Tribulus Terrestris Benefits For Men

Tribulus terrestris, known more commonly as puncture vine, is a plant that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine systems. Extracts from the root and fruit have been utilized in Indian Ayurvedic practice and traditional Chinese medicine for a variety of potential health benefits.

Recently, tribulus terrestris supplements have become increasingly popular among men looking to enhance testosterone levels, libido, sexual performance, and muscle gain. The active compounds in tribulus are believed to be steroidal saponins and alkaloids.

Research suggests these may help stimulate sex hormone production and impact nitric oxide levels in the body. Multiple animal research studies have shown tribulus terrestris may increase mounting behavior and intromission latency, indicating improvements to libido and arousal. Other preliminary studies in humans show potential positive impacts on sperm quality, erectile dysfunction, reduced blood sugar levels, and blood pressure support.

While tribulus shows particular promise in benefitting men’s sexual health and performance, its effects on muscle gain, testosterone, and exercise performance have been debated. Some studies found increases in testosterone among infertile men, while others showed no difference in athletes.

Some of the areas of men’s health that may be positively impacted by tribulus terrestris include:

  • Testosterone
  • Libido and sexual function
  • Muscle building and athletic performance
  • Blood Sugar, blood pressure and inflammation in the body

This article will summarize current research regarding the potential benefits of tribulus terrestris supplementation specifically for men’s health concerns and physical performance.

Effects on Testosterone

The impact of tribulus terrestris on testosterone levels has been widely studied, though the research findings are mixed. Some studies have found tribulus supplementation results in significant testosterone increases in men, while others showed no difference compared to a placebo.

A few studies have shown tribulus may help boost testosterone production in cases of infertility or erectile dysfunction. A study in India found tribulus extract for 3 months improved testosterone levels by 41% in men with low baseline counts. However, research has not shown clear testosterone benefits for young, healthy men with normal hormone levels.

A 2016 double-blind study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements evaluated the effects in resistance-trained men. 58 participants took either 3.2 grams per day of tribulus extract or a placebo for 8 weeks alongside a weight training program. At the end of the trial, there were no differences in testosterone levels or strength gains between groups. This suggests tribulus is not effective for enhancing testosterone or performance in athletes.

While tribulus shows potential testosterone benefits for infertile men, current research does not support significant increases in healthy men with normal hormone levels. Further study is needed, but athletes like bodybuilders looking for dramatic testosterone or strength enhancements will likely be disappointed with tribulus supplementation. However, some libido-enhancing effects have been demonstrated at lower doses.

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Muscle Building and Athletic Performance

In addition to the possible benefits for testosterone levels, some initial research indicated tribulus terrestris may enhance body composition and athletic performance. This led to widespread use to support muscle gains and strength in athletes. However, more recent controlled studies have not found clear performance-enhancing effects.

Most studies showing muscle-related benefits used animal models rather than human participants. Research in rats, rabbits, and primates link tribulus supplementation to increased lean muscle mass, reduced fat, and improved performance metrics like endurance.

The few human studies that exist show little to no impact on muscle strength or growth over a placebo. A 2015 double-blind study had 22 weight-trained males take 750mg tribulus extract or placebo daily while following a lower body workout program. After 8 weeks, there were no differences between groups in muscle thickness or maximal strength.

While animal research remains promising, human trials to date have not confirmed any significant ergogenic benefits from tribulus related to building muscle or power. Further research may reveal specific benefits that support athletic training rather than provide direct performance enhancement.

At this time, athletes looking solely for significant gains in strength or body composition are unlikely to see dramatic results from tribulus supplementation alone.

Impacts on Libido and Sexual Function

In contrast to the questionable effects on muscle gain and testosterone, tribulus terrestris shows more consistent benefits for libido and sexual function in men.

Several studies have found supplements led to improved scores on questionnaires about sexual health including desire and satisfaction. A 2015 randomized double-blind study published in Andrologia gave 245 mg tribulus extract daily to men with erectile dysfunction. After 3 months, 58% of those treated had improved erection capability compared to only 24% on placebo.

