Tribulus is a herbal supplement made from a plant called the puncture vine, bindii, or tribulus terrestris. Tribulus has been a part of traditional Chinese and Indian medicine for centuries, but it got into the news in Europe and America in the 1990s when some Eastern European Olympians were accused of it as a natural alternative to steroids.

The Tribulus Terrestis in the Wild

Tribulus has two popular uses to enhance sexual performance and athletic performance. It can also be used to speed up recovery from injuries, surgery, and infections.

Unlike some herbal supplements, there has been a lot of scientific research done into tribulus. Russian and Bulgarian scientists confirmed some of its effects in the 1990s, and more recently, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States has done research into it. The research has confirmed the traditional beliefs about tribulus and its effects.

How and Why Tribulus Works

The scientific research indicates that the active compounds in tribulus, the steroidial saponins, stimulate the release of a number of hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones include testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (or DHEA), and estrogen.

Increasing the levels of these hormones in the bloodstream can enhance some body functions, including muscle building, sexual performance, and the effectiveness of the immune system. This can lead to increased strength and vitality in some individuals. In other words, tribulus is basically a natural hormone that can effect both muscles and sexual performance.

What Dosage of Tribulus Work?

The scientific research indicates that you will need to take at least 50 milligrams of tribulus to have an effect on erectile dysfunction or impotence. Studies indicate that men who took just 10-20 milligrams of it showed no effect. One popular theory is that you will need to take around 30 milligrams of tribulus for each kilogram of your body weight for it to have an effect. Unfortunately, the studies done into this have been quite limited.

The standard dosage of 85-250 milligrams of tribulus, taken three times a day, should meet these needs for average people. Persons who regularly engage in strenuous exercise, such as weight training or hard physical labor, may benefit from taking higher dosages.

The studies also found that tribulus may not work as a weight loss product. The reason for this is that the supplement appears to build up muscle mass.

Who Should Not Take Tribulus

Because of its effect on hormones, there are some people who should not take tribulus, or at least consult a doctor before taking it.

Those individuals include:
• Pregnant women.

• Women who are trying to get pregnant.

• Persons who have been treated for breast or prostate cancer.

• Persons who being treated with hormone therapy for conditions such as cancer because it may interfere with hormones.

• Women using certain kinds of birth control pills because they are hormone-based.

When and How to Take Tribulus

The best way to take tribulus is to consume it in powdered or capsule form when you eat your meals. The reason for this is that the supplements, consumed with food, will be easier to digest. That means they will enter the blood stream faster and have a greater effect.

Another reason to take tribulus with food is that it is less likely to lead to an upset stomach. Some people will get upset stomachs when taking supplements. Persons with diarrhea and food allergies may become sick after taking tribulus.
It is best to take just one dose of tribulus at first to see how your body reacts to it. Tribulus is a potent supplement, and some people may have allergic reactions to it. Increases in breast size have been reported in both men and women who take tribulus.

Professional athletes should be careful with tribulus because some people taking it might test positive for steroids in popular drug tests. That can get you kicked out of some athletic leagues.

Tribulus is a potent supplement that should be used carefully. Even though it is a natural herb, tribulus can be powerful and have serious side effects.

Resources:

http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/supplements/supplement-guide-tribulus-terrestris
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17530942
http://altmedicine.about.com/od/herbsupplementguide/a/tribulus.htm
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-39-TRIBULUS.aspx?activeIngredientId=39&activeIngredientName=TRIBULUS

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