Can Diabetic Patients Take Tongkat Ali? Benefits, Dosage & Side Effects

Diabetic supplements may offer additional benefits due to rising studies in the last decade, but should you take Tongkat Ali if you are diabetic?

This article provides deep-dive insights, views and and studies on Tongkat Ali as a herbal supplement for diabetic health.  If you are an existing diabetic patient and choosing to take Tongkat Ali supplements as part of your daily diet, this article may help you choose the best remedy to improve your blood sugar levels.

Overview

Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) is a herbal root plant found in Southeast Asia and recently investigated as a potential diabetic supplement due to its antihyperglycemic properties that help lower and regulate blood sugar levels in humans.   

Diabetes mellitus, which encompasses both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, is a chronic health condition characterized by elevated blood glucose levels, either when the pancreas does not produce enough or the hormone insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin (i.e insulin resistant). 

Patients diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes can lead to severe, debilitating, and deadly complications like diabetic retinopathy, Hyperosmolar Hyperglycaemic State (HHS), diabetic cardiomyopathy, and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) if not managed properly. 

While conventional treatments like insulin therapy and oral antihyperglycemic agents are commonly used, there is growing interest in natural supplements such as Yellow Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) for managing diabetic health, due to the optimization of hormonal benefits found in modern, clinically tested extracts.

Therefore, long term diet change or supplementation of herbs such Tongkat Ali may offer a sustainable solution when incorporated as a part of a health optimization protocol that benefit the endocrine hormonal system. Efficient production of hormonal insulin may improve insulin resistance and performance, thus reducing risks associated with hormonal deficiency diabetic cases.

Types of Diabetes and Its Challenges

Type 1 Diabetes: Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. This leads to an absolute deficiency of insulin, necessitating lifelong insulin therapy for glucose regulation.

Type 2 Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes, more prevalent than Type 1 and accounting for 90–95% of diabetes in developed countries, arises from insulin resistance and often correlates with obesity, blood lipid levels, poor diet, and sedentary lifestyles. Over time, the pancreas may fail to produce adequate insulin, complicating blood sugar control. Lifestyle modifications, including diet and exercise, alongside antihyperglycemic medications, and even dietary supplements, are essential in managing Type 2 diabetes.

Can Diabetic Patients Take Tongkat Ali?

Whether you are diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, taking Tongkat Ali may lower your blood sugar levels by improving your islet performance, reducing blood cholesterol level and glycogen deposits and improve overall insulin resistance. Studies have shown that Tongkat Ali can significantly reduce blood glucose levels in hyperglycaemic conditions, improve insulin sensitivity, and support pancreatic beta-cell function. 

In a dose-dependent peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Nutrients, Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) root extract did not show hypoglycemic effects at 25, 50 and 100mg/kg of bodyweight after eight weeks. Test results showed a significant reduction of the blood cholesterol level and the glycogen deposit in hepatocytes, with elevated insulin levels. The study suggests that Tongkat Ali has antihyperglycemic properties and helps islet performance by increasing beta-cells and pancreatic expression.

Dietary supplements such as Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) may offer further benefits in addition to diabetic medication but it should be used under guidance from a health professional.

According certified doctor Dr. Zamir Hillman (MD), diabetic patients should ideally stop any diabetic medications such as Metformin (Fortamet), Sulfonylureas, glimepiride when taking Tongkat Ali supplements.

He said “Whilst there have been no reported adverse side effects when combining diabetic medication with Tongkat Ali supplementation, there are still risks and the best solution is not to take them together, especially at high doses”

While Tongkat Ali may be taken as a daily supplement by those with high sugar levels or those exhibiting pre-diabetic symptoms, it is still crucial for diabetic patients to consult with their healthcare providers before incorporating Tongkat Ali into their regimen, as individual responses may vary and potential interactions with existing medications may occur.

Is Tongkat Ali good for diabetics?

Based on limited human studies, standardized Tongkat Ali hot water root extract may aid diabetic patients by improving insulin sensitivity and beta-cell performance, whilst reducing glucose absorption from the intestines. Its antihyperglycemic properties help manage blood sugar levels.

