Tribulus Aquaticus – Is There Science Behind This Muscle Building Herb?
Tribulus Aquaticus is an herbal extract sold as a muscle builder and a replacement for anabolic steroids. However the data behind this supplement is scare. Users do report some benefits to the herb, but overall there is little to no data supporting it’s use as a sports supplement meant to boost or act like testosterone.
What is Tribulus Aquaticus?
Tribulus Aquaticus is a plant that shares a similar name with the popular bodybuilding supplement Tribulus Terristris, but the name is where the similarities end. Tribulus Aquaticus is indeed a plant going under the name Tribulus lacusoris, Tribulus marinus, Trapa natans, Saligos, Caltrop (Water) or better known as the simple water chestnut. It appears that this is the simple water chestnut that you can find at any grocery store in the asian center. Quite simply it is just Water Chestnut, which is great on salads and in stir fry.
Many of the names for this herb are unavailable in pubmed, the leading authority on all published papers. However Trapa natans does identify this herb as having anti-oxidant properties. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to translate at all into how it is claimed to build muscle or be a replacement for steroids. Searching Trapa natans and Tribulus Aquaticus for “strength, muscle, cortisol, exercise” all came up with no results, making the inclusion of this ingredient in sports supplements a mystery. Water chestnut has never been used as a bodybuilding supplement but this study does show it may have some potent anti-oxidant properties. In fact I could only find one article for any of the terms “Identification of major phenolic compounds of Chinese water chestnut and their antioxidant activity. Molecules. 2007 Apr 25;12(4):842-52.” showing any activity at all.
Is Tribulus Aquaticus good for muscle building?
Anti-oxidants may have some slight benefit for building muscle, but it isn’t going to be a replacement for steroids nor will it add significant muscle or strength to your performance. Anti-oxidants such as Tribulus Aquaticus may prevent muscle soreness, which might ultimately lead to quicker recovery, but this hasn’t been proven in the literature. As a supplement Tribulus Aquaticus just doesn’t have much data to support it’s claim to replace steroids or augment testosterone.
To be at least considered for boosting testosterone or replacing steroids, an herb must have some basic studies showing increased testosterone levels, sperm count, semen quality or testicular weight variations. Tribulus Aquaticus has none of these properties. Until there is some published research on this herb it may be useful as an anti-oxidant but it’s effects on muscle are pure speculation.
Until there is some research on Tribulus Aquaticus doing anything for muscle building, it’s best avoid this ingredient as a bodybuilding supplement. If you want anti-oxidants, there are far better and more studied ones on the market like Vitamin E or CoQ10. It seems the only thing this supplement has going for it is a similar name to Tribulus Terrestris, which may actually boost testosterone.