodybuilding supplements I DO recommend. And I reveal what I believe to be the best whey protein supplements here.
Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. As always, I appreciate it!
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another bites the dust
Mark, thanks for this article. Having tried Tribulus in the past myself and not really feeling or noticing any change, I wondered if I was a metabolic anomaly. I will have to do a medline search for the same type of study based on Yohimbe. I did a few cycles of it and definitely found it had noticeable effects. Too bad they included tachycardia.
San Diego, CA
Did you realize that an add for Force Factor by GNC is at the bottom of this post?
Is this something you endorse or is it tacked to your blog by your service provider?
Take a look at the roidhead they have for a body model. EEK!
Thanks for the heads up MARK. I doing a great job in making people aware of the dusts.
Why do you close the comments on your articles so soon or even at all? I was wondering if there was a difference in Arginine akg and L-Arginine. Like you, I try to keep my supplements narrowed down to the ones that are less hype and more results.
THAT’S hilarious ! Everybody wants a shortcut !!! How about some good old fashion hard work !!! And like Mark says … just keep the supplementation to the simple basics !!! At-a-go Mark !
@Tommy. Automatically generated by Google. Also depends on where you are geographically and your browsing history. I’m getting an ad for omega 3 supplementation.
@Dustin. I have to close them, man. I’ve got hundreds of articles going now. I’d be spending much too much time moderating comments if I left them all open.
AAKG is L-Arginine combined with Alpha-Ketoglutarate. The AKG helps with absorption of the L-Arginine
Never tried Tribulus before, however, after those data in your research I won’t be wasting my money. Keep up the good work Mark.
Mark, thanks for cutting to chase. I love the approach you take to all the supplements out there. I especially liked your article on NO2. I shared your NO2 analysis with a Dr friend who agreed completely with you that AAKG and caffeine are the only two ingredients of any real value for muscle growth.
FYI, I’ve lifted for years and switched to your HIT program and MANS diet 6 months ago. I’ve added 0.6 in to my arms and cut 1.5in from my waist…by far my best 6 month gains (and losses) ever. Thanks again
Another outstanding article, Mark! I was never really considering trying it but at least there’s less time to be wasted now!
As always, your efforts are much appreciated.
@josh Your Dr friend said caffeine helped muscle growth?
It amazes me how many herbal products come out claiming to do certain things, when tests are down, then shown it doesn’t increase like it claims….it still remains on the market. How can this be?
I took 5 Grams Per day for 6 Weeks (yup, thats 5 times as much as their is in any product), and If anything my sex drive went down! lol,
Do NOT waste your money on this stuff
I have had really good effects of supplementing Tribulus in the past but have noticed that I have real good feeling and alot more aggression at the gym and have had friends who had same effect. I have tried small amounts and doses suggested on botle but found you have to take a certain amount to notice a major difference and it does seem to make me look leaner. Also I have tried different brands etc and they vary alot. The one I used to use from myprotein was awsome and I was an animal in the gym but I had to have more than suggested dose. Its also works for your sex life too lol!
Hey Mark, I havent received your last to post to my email address. I had to go to archives to read it. help a brother out.Mike in Wisconsin.
how old were the rugby players? were the placebo players young enough to be producing a ton of tesosterone on their own without trib so thats why the tests dont show anything? have any results on tests taken by people over 40 maybe?
your a legend you say it how it is i take my hat off to you.
you make a lot of sense.
Traine hard eat well and rest well.
I have wasted a lot of money over the years on supplements that deliverd nothing but bullshit and a lighter wallet.
Cheers mate your mate JIM from down under.
Not all tribulas is the same! It all depends on your source and hows its processed, I have had great success with New Zealand based products e.g [brand names removed by admin] (greater sex drive, mass gains, strength) its great stuff and everyone I train with seems to have good results with it too.
In saying that though I have purchased several off shore brands to save some $ that done absolutley nothing.
I have tried Tribulus and had a blood test for my test levels as i have a low test level-my score came back at 10.3,i was taking it as per the manufacturers instructions and eating clean.
so i can confirm that Tribulus does absolutely nothing