However, human reaction of using non-standardized Tongkat Ali using ethanol-based extract on sugar levels has not been extensively studied to warrant any form of safety standards on diabetic patients.

Tongkat Ali Benefits for Diabetics

There are growing studies on the potential benefits of Tongkat Ali on diabetic health, most of which are related to hormonal production and balance, blood sugar regulation, regulating cholesterol levels and anti-inflammatory effects.

Blood Sugar Regulation: Tongkat Ali has demonstrated significant antihyperglycemic properties, particularly in hyperglycaemic conditions. It enhances insulin sensitivity, supports beta-cell performance, and reduces glucose absorption from the intestines, aiding in the control of blood sugar levels.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Chronic inflammation is a hallmark of diabetes mellitus, contributing to insulin resistance and beta-cell dysfunction. Tongkat Ali’s potent anti-inflammatory properties can help mitigate these issues, promoting better glycaemic control and reducing the risk of diabetic complications.

Improvement in Lipid Profile: In addition to lowering blood sugar levels, Tongkat Ali has been shown to have beneficial effects on lipid profiles. It can reduce circulating cholesterol levels, addressing the common comorbidity of dyslipidemia in diabetic patients.

Mood, Stress, and Cravings: Clinical studies show that Tongkat Ali supplementation is effective for reducing stress and improving mood. It works by reducing cortisol, boosting testosterone, and enhancing dopamine levels. With this, Tongkat Ali can help diabetic patients manage their cravings for unhealthy foods, including sweets. This can be particularly beneficial for those struggling with emotional or stress eating, a common challenge in managing diabetes. Improved mood and reduced stress can lead to better dietary choices and adherence to a healthier lifestyle.

Healthy Weight Loss: Tongkat Ali enhances metabolism, aiding in healthy weight loss by promoting efficient energy conversion from food intake. It stimulates thermogenesis, a process of heat production that burns calories, thereby promoting more efficient weight loss, improving body composition, and reducing Body Mass Index (BMI). Increasing metabolic rate and burning calories more efficiently play a crucial role in managing Type 2 diabetes by synergistically further improving insulin sensitivity and promoting better blood sugar control. 

By enhancing metabolism, the body becomes more efficient at utilizing insulin, which helps regulate glucose levels more effectively. Meanwhile, efficient calorie burning supports weight management, reducing excess fat stores that contribute to insulin resistance.

Taking Tongkat Ali with a Low-Sugar Diet To Enhance Testosterone

One of the notable benefits of Tongkat Ali is its potential to boost testosterone levels. However, diabetic patients may struggle to see substantial improvements in testosterone levels unless they adopt a sugar-free or low-sugar diet. Research indicates that high sugar intake can lower testosterone levels and increase cellular inflammation, which can negate the benefits of Tongkat Ali.

Low-Sugar Diet and Testosterone: 

A study conducted in 2018 revealed that sugar-sweetened beverages significantly reduce serum testosterone levels in adult males. By reducing processed sugars intake and adopting a low-sugar diet, diabetic patients can enhance the effectiveness of Tongkat Ali in boosting testosterone. This combination not only aids in better blood sugar control but also improves stamina, energy, lean muscle mass, and libido.

Learn more about the most effective ways to use Tongkat Ali here

Synergistic Benefits of Healthy Testosterone Levels for Type 2 Diabetes

Low testosterone levels are associated with increased risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, and maintaining naturally healthy testosterone levels can benefit those with Type 2 diabetes. Testosterone plays a crucial role in insulin sensitivity, muscle mass development, and fat distribution—all factors crucial in the management of diabetes. Good testosterone levels help improve insulin sensitivity, which allows cells to better respond to insulin and regulate blood sugar levels more effectively. Moreover, testosterone promotes lean muscle mass, which enhances metabolic rate and aids in burning calories efficiently. 

