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Published On: May 24, 2023
The list of natural herbal compounds claiming to naturally boost testosterone levels grows longer by the day. One ingredient that has been receiving quite a bit of attention lately is Tongkat Ali. You may have noticed it on the label of your favorite testosterone booster (possibly as 'longjack') and wondered what it's all about. Well, wonder no more.
In this article, we'll explore the benefits of Tongkat Ali for testosterone increase. We'll consider the latest research to see whether it supports the Tongkat Ali testosterone booster claims. Read on to get the hype-free facts about this much-heralded herbal ingredient.
What you can expect in this article:
Tongkat Ali, or Eurycoma longifolia, is a flowering plant indigenous to Southeast Asian nations like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. Common names for Tongkat Ali include "Malaysian ginseng" and "longjack." Southeast Asian civilizations have long used the plant as a traditional medicinal herb.
The Tongkat Ali plant's roots are used for various medical uses. They are gathered, dried, and either processed into extracts or powdered into a powder. Due to its potential health benefits, Tongkat Ali has grown in popularity as a dietary supplement.
Along with its traditional uses, Tongkat Ali has become a popular ingredient in testosterone-boosting supplements and as a stand-alone product. Tongkat Ali supplements are available as a fine powder that can be added to beverages, in capsule form, as a liquid extract, and as a tonic blend.
Tongkat Ali extract is believed to have the ability to naturally boost the body's secretion of testosterone. While the research is pretty limited, a handful of studies support the use of Tongkat Ali for low testosterone.
In one study, 63 healthy subjects were given Tongkat Ali or a placebo for four weeks. The Tongkat Ali group experienced an average increase in total testosterone by 37%. At the same time, their cortisol levels were reduced by an average of 16%. This research supports the contention that Tongkat Ali's effects on testosterone are significant.¹
Even though the research on Tongkat Ali's effects on testosterone is limited, the existing research does offer some insights into the possible mechanisms by which the herb is able to boost natural testosterone production.
Both free (unbound) testosterone and testosterone bound to proteins are types of testosterone found in the body. The percentage of testosterone in the bloodstream that is unbound to proteins like albumin or sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) is referred to as free testosterone.
The majority of the testosterone in the blood is bonded to proteins, including albumin and SHBG. Since this bound testosterone is inactive biologically, it cannot exercise its effects by interacting with androgen receptors. However, free testosterone is capable of freely entering cells and interacting with androgen receptors to exert its physiological effects, including increasing muscle mass and strength.
By decreasing the activity of SHBG, Tongkat Ali may raise the level of free, active testosterone in the blood. A study published in the Asian Journal of Andrology revealed that Tongkat Ali extract dramatically reduced SHBG levels in human participants. This supports the belief that Tongkat Ali may contribute to maintaining larger amounts of free testosterone by lowering SHBG activity.²
Luteinizing hormone (LH) is created by the pituitary gland. In males, it has a key role in controlling testosterone synthesis. LH stimulates the Leydig cells within the testes to manufacture and then release testosterone. It also acts on specific Leydig cell receptors to promote the conversion of cholesterol into testosterone. This mechanism is also how researchers think D-Aspartic Acid boosts testosterone.
A class of organic substances called quassinoids, abundant Tongkat Ali, have been shown to have potential effects on luteinizing hormone (LH) release. It is thought that quassinoids interact with particular receptors or signaling systems that are involved in the control of LH production.
One study examined how a standardized extract from Tongkat Ali affected the hormone profiles in rats. The extract considerably raised LH levels in the treated group compared to the control group. Though the fact that the precise mechanisms of action were not established, the researchers hypothesized that the extract's quassinoids might be responsible for the increased LH levels.³ Further research, though, is needed to quantify the effect that Tongkat Ali has on luteinizing hormone.
The quassinoids in Tongkat Ali are also believed to improve sleep quality, particularly the REM stage of sleep. Researchers contend that there is a connection between sleep quality and testosterone production, with studies showing that low testosterone levels are directly correlated with poor sleep habits. So, the ability of quassinoids to promote deeper REM sleep may contribute to the ability of the herb to increase testosterone levels.
Another benefit of quassinoids is their ability to help reduce stress levels. These compounds have been identified by researchers as contributing factors to Tongkat Ali's ability to lower cortisol levels, which we discuss further in the next section. Low testosterone levels have been associated with the increased inflammation that results from high cortisol levels.
Tongkat Ali extract has been used throughout Asia for more than a thousand years as a natural healer. The following health benefit has been identified, both through traditional and modern research:
Tongkat Ali has long been used to reduce stress by Southeast Asian peoples. There has recently been some research to support its use for this end. In a 2013 study by Talbot et al., 63 study participants were given either Tongkat Ali or a placebo for four weeks. At the study's conclusion, the Tongkat Ali group had significantly reduced levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. They also reported increased mood and reduced levels of stress, anger, and confusion.⁴
Researchers are not aware of the precise methods by which Tongkat Ali helps reduce stress. It has been suggested that Tongkat Ali has adaptogenic properties that help the body achieve homeostasis and adjust to stressful situations. Specifically, it has been theorized that the herb helps regulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which triggers the stress response.
