Ranking the best tribulus terrestris supplements of 2020

Ranking the best tribulus terrestris supplements of 2020
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Tribulus terrestris is an herbal extract from a plant by the same name that’s used to boost testosterone, virility, and vigor in men. It has a long history of use as a virility-inducing herb in Ayurvedic practices in India, but there is also quite a bit of modern scientific research into its use.

It’s popular for boosting testosterone levels, but the strongest evidence points to it being useful as a supplement for increasing libido and treating erectile dysfunction.

If you want to feel younger and more virile, or fend off sexual dysfunction tribulus terrestris might be just what you’re looking for. We’ve ranked the ten best tribulus terrestris supplements that you can buy.

Rankings

1. NOW Sports Tribulus

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Powerful, clean, and designed for everyone—that’s the philosophy behind NOW Sports Tribulus. These 1000 mg capsules of tribulus terrestris are standardized to include 45% active ingredients by weight, and have only a few binders and fillers beyond the vegetable-derived cellulose that’s necessary to keep the capsule together.

If you are a man who wants a high dose of tribulus terrestris in the best quality product possible, this should be your number one pick.

2. Nutricost Tribulus

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Nutricost Tribulus is a simple, straightforward, and effective tribulus terrestris supplement. If you don’t need an unusual dosage or any additional ingredients, and just want a reliable source of tribulus terrestris extract, it’s a very solid choice.

Each capsule has 750 mg of tribulus terrestris, standardized to a 40% concentration of active compounds. This is contained in a gelatin capsule, and beyond this, there are zero additional ingredients.

3. Sports Food Tribulus Terrestris

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Sports Food makes a higher than average dosage tribulus terrestris supplement; its gelatin capsules deliver 1000 mg of tribulus terrestris each, making it a good choice for higher dosage applications.

The supplement design is pretty clean, though there are a couple of fillers in the capsule (just magnesium stearate and maltodextrin).

4. We Are Fit Pro Test Boost

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We Are Fit Pro Test Boost is the best all-around testosterone booster that uses tribulus terrestris in a central role. It includes many of the supplements you’d find in a typical testosterone booster, like saw palmetto and longjack, but you’ll find a respectable 250 mg of tribulus terrestris extract in each capsule too.

Granted, this is lower than what you’ll find in a dedicated tribulus terrestris supplement, but the tradeoff is that you may get the sexual health benefits of tribulus terrestris and the testosterone boosting effects of the remaining ingredients.

If you want an all-around solution for male health that also includes tribulus terrestris, this is the best choice. It can help you get the sexual health benefits of tribulus terrestris and the benefits of higher testosterone.

5. Nutra Rise Extreme Tribulus

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Nutra Rise Extreme Tribulus is a lower dose tribulus terrestris supplement, with only 650 mg of the herbal extract per capsule.

Notably, it does have the advantage of using cellulose instead of gelatin for its capsule, so strict vegetarians and vegans should take note.

The design is very clean; aside from tribulus terrestris and cellulose, there are zero additional ingredients, so it could be a good solution if you know you don’t need a very high dosage.

6. Prime Labs Tribulus

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Prime Labs Tribulus is another lower dose tribulus terrestris extract, with 650 mg per capsule and no additional ingredients.

This, too, is a cellulose-based capsule, and it has no additional ingredients, so while the dosage is lower than the average, at least there aren’t any unnecessary ingredients.

7. BRI Nutrition Tribulus Extra Strength

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BRI Nutrition’s tribulus terrestris product delivers a pretty standard 750 mg per capsule, despite its “extra strength” claims.

The bottle does contain twice the usual amount of capsules, though, as the recommended dose is two caps instead of one. There isn’t much to this supplement aside from the gelatin capsule and the tribulus terrestris, so it’s a decent choice.

8. Optimum Nutrition Tribulus

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Optimum Nutrition is a little different from the rest of the competition because it uses tribulus terrestris from two different parts of the plant as a source for its extract.

The company claims this is more effective, though if you are a stickler about following the protocol in scientific research, Optimum Nutrition makes this difficult because their proprietary blend isn’t the same as what’s used in research studies. The dosage is somewhat lower, too, at only 625 mg of tribulus terrestris per capsule.

