Insights into Supplements with Tribulus Terrestris used by Athletes

Open access

Abstract

Herbal and nutritional supplements are more and more popular in the western population. One of them is an extract of an exotic plant, named Tribulus terrestris (TT). TT is a component of several supplements that are available over-the-counter and widely recommended, generally as enhancers of human vitality. TT is touted as a testosterone booster and remedy for impaired erectile function; therefore, it is targeted at physically active men, including male athletes. Based on the scientific literature describing the results of clinical trials, this review attempted to verify information on marketing TT with particular reference to the needs of athletes. It was found that there are few reliable data on the usefulness of TT in competitive sport. In humans, a TT extract used alone without additional components does not improve androgenic status or physical performance among athletes. The results of a few studies have showed that the combination of TT with other pharmacological components increases testosterone levels, but it was not discovered which components of the mixture contributed to that effect. TT contains several organic compounds including alkaloids and steroidal glycosides, of which pharmacological action in humans is not completely explained. One anti-doping study reported an incident with a TT supplement contaminated by a banned steroid. Toxicological studies regarding TT have been carried out on animals only, however, one accidental poisoning of a man was described. The Australian Institute of Sport does not recommend athletes’ usage of TT. So far, the published data concerning TT do not provide strong evidence for either usefulness or safe usage in sport.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • AIS 2014 http://www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrition/supplements (accessed on 02.04.2014)

  • Antonio J Uelmen J Rodriquez R Earnest C. The effect of Tribulus terrestris on body composition and exercise performance in resistance-trained males. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab2000; 10: 208-215

  • Aqai P Cevik E Gerssen A Haasnoot W Nielen MW. High-throughput bioaffinity mass spectrometry for screening and identification of designer anabolic steroids in dietary supplements. Anal Chem2013; 85: 3255-3262

  • Arcasoy HB Erenmemisoglu A Tekol Y Kurucu S Kartal M. Effect of Tribulus terrestris L. saponin mixture on smooth muscle preparations: a preliminary study. Boll Chim Farm1998; 137: 473-475.

  • Aslani MR Movassaghi AR Mohri M Pedram M Abavisani A. Experimental Tribulus terrestris poisoning in sheep: clinical laboratory and pathological findings. Vet Res Commun2003; 27: 53-62

  • Aslani MR Movassaghi AR Mohri M Pedram M Abavisani A. Experimental Tribulus terrestris poisoning in goats. Small Rumin Res2004; 51: 261-267

  • Brown GA Matthew D Vukovich MD Martini ER Kohut ML Franke WD Jackson DA King DS. Endocrine and lipid responses to chronic androstenediol-herbal supplementation in 30-58 year old men. J Am Coll Nutr2001; 20: 520-528

  • Brown GA Vukovich MD Martini ER Kohut ML Franke WD Jackson DA King DS. Endocrine response to chronic androstenedione intake in 30-to 56-year-old men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab2000; 85: 4074-4080

  • Brown GA Vukovich MD Reifenrath TA Uhl NL Parsons KA Sharp RL King DS. Effects of anabolic precursors on serum testosterone concentrations and adaptations to resistance training in young men. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab2000; 10: 340-359

  • Bucci LR. Selected herbals and human exercise performance. Am J Clin Nutr2000; 72(suppl): 624S-636S

  • Canter PH Ernst E. Herbal supplement use by persons aged over 50 years in Britain: frequently used herbs concomitant use of herbs nutritional supplements and prescription drugs rate of informing doctors and potential for negative interactions. Drugs Aging2004; 21: 597-605

  • Cavalcanti Gde A Leal FD Garrido BC Padilha MC de Aquino Neto FR. Detection of designer steroid methylstenbolone in "nutritional supplement" using gas chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry: elucidation of its urinary metabolites. Steroids2013; 78: 228-233

  • Chhatre S Nesari T Somani G Kanchan D Sathaye S. Phytopharmacological overview of Tribulus terrestris. Pharmacogn Rev2014; 8: 45-51

  • Czeczelewski J Długoçka B Czeczelewska E. Intakes of selected nutrients bone mineralisation and density of adolescent female swimmers over a tree-year period. Biol Sport2013; 30: 17-20

  • Desbrow B Biddulph C Devlin B Grant GD Anoopkumar-Dukie S Leveritt MD. The effects of different doses of caffeine on endurance cycling time trial performance. J Sports Sci2012; 30: 115-120

  • Dinchev D Janda B Evstatieva L Oleszek W Aslani MR Kostova I. Distribution of steroidal saponin in Tribulus terrestris from different geographical regions. Phytochemistry2008; 69: 176-186

  • El-Tantawy WH Temraz A El-Gindi OD. Free serum testosterone level in male rats treated with Tribulus alatus extracts. Int Braz J Urol2007; 33: 554-559

  • Gauthaman K Adaikan PG Prasad RN. Aphrodisiac properties of Tribulus terrestris extract (Protodioscin) in normal and castrated rats. Life Sci2002; 71: 1385-1396

