Does Tongkat Ali Boost Testosterone? Here are Scientific Evidence from Clinical Trials

Last Update: 6th June 2024

Tongkat Ali is an active ingredient found in most testosterone supplements due to its adaptogenic effects on testosterone.

But does Tongkat Ali increase testosterone?

In this article, we shall deep dive into research studies to investigate the effects of Tongkat Ali on testosterone in young adults, middle-aged adults, seniors and those are diagnosed with hypgonadism.

Summary: 
  1. Multiple testosterone-related studies on Tongkat Ali between 2000-2021 showed an increase in total testosterone and free testosterone between 5%, 16.9%, 30%, 61.2%, 122%, 588% and 600%
  2. Testosterone increase from Tongkat Ali supplementation is dosage-dependent. 
  3. It takes 2 weeks to 24 weeks for Tongkat Ali to have effect on testosterone.
  4. Tongkat Ali showed testosterone improvements in young adults (24 years), middle-aged men (40s) and senior citizens (50 – 75 years).
  5. Tongkat Ali showed an increase in dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT). High DHT is correlated to lower prostate cancer death.

Overview

Tongkat Ali contains natural adaptogenic properties from its bioactive ingredients such as eurycomanone, eurypeptides, alkaloids, quassinoids that are reported to have effects on testosterone levels.

Past randomized clinical studies showed mild-to-significant effects of Tongkat Ali in increasing testosterone levels which largely depends on the type of extracts used (eg: standardized vs. non-standardized), the type of Tongkat Ali species, purity, your health condition and your baseline testosterone levels.

Regardless of the type of Tongkat Ali you choose, a 2024 study published in the Tropical Journal of Natural Product Research on 3 species of Tongkat Ali extracts (i.e taken from Yellow, Black and Red Tongkat Ali) showed an increase of testosterone secretion by 56.02 nmol/L (41.1%), 40.49 nmol/L (18.65%) and 36.99 nmol/L (10.93%), respectively.

Yellow Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) has the largest effect on testosterone compared to Black Tongkat Ali (Polyathia bullata) and Red Tongkat Ali (Stema tuberosa)

In view of it being a natural testosterone booster, Tongkat Ali does not contain steroids and it is not classified as a selective androgen modulator (SARM), a compound with similar anabolic properties to steroids.

Does Tongkat Ali increase testosterone?

Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) may have positive effects in increasing testosterone if you are diagnosed with low androgen levels or may work for older men with sedentary or active lifestyle.

Pairing Tongkat Ali supplementation of 400mg with regular high-intensity exercises or weight training increases the likelihood of a moderate-to-significant increase in testosterone levels. In fact, a 2022 systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) on humans showed compelling evidence of the effects of Tongkat Ali in increasing total testosterone, free usable testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

However, Tongkat Ali extract containing less than 0.5% of eurycomanone or less than 20% of eurypeptides reduces the likelihood of any positive increase in testosterone levels in humans.

There have been reported cases that some Tongkat Ali supplements did not increase testosterone even after prolonged use of more than 40 days despite taking 400mg daily due to low levels of eurycomanone (<0.08%) found in the Tongkat Ali extract.

If you are taking one, you are encouraged to perform a blood test after 10 weeks to confirm any measurable increase in testosterone levels after taking Tongkat Ali supplements.

Tongkat Ali increases usable testosterone (i.e free testosterone) by potentially reducing Sex Hormone Globulin (SHBG). This action frees up more usable testosterone whilst activating the adrenal gland to produce more total testosterone.

Clinical studies and research showed that Tongkat Ali raises the following testosterone in our body:

total testosterone

free testosterone (i.e the most “usable” testosterone)

dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

dihydrotestosterone (DHT)

progesterone 

Whilst there is plenty of anecdotal and empirical evidence from clinical studies, the effects of Tongkat Ali in boosting testosterone depends largely on age, health conditions and lifestyle. You may gain higher testosterone increase if you are active or when pairing Tongkat Ali with multivitamins, zinc and boron together with weight training exercises.