Tongkat Ali also appears to be able to regulate the release of cortisol, which increases production in times of stress.
Another traditional Asian medicine used to lower stress levels are ashwagandha supplements.
The effects of Tongkat Ali extract on adult males with reduced libido were the focus of a study that was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2012. In the study, 109 men were randomly given either Tongkat Ali extract or a placebo for 12 weeks.
According to the study's findings, the group receiving Tongkat Ali extract had significantly higher libido levels than the placebo group. The Tongkat Ali group also reported improvements in sperm quality, erectile function, and sexual performance satisfaction.⁵
Tongkat Ali's ability to improve libido is thought to be connected to its ability to boost testosterone production and raise testosterone levels. The release of bound testosterone and an increase in testosterone production both have the potential to improve libido and sexual performance.
Nitric oxide, a substance that aids in blood vessel dilation and enhances blood flow, may also be produced in greater quantities when Tongkat Ali is consumed. Improved blood flow to the genitals may enhance sexual arousal and support erectile function.
Tongkat Ali's possible stress-relieving benefits may indirectly lead to an increased libido. It might help to foster a psychological environment that is more conducive to sexual desire and performance by lowering tension and anxiety.
In a 2020 study, the ability of Tongkat Ali to improve erectile function in men with low testosterone levels was studied. Forty-five men with an average age of 47 were divided into four groups.
Two of the groups undertook a resistance training program, with one of them also taking 200 mg of Tongkat Ali daily, while the other two did not train, with one of those groups also taking 200 mg of Tongkat Ali. The study lasted for six months.
Erectile function was improved in both groups that took Tongkat Ali, while there was no improvement in the two placebo groups. The most significant improvement in erectile function was seen in the men who took Tongkat Ali and performed resistance exercises.⁶
There is some evidence that Tongkat Ali can increase strength levels and muscle mass. In one study, 100 mg of Tongkat Ali was given to a group of men who were also put on an 8-week circuit training program. A placebo group did the same workout program but took a placebo. The results showed that the Tongkat Ali group increased both strength and muscle mass (by 4%), while the placebo group showed no gains.⁷
There are a few studies that show quite dramatic increases in strength after taking Tongkat Ali, but these were funded by supplement companies with a vested interest, so they cannot be relied upon.
Tongkat Ali is a natural herbal compound that is generally considered to be safe when taken according to dosage recommendations. However, as with all natural supplements used, some people may experience one or more of the following side effects from taking a Tongkat Ali supplement:
The dosage of Tongkat Ali used in clinical studies ranges from 200-400 mg per day. However, one study dosed it at 1.2 grams per day with no adverse effects.⁸
The recommended Tongkat Ali dose for testosterone-boosting effects varies from one manufacturer to the next. Until further studies emerge, we recommend looking for a Tongkat Ali supplement that doses at or around 400 mg per day if your main reason for taking the supplement is as a testosterone booster.
Yes, Tongkat Ali does really work in terms of enhancing the body's natural testosterone production, reducing stress, increasing libido, and improving strength levels.
There is valid research to support each of these Tongkat Ali benefits. The extent to which it is able to achieve these results, however, has not been fully established and may vary from person to person.
The level of testosterone increase that results from taking Tongkat Ali varies from person to person based on the amount and purity of the herb taken, the person's physiology, and the duration of supplementation.
While the research is limited, Tongkat Ali is thought to have a number of potential physiological effects, including improving libido and sexual function. Tongkat Ali is frequently used as an energy booster and to increase athletic stamina. It is thought to improve athletic performance and reduce fatigue by boosting both energy levels and stamina.
Tongkat Ali is characterized as an adaptogen, helping the body to adapt to stress. It is believed to control the levels of stress hormones like cortisol and lessen the effects of anxiety and stress.
According to some research, Tongkat Ali may help maintain lean body mass, promote increased muscle mass, increase muscle recovery, and improve strength, especially when used in conjunction with resistance training.
Finally, Tongkat Ali is thought to help increase the natural production of testosterone.
The length of time it takes for Tongkat Ali to work depends on a number of variables, including a person's genetic makeup, diet, and exercise level. In general, you should allow for several weeks of use before expecting to see results from Tongkat Ali supplements.
Tongkat Ali is an exciting player in the testosterone-boosting space. There is some promising research to support Tongkat Ali use as a natural booster of the body's natural release, both by increasing free testosterone levels and stimulating the release of luteinizing hormone.
When you add in Tongkat Ali's proven ability to reduce stress levels, boost libido and increase strength and lean muscle mass when combined with resistance training, you've got some pretty compelling reasons to make this a mainstay in your supplementation regimen.
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February 20, 2024
February 20, 2024
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