The Tribulus terrestris plant has its name related to the increase in libido, as it is considered a sexual stimulant , mainly favoring the production of testosterone.
From these benefits, other supposed effects have emerged, such as increased muscle mass, weight loss and blood pressure control . But after all, is this herb really effective for all these health issues?
Thinking of clarifying what the plant is for, we spoke with nutritionist Leone Gonçalves. “Some of the supposed benefits of using Tribulus terrestris have not yet been proven by science”, points out the specialist in orthomolecular medicine.
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What is Tribulus terrestris and what is it for?
Also called Puncture Vine, it is a weed . According to Gonçalves, it is found in different parts of the world, mainly in hot regions.
Tribulus has been used as a sexual stimulant for many years. Only recently has it come to be seen as a supplement that improves performance during exercise.
Increase in libido
“What the most recent studies indicate as true are the benefits in terms of increased fertility , libido and being a sexual stimulant”, explains the nutritionist.
Also according to the professional, these benefits are the result of the vasodilator effect that the plant has. This means that it can increase the size of blood vessels, allowing blood to pass through the entire body more easily and fluidly.
In practice, increased blood flow can favor and promote longer lasting erections , improving sexual performance.
Lowers blood pressure
“Furthermore, studies carried out in recent years have also confirmed that it works to reduce blood pressure and control triglycerides in the bloodstream,” says Gonçalves.
In animal studies, the weed has shown antihypertensive action . And this benefit of Puncture Vine is another consequence of vasodilation .
Tribulus terrestris engorda?
The supplement does not make you fat , but it does not lose weight either . In fact, the nutritionist explains that this subject is still quite controversial in science and for this reason there is still no verdict.
Gonçalves emphasizes that most research carried out on humans has not found that the herbal medicine can actually contribute to weight loss.
“However, there are studies that show that Tribulus terrestris has a diuretic action, which helps to reduce swelling and reduce measures ”, he adds.
For those who don’t know, diuretics , through increased urinary flow, increase the elimination of fluids and toxins retained by the body. With that, there is the feeling of losing weight.
But, of course, you cannot completely rely on a single weight-loss method. For those who want to be at peace with the scale, it is necessary to change eating habits and start exercising.
Does it promote muscle mass gain?
Another big speculation about this supplement is its contribution to better physical performance. Also justified by the vasodilating action, this activity would result from the release of nitric oxide.
In practice, this substance widens the blood vessels and allows the blood to follow its course without major problems. Consequently, the process increases muscle mass gain and accelerates the recovery of muscles that are injured during training.
However, the oxide does not work alone. According to Leone Gonçalves, if it is “proved that Tribulus terrestris favors the natural production of testosterone , it can somehow be said that it favors muscle mass gain, as this is one of the effects of increasing testosterone in the body.”
The professional also remembers that with the increase in muscle mass, there is also an acceleration of metabolism and an increase in the burning of body fat.
Despite this, all these benefits are still not concrete for scholars. In fact, more research is needed for the activities described to be proven in humans.
“Only the studies carried out in animals observed a slight gain in muscle mass”, he says.
How to take Tribulus in capsules?
“The daily intake reaches three capsules a day , being recommended by experts to ingest each of the three doses of Tribulus during the main meals”, advises the nutritionist.
However, the products based on this plant face major problems with the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA).
According to the specialist in orthomolecular medicine, since 2016 the agency has already seized several products marketed as herbal medicines based on Tribulus terrestris.
Therefore, it is important to be aware of the medicine package insert and the information contained in these products. Thus, the use of inappropriate medications is avoided.
What is Tribulus terrestris and Peruvian maca for?
“Combining Peruvian maca with Tribulus terrestris would be a way to enhance the effects of both . However, as the root must only be processed in Peru, it only comes to Brazil in powder form”, says Leone Gonçalves.
For those who don’t know, Peruvian maca is a root native to the Andes Mountains region. As it is an Andean product, there is a national law that prohibits its production outside Peru.
Even so, we can find the powder of this root throughout Brazil. In compounding pharmacies, the combination with Tribulus is possible, but with the guidance of a health professional.
“Studies show that Peruvian maca can increase libido , in men it protects against harmful factors to fertility and in women, it helps to avoid problems during pregnancy”, cites the nutritionist.
In addition, the root helps balance the hormones testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. This benefit is even welcomed by scholars who believe in the effects of maca during menopause, when women’s estrogen levels plummet.
Can you make some tea?
The nutritionist does not recommend the use of this plant in natura form for the preparation of tea. Therefore, Tribulus terrestris should only be used as an extract or capsule.
Side effects and contraindications
As can be seen, research on Tribulus terrestris is still not so conclusive, especially in female patients. A study carried out with 30 women showed side effects.
Diarrhea, nervousness, dizziness and nausea are some of the signs reported by the participants. However, the use done correctly and with professional supervision can avoid these setbacks.
For this reason, the nutritionist warns that the consumption of this natural product is done only with medical advice. Also, it shouldn’t be used by everyone.
“Among those who should avoid using it are people who are being treated for any type of cancer , women diagnosed with adrenal alterations, clitoris hypertrophy and androgyny syndromes”, highlights Gonçalves.
The nutritionist also cites people who have hair loss and oily skin as those who should not consume. “It is also not recommended for pregnant women, nursing mothers and children, ” he concludes.
My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .
I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.