9. Zhou Boost Elite

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Zhou Boost Elite is one of a number of supplements for boosting testosterone and virility that include tribulus terrestris as one of its core ingredients.

Unfortunately, the tribulus terrestris dosage per capsule is fairly low—a necessary consequence of the large number of other active ingredients. It’s a good overall male supplement, but other supplements offer a lot more tribulus terrestris.

10. Ultimate Nutrition Bulgarian Tribulus Terrestris

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Ultimate Nutrition offers a pretty standard 750 mg dosage of tribulus terrestris, but it doesn’t distinguish itself in any particular way from the competition.

It has a few more ingredients than many competitors, and it isn’t certified by any third parties for purity. While it’s not a bad choice, per se, it’s slightly out-classed by other tribulus terrestris supplements out there.

Who Should Buy Tribulus Terrestris?

Despite being marketed as a testosterone booster, Tribulus terrestris is much more effective as a libido enhancer. It is safe for most of the population if you stay within the recommended dose range. Since it may affect blood sugar levels, diabetes should be cautious about taking it. Pregnant and nursing women should also avoid it as it may harm fetal development. 

If you are going to undergo surgery, it’s best to avoid Tribulus for at least 2 weeks prior to the surgery date as it may affect blood pressure and sugar during surgery. You should never eat the fruit of Tribulus as it has been linked to serious lung problems. 

People taking any prescription medications should talk to their doctor before taking Tribulus, as it does interact with certain medications. 

How We Ranked

One of the most important aspects of a Tribulus terrestris supplement is the potency. Based on our research, products that had standardized to contain 40-45% saponins were considered the best. This is why Now Sports and Nutricost ranked so high on our list.

Dosage was also important to consider. Ideally, we wanted products between 500mg and 1500mg per serving. We preferred the higher end in most cases that the Tribulus contains less than 40% standardized saponins to make up for the potency. Sports Food excelled here, providing 1000mg per serving. We did make an exception for We Are Fit Pro TestBoost because it included other supporting ingredients such as saw palmetto and long jack.

Lastly, we looked at the origin of the Tribulus in each supplement. According to research, Tribulus derived from Bulgaria is the only proven effective version of the plant (there are over 20 varieties). However, many supplements provided Tribulus from countries like India and China, where the varieties are different and often contain a lower concentration of saponins. This is why it’s imperative to have a concentration of 40% or more, as this indicates both the quality and the likely origin of the plant. 

Benefits

Tribulus terrestris is not a strong testosterone booster. Early animal studies, plus its use in Ayurveda as a libido-booster, suggested that tribulus terrestris might have testosterone boosting effects.

Scientific research to date has found that these claims don’t hold up. One study, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, tested two different doses of tribulus terrestris in a group of young men (1).

The doses were based on body weight, so heavier subjects got higher doses, but although the researchers followed the subjects for four weeks, they did not detect any differences in testosterone levels when comparing the subjects who took tribulus terrestris to the subjects who took a placebo.

The primary benefits of tribulus terrestris are for sexual health, not athletic performance. The same absence of an effect was found in a study on physical performance and body composition (2).

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Nebraska, tested whether a tribulus terrestris supplement would improve weight lifting ability or lead to an increase in lean body mass among athletically trained men.

These are the types of effects you’d see from a supplement that increases testosterone levels, since higher testosterone leads to improved strength and increases in lean body mass (plus a thermogenic, fat-burning effect). Unfortunately, the researchers found that tribulus terrestris had neither of these effects.

Granted, both studies had small sample sizes. It’s possible a small testosterone boosting effect does exist, but these studies were too small to detect it.

Still, the most plausible explanation based on current evidence is that whatever benefits that tribulus terrestris offers can’t be due to an increase in testosterone levels.

Tribulus terrestris may improve erectile dysfunction. The evidence for tribulus terrestris is more promising when it comes to sexual health. Animal studies, in which researchers artificially induced erectile dysfunction in animal models, show a promising effect for tribulus terrestris.

A study published in the journal Phytomedicine in 2008 presented results from experiments in rats, rabbits, and primates (3). Across a range of experiments, the researchers showed administering tribulus terrestris led to measurable improvements in artificially induced erectile dysfunction.