Recommended Dosage for Diabetics

As Tongkat Ali can potentially affect blood sugar levels, diabetic patients that want to use this herb should start with a lower dose of 200mg or less daily. For best practice, they should consult with their healthcare provider and regularly monitor blood sugar levels to assess the impact of supplementation. 

  • For healthy adults: 200mg – 600mg per day, optimally after meals.
  • For diabetics: 100mg – 200mg per day

For safety, Tongkat Ali should only be taken by adults above the age of 18. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid taking Tongkat Ali.

Learn more about optimal dosing and maximum limits for Tongkat Ali supplementation here

Side Effects, Risks and Precautions

While standardized hot-water Tongkat Ali root extracts  are generally considered safe for long-term human consumption as a diabetic supplement for hormonal deficiency diabetes, it is essential to be aware of potential side effects, particularly when taken in very high doses or generic Tongkat Ali extracts contain impurities or adulterants such as magnesium.

Using 3rd-party lab tested Tongkat Ali supplements from reputable organizations such as EUROFINS may reduce the risks of side effects or negative interaction for diabetic patients as it is tested for impurities, toxicity and adulterants.

 Some reported side effects for diabetic patients when taking Tongkat Ali include:

  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Nausea, diarrhoea, or stomach discomfort.
  • Insomnia: Due to its stimulant-like properties, some individuals may experience difficulty sleeping if Tongkat Ali is taken late at night.

Interactions with Diabetic Medications:

Tongkat Ali may interact with certain diabetic medications such as metformin and sulfonylureas when taken in high doses as there are risks of hypoglycemia according to health experts. However, the negative interaction and risk profile have not been established based on existing studies.

Sulfonylureas (glyburide)

Tongkat Ali containing magnesium stearate found in Momentous Tongkat Ali may cause laxative effects when consumed in high doses (2,500mg/kg bodyweight) and the effect of magnesium may increase absorption of diabetic medication (sulfonylureas) and could potentially cause hypoglycemia.

Metformin

Experts suggest that Tongkat Ali may interfere with metformin (i.e Fortamet and Glucophage) when taken together in high doses. According to research experts, Tongkat ali increases effects of metformin by pharmacodynamic synergism. It is advisable for diabetic patients to stop current diabetic medication temporarily when using natural diabetic supplements such as Tongkat Ali whilst observing blood sugar glucose levels or any adverse side effects.

Related Article: Learn more about the potential side effects of Tongkat Ali and how to mitigate them here

Parting Words

Tongkat Ali offers promising benefits for managing diabetes mellitus, particularly Type 2 diabetes, primarily by lowering blood sugar levels, enhancing insulin sensitivity, and improving lipid profiles. Its full potential as a diabetic supplement is best suited to address hormonal deficiency-related diabetic symptoms and when combined with a sugar-free or low-sugar diet, Tongkat Ali may offer a long-term natural remedy to manage diabetic health.

To be cautious, diabetic patients considering Tongkat Ali supplementation should consult with their healthcare providers to ensure it fits well within their overall health protocol and to monitor for any potential side effects or interactions with existing medications. 

Author

Naressa Khan contributes regularly on AKARALI. As a researcher and investigative journalist, Naressa is all about creating, deconstructing, and reassembling meaningful content through words and facts. With this approach always in mind, she eagerly explores the nuances in life via the aspects of lifestyle, culture, travel, health, and wellness in Malaysia .

Our articles are third party reviewed by our panel of experts and medical advisors to ensure the facts are accurate and credible. These are validated against multiple source references which include but not limited to research studies, peer-reviewed journals, pre-clinical studies, clinical tests and other credible publications.

Our panel of medical advisors and experts are highly experienced in their individual fields. However, they do not provide any medical advice or recommendations arising from content published in this article.

Disclaimer: 

The content published on this website is for educational purposes and should not be viewed, read, or seen as a prescription or constitute any form of medical advice. We recommend you consult your nearest GP or doctors before consuming Tongkat Ali or any products which contain Tongkat Ali. For further information, kindly refer to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for more information.

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