Update 9/12/19. Tribulus Terrestris first became popular in the 1990s but seemed to have fallen off a cliff until a few years ago when people started asking me about it again. While I admit to being a Tribulus skeptic – because of what the research says and doesn't say – I was intrigued by the people who commented on my review of Tribulus and testosterone that the supplement was working for them. Specifically, people told me that Tribulus was not only helping to improve muscle mass but also that it increased their sex drive and erections!
My Tribulus Experiment
If tribulus really was doing all of what men said, then it could be a pretty cheap and effective way to help a lot of guys. So, I decided to test this supplement on myself – a 47-year-old apparently healthy guy who eats fairly well and goes to the gym 3-4 per week on average.
I have no heart problems in my family. I think my genes are pretty good since my grandmother lived to be 104! I'm telling you this for a reason.
So, I went to Vitamin Shoppe and purchased Tribulus for my personal experiment. The brand of I used was Ultimate Nutrition Bulgarian Tribulus. Each capsule had 750 mg (extract and aerial portions of the plant) and the bottle said that it contained “over 45% steroidal saponins”.
This was similar to what someone in my Tribulus and testosterone review said worked for him. I did my experiment for about 2 weeks.
At the start of my experiment I took 1 capsule of Bulgarian Tribulus a day and then after a few days or so I took 2 capsules per day.
I took both capsules of either together or separated by several hours to see if taking them at the same time gave me different effects. Likewise, I took the supplement on both an empty stomach and with food to see if either of these mattered.
I did not measure my testosterone level before I started taking the supplement. I figured if tribulus really worked, that I would notice the more obvious signs – energy, erection frequency, sex drive etc. – pretty fast.
Did Tribulus Work?
At the end of my 2-week experiment, these are the results I observed:
- Energy in the gym: Tribulus terrestris had no noticeable effects
- Muscle strength: Tribulus terrestris had no noticeable effects
- Erections: Tribulus terrestris had no noticeable effects
- Sex drive: Tribulus terrestris had no noticeable effects
I didn't notice any difference at all. That's actually why I quit taking it after 2 weeks – and that's when something did happen…
Tribulus Terrestris Side Effects
A few days after I stopped taking tribulus, I noticed that my heart started skipping beats.
Skipped heart beats and normal and we all get them from time to time. You may have heard them called PVCs – pre-ventricular contractions or PACs – premature atrial contractions.
What I experienced was NOT normal. Just while sitting, watching TV, I counted several skipped heartbeats in a minute. That's NOT normal!
We take our heart beating for granted. But when you can actually feel your heart stop beating for an instant, it's very scary. After searching online, I saw other people saying that this herb might cause a faster heart rate. I could not find anyone saying that Tribulus caused skipped heartbeats.
I never experienced any chest pain either at rest or with exercise. I even biked to the gym and didn't notice any problems. Likewise, I never felt dizzy or lightheaded or had a lack of energy. Still, the skipped heartbeats persisted.
After about 3 or 4 days, I went to see my doctor. My blood pressure and the resting EKG test were normal. It was only after speaking to the physician's assistant in my doctor's office did the idea of a “Tribulus withdrawal” occur to us.
Was it possible that Tribulus was doing something in me even though I didn't notice it? And when I stopped taking it, was it possible that my body reacted – which was manifested in my heart skipping beats? This is an interesting theory and I don't know if it's true or not.
I know I've never had a problem with persistent skipping heartbeats before. After about 5 days or so, the skipped heartbeats went away and as of today have not returned.
Does It Work?
It did not work for me. I noticed no positive benefits. Based on that I believe what other people say is due to a placebo effect. Could it be I didn't take it long enough? It's possible. Regardless, since it seemed to cause skipped heartbeats, I don't think it's worth it.
What Do You Think?