Research presented at a scientific conference on erectile dysfunction in 1997 described a clinical trial in humans that showed promising results (4).

In it, a three week course of tribulus terrestris, taken at a dosage of 750 mg (split into three equal daily doses) was effective at increasing blood levels of DHEA, a testosterone precursor, and more importantly, decreased sexual dysfunction by 60%.

These initial results are from a small study, but still suggest that tribulus terrestris could play a role in improving erectile dysfunction in men.

Tribulus terrestris could increase libido in women. Interestingly, further evidence that tribulus terrestris works through a non-testosterone related pathway comes from scientific evidence suggesting that tribulus terrestris helps boost libido in women, not just in men.

A study published in 2014 in the DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences applied a double-blind, placebo-controlled design to an experiment on the effects of tribulus terrestris on women who reported low libido (5). The study involved 60 women who were randomly assigned to either the tribulus terrestris group or a placebo group.

All of the women completed regular surveys on their level of sexual function and satisfaction. The researchers found significant improvements in the tribulus terrestris group compared to the placebo group. The real mystery here is what the mechanism of action is for tribulus terrestris.

The testosterone-boosting hypothesis doesn’t seem to hold up, but yet the supplement still appears to have substantial benefits for several different conditions. Clearly, more research is needed to uncover the biological pathways that tribulus terrestris acts upon in the body.

Side effects

The limited number of human trials makes it difficult to assess the prevalence of side effects in great detail, but research so far offers some guidance.

Tribulus terrestris appears fairly safe given the rarity of side effects observed to date; one study mentioned that one subject had abdominal cramps that were possibly a result of the tribulus terrestris supplement.

Some animal studies have found that consuming large quantities of raw tribulus terrestris (e.g. in sheep who graze on the plant on a regular basis for months at a time) can result in staggers and nerve damage (5).

These toxic effects seem unlikely to appear at the far lower dosages used in supplements, however: grazing cattle consume many orders of magnitude more raw herbal material than a person taking a supplement would.

Recommended dose

Clinical literature varies widely when it comes to the optimal dose for tribulus terrestris supplementation. Some studies use fairly low doses, others use fairly large doses, and many standardize dose based on body mass.

This final category is perhaps the most reliable; typical dosages range from 10 to 20 mg of tribulus terrestris extract per kilogram of body mass per day. This certainly looks like a good place to start for dosing.

For a 75 kg man this would be 750-1500 mg of tribulus terrestris per day, which is easily achievable with the dosage levels available in over the counter supplements.

Research-grade tribulus terrestris is typically standardized to contain 40-45% saponins, the compounds thought to be responsible for at least some of the biological activity of tribulus terrestris. It makes sense to shoot for this in a commercial supplement, too.

FAQ

Is Tribulus terrestris a good libido booster? Tribulus terrestris is widely promoted as an herbal remedy to boost testosterone and improve sexual health. Although it’s typically marketed as an aid to this first goal (boosting testosterone), the scientific research actually indicate that the strengths of tribulus terrestris lie more in its ability to promote sexual health, and further evidence exists that these benefits may extend to overall well-being and protection against chronic disease.

What is Tribulus terrestris? Tribulus terrestris is a flowering plant that grows in many parts of Asia and Europe. It has spiky fruits that have earned it the nickname “puncturevine,” and it is also known as Gokshura, or “goat’s head.” It also has yellow flowers, but its leaves are its most potent and vital part. The leaves can be used fresh or dried in herbal medicine, as can the extract from the fruit.

Why should I take Tribulus terrestris every day? Tribulus terrestris has been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine for thousands of years, but its full benefits are still under investigation. Tribulus terrestris may boost libido in men and women, especially men with previously low sex drives. Higher doses of around 1,500 mg per day may also be able to treat erectile dysfunction (6).

Tribulus terrestris may also be able to boost male fertility and healthy sperm counts in humans and animals (7). Tribulus terrestris is still being researched as testosterone-boosting and muscle-building aid, but it has strong potential in animals. It may be effective when combined with other fitness supplements and nutraceuticals. However, it has yet to be researched as a fitness aid in women in particular.