  • Gauthaman K Ganesan AP. The hormonal effects of Tribulus terrestris and its role in the managements of male erectile dysfunction-an evaluation using primates rabbits and rat. Phytomedicine2008; 15: 44-54 Geyer H Mareck-Engelke U Reinhart U Thevis M Schänzer W. Positive doping cases with norandrosterone after application of contaminated nutritional supplements. Deutsche Zeitschrift fur Sportmedizin2000; 51: 378-382

  • Ghosian Moghaddam MH Khalili M Maleki M Ahmad Abadi ME. The effect of oral feeding of Tribulus terrestris L. on sex hormone and gonadotropin levels in addicted male rats. Int J Fertil Steril2013; 7: 57-62

  • Helms ER Aragon AA Fitschen PJ. Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. J Int Soc Sports Nutr2014: 12: 11-20

  • Iacono F Prezioso D Illiano E Romeo G Ruffo A Amato B. Sexual asthenia: Tradamixina versus Tadalafil 5 mg daily. BMC Surg2012;12 (Suppl 1): S23

  • Izzo AA. Interactions between herbs and conventional drugs: overview of the clinical data. Med Princ Pract 2012; 21: 404-428

  • Judkins C Prock P. Supplements and inadvertent doping - how big is the risk to athletes. Med Sport Sci2012; 59: 143-152

  • King DS Sharp RL Vukovich MD Brown GA Reinfenrath TA Uh1 NL Parsons KA. Effect of oral androstenedione on serum testosterone and adaptation to resistance training in young men: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA1999; 281: 2020-2028

  • Koumanov F Bozadijeva E Andreeva M Platonova E Ankova V. Clinical trial of Tribestan. Exp Med 1982; 4: 211-215

  • Martino-Andrade AJ Morais RN Spercoski KM Rossi SC Vechi MF Golin M Lombardi NF Greca CS Dalsenter PR. Effects of Tribulus terrestris on endocrine sensitive organs in male and female Wistar rats. J Ethnopharmacol2010; 127: 165-170

  • Milasius K Dadeliene R Skernevicius J. The influence of the Tribulus terrestris extract on the parameters of the functional preparedness and athletes’ organism homeostasis. Fiziol Zh2009; 55: 89-96

  • Neychev VK Mitev VI. The aphrodisiac herb Tribulus terrestris does not influence the androgen production in young men. J Ethnopharmacol2005; 101: 319-323

  • Patlar S Yalçin H Boyali E. The effect of glycerol supplements on aerobic and anaerobic performance of athletes and sedentary subjects. J Hum Kinet2012; 34: 69-79

  • Predergast HM Bannen T Erickson TB Honore KR. The toxic torch of the modern Olympic Games. Vet Hum Toxicol2003; 45: 97-102

  • Ranchordas MK Rogersion D Ruddock A Killer SC Winter EM. Nutrition for tennis: practical recommendations. J Sports Sci Med2013; 12: 211-224

  • Rogerson S Riches CJ Jenings C Weatherby RP Meir R Marshall-Gradisnik SM. The effect of five weeks of Tribulus terrestris supplementation on muscle strength and body composition during preseason training in elite rugby league players. J Strength Cond Res2007; 21: 348-353

  • Roshan VD Hosseinzadeh S Mahjoub S Hosseinzadeh M Myers J. Endurance exercise training and diferuloyl methane supplement: changes in neurotrophic factor and oxidative stress induced by lead in rat brain. Biol Sport2013; 30: 41-46

  • Santos EP Silva AS Costa MJC Moura Junior JS Quirino ELO Franca GAM Asciutti LSR. Omega-3 supplementation attenuates the production the C-reactive protein in military personnel during 5 days of intensive physical stress and nutritional restriction. Biol Sport2012; 29: 93-99

  • Saudan C Baume N Emery C Strahm E Saugy M. Short term impact of Tribulus terrestris intake on doping control analysis of endogenous steroids. Forensic Sci Int2008; 178: e7-e10

  • Seferoğlu F Erman KA Şahan A Toktaş. N. The effect of n-3 LC-PUFA supplementation on tennis skill acquisition in 10-12 year old girls. Biol Sport2012; 29: 241-246

  • Singh S Nair V Gupta YK. Evaluation of the aphrodisiac activity of Tribulus terrestris Linn. in sexually sluggish male albino rats. J Pharmacol Pharmacother2012; 3: 43-74

  • Talazas AH Abbasi MR Abkhiz S Dashti-Khavidaki S. Tribulus terrestris-induced severe nephrotoxity in a young healthy male. Nephrol Dial Trnsplant2010; 25: 3792-3793

  • Van Eenoo P Delbeke FT Desmet N De Backer P. Excretion studies with Tribulus terrestris. In: Schänzer W. Geyer H. Gotzmann A. Mareck U. (eds). Recent advances in doping analysis (8).Köln: Sport und Buch Strauß 13-22; 2000

Search
Journal information
Impact Factor

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 1.414
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.858

CiteScore 2018: 1.60

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.644
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.941

Cited By
Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 1326 912 55
PDF Downloads 558 335 3