Benefits of Tongkat Ali

Benefits of Tongkat Ali

The Benefits of Tongkat Ali

Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) is well known for raising testosterone production and improving sex drive. (1,2) Whether you are working hard to increase or maintain muscle mass at the gym or have a sudden decrease in libido or sexual function (3), testosterone is most likely on your mind. If not, it should be! A decrease or abnormally low amounts of testosterone could lead to a decrease in meeting your health goals. You may be thinking, my sex drive is A-OK and I am doing just fine at the gym thank you very much, it may be interesting to note that testosterone naturally starts decreasing from the age of 25-30 and can have a 1-2% decrease every year! If at any point you start experiencing a reduced sex drive, loss of lean muscle mass, fatigue and weight gain (particularly around your abdominal area) you might start to question your testosterone levels. If your suspicions are correct and low testosterone is to blame, never fear Tongkat Ali is here to save the day!

What is Tongkat Ali

Tongkat Ali is derived from a shrub that is native to Malaysia. Tongkat Ali has the potential to benefit various hormonal pathways in the body. Tongkat Ali has sparked interest from scientists due to the benefits found for achieving a healthy libido in men by stimulating the production of testosterone. (4) Researchers also believe women could enjoy the benefits. 

4 Benefits Of Tongkat Ali

Tongkat Ali's claim to fame is its ability to boost testosterone production, converting pregnenolone to progesterone, balancing cortisol, and raising 5-dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Tongkat Ali boosts testosterone production by switching your body’s priorities away from catabolic (muscle-degrading) stress hormone production and shuttles resources into making anabolic (muscle-building) hormones such as testosterone. It does this by blocking the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by inhibiting the aromatase enzyme. (5) Once this happens there is usually negative feedback to the pituitary gland to stop the production of Luteinising Hormone (LH), and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) when the body is under stress. 

1. Build and Maintain Muscle For Men and Women

It is important to live a healthy balanced lifestyle to allow for adequate recovery time when training. Rest days can help to ensure you are not overtraining, this will do wonders as a foundation for healthy testosterone levels and help you to maintain a healthy physique. Why? Because training can cause a small amount of stress on the body leading to a reduction in testosterone levels as cortisol levels increase. Your body needs time to rest and recover which will allow you to achieve an anabolic state (muscle-building) instead of a catabolic state (muscle-degrading). Tongkat Ali can also help to decrease muscle degradation by lowering muscle-degrading hormones such as cortisol.(6) It does this by shifting the production of the adrenal hormones away from cortisol and towards the hormones DHEA and Androstenedione that promote muscle building. Tongkat Ali can also improve overall muscle strength in both men and women, this is achieved by blocking the enzyme aromatase which prevents the conversion of testosterone into estrogen, which can ultimately be stored in fat cells. (5)

2. Aphrodisiac

One study has shown that Tongkat Ali has been used throughout Asia as an aphrodisiac to enhance sexual performance. Yep, that is correct fellas! The study looked over 139 participants taking either Tongkat Ali or control, and it showed that the efficacy of testosterone was higher in the group who was taking Tongkat Ali. (7) It is still unknown why Tongkat Ali can have this positive effect, but studies are showing that it could be to do with bioactive compounds such as phenolic compounds, polypeptides, diterpenoids, alkaloids, and quassinoids can play a major role in Tongkat Ali’s abilities.

3. Reduce Inflammation

Tongkat Ali also displays potential anti-inflammatory effects within the body. This could be due to Tongkat Ali’s quassinoids and the inhibitory effects they have on a specific gene called Nuclear Factor (NF-kB) pathways.(8) NF-kB inhibition can result in anti-inflammatory effects due to its role as a key regulator of pathways that have been shown to have pro-inflammatory effects.(9,10) 

4. Male Fertility 

If you are battling with estrogen dominance, Tongkat Ali could also be benefial. Tongkat Ali can help to increase testicular function which can combat the effects of estrogen dominance. Testosterone is vital for male fertility, and high levels of estrogen can have a negative impact on testicular function.Therefore, Tongkat Ali can be considered as a supplement to support male fertility due to testosterone deficiency, and high estrogen levels due to it’s ability to inhibit aromatase reducing oestrogen production.(5) 

Summary:

The beauty of Tongkat Ali is that it is beneficial for both men and women. It also has shown to have no negative side effects. If you are lacking in training, can't get the motivation to get to the gym, are holding onto excess estrogen fat deposits, or you are merely trying to lean up low testosterone could be to blame and Tongkat Ali could be your new best friend. 


References

  1. Leisegang K, Finelli R, Sikka SC, Panner Selvam MK. Eurycoma longifolia (Jack) Improves Serum Total Testosterone in Men: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials. Medicina (Kaunas). 2022 Aug 4;58(8):1047. doi: 10.3390/medicina58081047. PMID: 36013514; PMCID: PMC9415500.
  2. Thu HE, Mohamed IN, Hussain Z, Jayusman PA, Shuid AN. Eurycoma Longifolia as a potential adoptogen of male sexual health: a systematic review on clinical studies. Chin J Nat Med. 2017 Jan;15(1):71-80. doi: 10.1016/S1875-5364(17)30010-9. PMID: 28259255.
  3.  Testosterone comes in three different forms, and that is free bound testosterone which is the most bioavailable, Sex Hormone Binding Globulin which transports testosterone around the body, and Albumin-bound testosterone which helps stabilize the testosterone within the body but is not an active form.
  4. Thu HE, Mohamed IN, Hussain Z, Jayusman PA, Shuid AN. Eurycoma Longifolia as a potential adoptogen of male sexual health: a systematic review on clinical studies. Chin J Nat Med. 2017 Jan;15(1):71-80. doi: 10.1016/S1875-5364(17)30010-9. PMID: 28259255.
  5. Low BS, Choi SB, Abdul Wahab H, Das PK, Chan KL. Eurycomanone, the major quassinoid in Eurycoma longifolia root extract increases spermatogenesis by inhibiting the activity of phosphodiesterase and aromatase in steroidogenesis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Aug 26;149(1):201-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.06.023. Epub 2013 Jun 27. PMID: 23810842.
  6. Talbott SM, Talbott JA, George A, Pugh M. Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 May 26;10(1):28. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-28. PMID: 23705671; PMCID: PMC3669033.
  7. Kotirum S, Ismail SB, Chaiyakunapruk N. Efficacy of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) on erectile function improvement: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Complement Ther Med. 2015 Oct;23(5):693-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2015.07.009. Epub 2015 Jul 31. PMID: 26365449.
  8. Hajjouli S, Chateauvieux S, Teiten MH, Orlikova B, Schumacher M, Dicato M, Choo CY, Diederich M. Eurycomanone and eurycomanol from Eurycoma longifolia Jack as regulators of signaling pathways involved in proliferation, cell death and inflammation. Molecules. 2014 Sep 16;19(9):14649-66. doi: 10.3390/molecules190914649. PMID: 25230121; PMCID: PMC6270735.
  9. Tran TV, Malainer C, Schwaiger S, Atanasov AG, Heiss EH, Dirsch VM, Stuppner H. NF-κB inhibitors from Eurycoma longifolia. J Nat Prod. 2014 Mar 28;77(3):483-8. doi: 10.1021/np400701k. Epub 2014 Jan 27. PMID: 24467387; PMCID: PMC3971761.
  10. Lawrence, T. (2009). The Nuclear Factor NF-κB Pathway in Inflammation. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology. Retrieved from 10.1101/cshperspect.a001651