Does Tribulus terrestris affect blood sugar? Tribulus terrestris may lower blood sugar and cholesterol. One study in women with type 2 diabetes showed significantly lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels after three months (8). Animal studies have shown similar results, with the added benefit of possibly protecting against blood vessel damage (9).

Is Tribulus terrestris anti-inflammatory? Tribulus terrestris is also being investigated as an anti-inflammatory. Although current research is limited to mice, it shows some potential in suppressing cytokines and nitric oxide that can cause inflammation (10). Until this benefit is verified, it should not be used by humans as an anti-inflammatory.

Tribulus terrestris has also shown anticancer activities in limited lab studies, but this has not yet been attempted in humans. Again, patients should not attempt to treat cancer with Tribulus terrestris until more research can be done into potential harmful effects on cancer patients.

How does Tribulus terrestris work? Tribulus terrestris contains chemicals called saponins, some of which are steroidal in nature. Although it is still being investigated in humans, research so far indicates these saponins increase androgen production in rats (11). 

Androgen is a type of hormone that plays a role in various sex traits, especially male reproduction. Testosterone is the most important androgen, but many other types influence fertility, sex drive, and other aspects of the reproductive system, as well as the rest of the body.

Does Tribulus terrestris relieve pain? Tribulus terrestris has been shown to reduce pain in one study of rats (12). However, no human studies have been done yet. Individuals who experience pain during sex or workouts should consult with a doctor or take an over-the-counter pain reliever as needed.

What forms of Tribulus terrestris are available? Tribulus terrestris is typically taken in pill form but may be incorporated into powdered fitness supplements. It may be available in pills up to 1,500 mg, but some supplements contain as little as 150 mg. Powders containing Tribulus terrestris may be somewhat bitter but can be mixed with coffee or smoothies to mask the taste.

Do not attempt to ingest the raw fruit of Tribulus terrestris, as it is most likely toxic.

Can I grow Tribulus terrestris at home? Although Tribulus terrestris is a hardy plant that can grow in many climates, it is also considered an invasive species in some areas, and its spiny fruits are sharp enough to cause injury or damage (13). Additionally, home-grown Tribulus terrestris is challenging to process into a form that is safe and effective for human consumption. 

Is Tribulus terrestris a steroid? While Tribulus terrestris contains compounds that are known to have steroid effects, it is not considered a banned substance by athletic associations, and it is not known to cause aggression.

Is Tribulus terrestris safe? Generally, Tribulus terrestris is safe when taken as directed. It is available without a prescription and is not known to be a common allergen.

Are there any side effects of Tribulus terrestris? Low blood sugar and low blood pressure are two of the most common side effects of Tribulus terrestris, as these are also direct, intentional effects of the plant. Other uncommon side effects include upset stomach and cramps. Since Tribulus terrestris also has diuretic properties, users may experience dehydration if they do not consume enough water (14).

How much Tribulus terrestris should I take? Most users can take up to 2,000 mg of Tribulus terrestris per day, spread out over three doses. Studies have also investigated smaller doses, including doses as low as 750 mg for men with low sex drives (15). However, other studies have shown that 800 mg doses may be too low for effectively treating erectile dysfunction (16).

Patients suffering from a specific medical condition should talk to a doctor about the ideal dose for their unique situation. Taking too much may cause an increase in side effects, especially in smaller-framed individuals.

When should I take Tribulus terrestris? The best time to take Tribulus terrestris has not been thoroughly established. Most manufacturers recommend taking doses 1-3 times per day. Some people might need to avoid taking high doses (over 700 mg) at one time, as the body may not be able to digest them efficiently.

Can Tribulus terrestris interact with medications? Tribulus terrestris may interact with other medications, including lithium and diabetes medications. When starting new medications or Tribulus terrestris supplements, patients should make sure to talk to their doctor about potential interactions.

Can I continue taking other supplements while taking Tribulus terrestris? Generally, Tribulus terrestris is safe to take with other supplements for nutrition and wellness. Many fitness supplements blend Tribulus terrestris with ginger, Vitamins B5 and B6, maca root, and other popular ingredients to boost sex drive or testosterone.

However, certain supplements, such as melatonin and CBD, may cause low blood pressure, and this can be exacerbated by Tribulus terrestris. Users should watch for dizziness or other symptoms and stop taking supplements if symptoms occur.