There is also research indicating potential sperm quality improvements. One study in Iraq gave infertile men 250mg tribulus per day and saw significant increases in sperm count and motility over 90 days. These benefits may result from increased testosterone as well as direct impacts on sexual response beyond just testosterone levels.

The aphrodisiac effects are likely due to compounds like protodioscin that act as precursors to dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and subsequently activate nitric oxide release. This influences blood flow and nerve response critical for arousal and erections. The dose-dependent benefits for sexual function are consistently shown in doses from 200 to 1000mg.

Overall, tribulus terrestris shows highly promising effects for improving libido, sexual satisfaction, and erectile function in doses commonly found in supplements. For men struggling with sexual dysfunction, it appears to safely improve performance and enjoyment independent of dramatic hormone changes.

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Blood Sugar, Blood Pressure, and Inflammation

In addition to the benefits for sexual health and hormone regulation, early research suggests tribulus terrestris may offer several other advantages. However, more studies are still needed for confirmation.

Some evidence indicates tribulus may help support healthy blood pressure levels. Animal studies have shown it acts as a mild diuretic to reduce fluid retention while also dilating blood vessels. A small human study in 2014 found those with hypertension saw a average decreases of 14 mm/Hg in systolic blood pressure and 9 mm/Hg in diastolic blood pressure after taking 250mg tribulus for 3 months.

Tribulus also shows potential to support blood sugar regulation and reduce oxidative inflammation contributing to chronic disease. Mice studies link supplementation with lower blood sugar levels and reduced inflammatory markers. More research is underway given the high rates of metabolic syndrome and diabetes across the globe.

While large robust human trials are still lacking, the preliminary data on effects for blood pressure, blood sugar, inflammation, and general heart health measures are promising. As further results emerge in coming years, tribulus may prove beneficial for supporting overall wellness in men beyond sexual enhancement.

Safety and Side Effects

Tribulus terrestris is widely considered safe for healthy adults in the typically recommended doses. Most clinical studies have found side effects are mild and infrequent, especially over short-term supplementation periods. However, there are some important safety considerations.

Reported side effects include mild stomach discomfort, nausea, headaches, and insomnia. Rarely, there have been cases of painful urination or changes to the menstrual cycle reported. It is generally not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding due to lack of safety research.

There are also some theoretical risks around kidney health as tribulus may increase urination similar to diuretics. Those with a history of kidney stones or disease should exercise caution, stay well hydrated, and consult their doctor when using tribulus supplements.

In a few isolated cases, uncontrolled and high-dose tribulus supplementation has been linked to liver damage or toxicity. This only occurred with extremely high doses well above recommended limits or use for extended periods of 6 months or longer. Cycling tribulus rather than using it year-round can help prevent any risk.

In summary, research supports tribulus as safe for healthy men at doses from 250 to 1500 mg per day. Sticking to the recommended dosing guidelines, short supplement cycles, and monitoring for any digestive or urinary side effects allows enhancing benefits while minimizing adverse reactions. Those on other medications or with underlying health conditions should consult a doctor before use as well.


Tribulus terrestris shows promising benefits for men’s health, especially regarding sexual function and satisfaction. Supplements may help support libido, erection quality, arousal, and sperm parameters in doses from 200 to 1000mg without significant side effects. These sexual enhancement benefits result from increased nitric oxide and androgen precursors.
However, tribulus does not appear to significantly increase muscle mass or strength in athletes beyond a placebo effect. While animal studies are positive, human data does not confirm performance-enhancing effects. Much more research is needed before recommending tribulus specifically for increased testosterone, power, or body composition.
Emerging areas like blood pressure regulation require further study but suggest tribulus may offer other advantages. As the safety record is strong in recommended doses, men may consider trying short-term tribulus supplementation to improve sexual health. Those on medications or with pre-existing conditions should first consult their physician before using tribulus extracts.
In conclusion, tribulus terrestris is a promising traditional medicine for supporting male sexual function but requires more research on uses for hormone regulation, strength athletes, and overall wellness enhancement. Speak to a doctor to evaluate if tribulus aligns with your personal health goals.

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