Tongkat Ali raises testosterone levels in over-fifties
The Malaysian population has been using extracts from the roots of the Eurycoma longifolia shrub [which you may know by the name of Tongkat Ali] for centuries as an adaptogen and libido enhancer. And with reason, write Malaysian researchers in Andrologia. Supplementation using Tongkat Ali normalises testosterone levels in men who produce too little of the hormone.
Tongkat Ali is the most studied plant-based testosterone booster. Several dozens of studies have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, which suggest that Tongkat Ali enhances libido, sperm production and testosterone levels in lab animals. In a couple of animal studies Tongkat Ali has even been shown to boost muscle mass too.
But we still don't know exactly how Tongkat Ali works, even though bio-organic chemists do now have a good idea of the potentially bioactive components of the substance. A couple of the important ones are illustrated below.
Little research has been done on the effect of Tongkat Ali on humans. Seven years ago there was a study around, funded by a manufacturer of Tongkat Ali extracts, which showed that it boosted testosterone levels in endurance athletes during a race – but the study has never been published.
That's why our interest was piqued by the study that researchers at the Damai Service Hospital in Kuala Lumpur published in Andrologia in 2012. In this study 76 men with low testosterone levels in their blood were given 200 mg Tongkat Ali extract every day for a month. The average age of the men was 51.
Their average testosterone level was 5.66 nanomol per litre. A normal testosterone level is between 6 and 30 nanomol per litre. After taking Tongkat Ali supplements for a month the subjects' testosterone level had risen to 8.31 nanomol per litre.
Using a standardised questionnaire doctors give men a score for their Ageing Males' Symptoms. Men who score less than 26 are considered to be 'complaint free'. A score of 27-36 is 'few complaints'; a score of 37-49 represents 'mild complaints' and a score of 50 or higher means 'serious complaints'. The figure above shows that the average test subject’s condition improved from 'mild complaints' to 'few complaints'.
More to come...
"A treatment like this may be a reasonable therapy for numerous patients, particularly in Third World or emerging countries as such herbal extracts are often cheaper than Western pharmaceutical medicines", the researchers write. "In Malaysia, for instance, the supplement is available in most leading pharmacies and popular as a male health supplement. Yet, randomised placebo-controlled studies investigating the positive effects of Tongkat ali on ageing male well-being including its effects on the prostate are missing in the literature thus far and are currently underway."
Tongkat Ali is also found in sports supplements. However interesting the Malaysian study is, it doesn't offer proof that the products actually work. Boosting a testosterone level from 5.66 to 8.31 nanomol per litre is different from raising the testosterone level of a healthy athlete to a level at which noticeably more anabolic processes occur.
Andrologia. 2012 May;44 Suppl 1:226-30.
Tongkat Ali boosts testosterone level and muscle strength in active over-fifties 09.09.2013
Muscle building effect of Tongkat Ali shown in animal study 02.11.2009
Aphrodisiac Tongkat Ali boosts testosterone level 17.10.2009