Journal of Pharmacognosy & Natural Products

ISSN: 2472-0992

Open Access

The Conundrum of the Efficacy of Tribulus terrestris Extract as Supplement for Muscle Mass Gain


Renato M Salgado*, Celso F Carvalho, Carlos V Andreoli and Aléssio C Mathias*

The dried extract of Tribulus terrestris has been widely applied in traditional medicine as alternative treatment for many ailments. Its main active components are steroidal saponins, which are thought to induce the reduction of testosterone into the potent dihydrotestosterone, thus possibly enhancing steroid hormone-related characteristics. In fact, these herbs are still used to treat some sexual dysfunctions and as male sexual stimulant. It is well-known that many individuals attempt to gain muscle mass by the intake of natural or synthetic anabolic products, including dietary supplements containing Tribulus. In this light, pharmaceutical advances have promoted a conspicuous increase in the commercialization of such products with alleged androgenic properties. Several studies with T. terrestris supplementation involving domestic and laboratory animals, as well as human subjects, have shown conflicting data with regard to increase in male sex hormone levels, sperm quality and physical strength, among other attributes. The aim of this review was to investigate the existing evidence on the impact of T. terrestris supplementation on lean body mass, and to address its reliability. Different database sources and sets of key words were used to search the related literature. Considering a set of predetermined inclusion criteria, the contents of three studies were explored. In these studies there were no significant differences in body composition parameters, such as lean mass and body fat, between control (placebo) and experimental groups. However, the main reason for caution in these reports was the overall reduced sample size, which precludes a firm conclusion from the obtained results. Further investigation by conducting robust randomized controlled trials is still warranted.


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