Can I drink alcohol and caffeine while taking Tribulus terrestris? Tribulus terrestris is not known to interact with alcohol and caffeine. However, alcohol can cause dizziness, which can be dangerous if you are taking Tribulus terrestris to reduce blood pressure.

Since alcohol and caffeine are both diuretics, users must also be careful to avoid dehydration. Users should drink one non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic beverage for every alcoholic or caffeinated beverage they consume.

Can you overdose on Tribulus terrestris? Although there are no known fatal doses of Tribulus terrestris, very high doses may potentially cause kidney damage or toxicity.

Are some Tribulus terrestris products stronger than others? Some products may contain a higher ratio of Tribulus terrestris saponins, making them stronger than competitors. If a product does not list its saponin percentage, it may not provide a reliable dose and may not have the desired effect. Most products are composed of 40-60% saponins, and dosage recommendations are based on this percentage.

Many products contain some kind of filler, but users should try to buy products with labels that clearly detail any fillers and their purpose are. It’s normal for powders to contain some preservatives and anti-caking agents, but the manufacturer should disclose these.

Can women take Tribulus terrestris? Despite its popularity as an ingredient in testosterone boosters, Tribulus terrestris has not been shown to cause excessive increases in testosterone in women (17). Like with any supplement, pregnant and nursing women need to consult with a doctor before taking it, as it has not been shown definitively to be safe for these groups.

Should patients with diabetes try Tribulus terrestris? Although Tribulus terrestris can be beneficial for patients with diabetes, its usage should be carefully monitored by a doctor. Do not begin or modify doses of Tribulus terrestris without approval from your primary healthcare professional – especially if you are taking any sort of prescription mediation.

How long should I take Tribulus terrestris? Most studies of Tribulus terrestris monitor patients over the course of 60-90 days. You may need to take Tribulus terrestris for a few weeks before noticeable improvements occur. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that long-term use as directed may be harmful in healthy individuals.

Can minors take Tribulus terrestris? Like with other herbal supplements, Tribulus terrestris may be safe for minors, but more research is necessary to determine its effects on young bodies. This is partly because puberty already has fluctuations in androgens and other hormones. Minors should only consume Tribulus terrestris under a doctor’s supervision.

Can seniors take Tribulus terrestris? Like with other high-risk groups, seniors over 55 should consult with a doctor before taking Tribulus terrestris. However, because of its cholesterol-lowering effects, Tribulus terrestris may be highly beneficial to seniors. 

Can I use Tribulus terrestris to treat heart disease or other conditions? Although Tribulus terrestris can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, it should not be used exclusively to treat heart conditions. Patients should talk with a doctor about possibly taking Tribulus terrestris in conjunction with a healthy diet and other medication.

Can Tribulus terrestris help with weight loss? There is no research to suggest that Tribulus terrestris can directly help with weight loss or body composition. However, it may encourage exercise by increasing testosterone levels.

Can Tribulus terrestris products expire? Like most supplements, Tribulus terrestris pills and powders begin to lose their potency over a very long period. However, this loss of potency typically does not begin while the bag or package is sealed. Many manufacturers list an expiration or use-by date, but if they do not, dispose of the product six months after it is opened.

Where can I buy Tribulus terrestris? Tribulus terrestris is available at many brick-and-mortar nutrition specialty stores but is more commonly available online. Online shopping also gives you the option to compare product reviews and closely examine manufacturer claims. Some of our top choices like Nutricost and Now Sports can easily be found on Amazon for your convenience. 

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Recap

Tribulus terrestris is an emerging herbal extract that shows the most promise as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, libido, and sexual health.

Though broadly touted as a testosterone booster, its main strengths appear to be through a different, yet-undiscovered mechanism.

Even though tribulus terrestris doesn’t seem to increase testosterone levels or boost athletic performance, it still helps treat erectile dysfunction in men and low libido in women.

There’s clearly more research that needs to be done, but moderate doses of tribulus terrestris (in the 10-20 mg per kg of body mass range) may be helpful for improving sexual health in both men and women.

For Bodynutrition’s #1 recommended Tribulus terrestris supplement, click here.





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