Here is a quick summary on the average increase of total testosterone based on various Tongkat Ali studies and pre-clinical trials:

Age (years)

Lifestyle

Testosterone increase

24-30

Active

15% -30%

31-40

Active

30% – 60%

41-50

Sedentary

61% – 122%

20-60

Sedentary

582 – 600%*

*Note: Test results using 50mg of Physta® Tongkat Ali with multivitamins

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Clinical trials and research studies showed that Tongkat Ali raises free testosterone between 15% to 600% in both men and women. This result may work in the real world if you are using a standardized hot-water Tongkat Ali root extract that is considered more potent. Adding multivitamins to your daily supplement and having an active lifestyle increases the percentage of larger testosterone gains over a longer period.

A placebo-controlled clinical trial on 50mg Physta® Tongkat Ali with multivitamins showed a 582% increase  (from 1.67 ng/dL to 11.4 ng/dL) and a 600% increase (from 0.15 ng/dL to 1.05 ng/dL) of free testosterone in men and women respectively after 24 weeks. 

Whilst this clinical study published by Food & Nutrition Research journal showed evidence of Tongkat Ali’s effect in increasing testosterone for males and females aged 25 to 65, Tongkat Ali may not work if it contains eurycomanone content less than 0.5%. Users are advised to buy potent Tongkat Ali root extract to increase the likelihood of testosterone gains.

Note: 19 male participants between 20 – 60 years consuming 50mg Physta® Tongkat Ali extract (Eurycoma Longifolia) with multivitamins showed 581% increase in free testosterone after the 24th week. Clinical trial registration NCT02865863.

Note: 28 female participants between 20 – 60 years consuming 50mg of Physta® Tongkat Ali extract (Eurycoma Longifolia) with multivitamins showed 600% increase in free testosterone after the 24th week. Clinical trial registration NCT02865863.

MECHANISM OF ACTION

Tongkat Ali raises testosterone production from its bioactive ingredient known as eurycomanone. It works by activating the adrenal and pituitary glands via the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

The mechanism of action of Tongkat Ali produces Free Testosterone (FT) from its binding hormone, the Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG).

Tongkat Ali reduces SHBG to produce more usable (i.e free testosterone), and activates Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in the adrenal gland to produce more testosterone.

There are two studies that confirm this:

  1. A recent 2021 study confirms that the increase in free testosterone levels from Tongkat Ali supplementation is due to greater hormone production via the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.
  2. In a separate clinical trial involving 105 men between 50-70 years, test results reported an increase in Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) after 12 weeks based on daily consumption of 200mg of Tongkat Ali root extract.

The DHEA test result showed the largest testosterone increase between the 2nd week to the 8th week from Tongkat Ali supplementation, indicating that taking standardized hot water Tongkat Ali extract may have a significant boost from the activation of DHEA in human body.

Note: Test results of DHEA on 105 male participants between 50 – 70 years after consuming 200mg of Physta® Tongkat Ali extract (Eurycoma Longifolia) daily. Clinical trial registration (CTRI/2019/03/017959)

FREE USABLE TESTOSERONE

Apart from raising total testosterone, Tongkat Ali has effects on increasing free testosterone (i.e usable testosterone), which improves our libido, mood (both dopamine and cortisol stress hormone), protein synthesis to accelerate muscle growth and fat burn amongst others.

Testosterone hormone composition

The first human clinical study on testosterone was published in 2012 showing promising results from the effects of Tongkat Ali supplementation. Based on 300+ research studies on Tongkat Ali in the last two decades, the consensus among scientists showed that Tongkat Ali has the most evidence on testosterone.

Tongkat Ali has the strongest evidence to boost testosterone

Whilst generally Tongkat Ali may work to boost total testosterone if you are 25, 50 or even 70, you may experience that free usable testosterone is harder to achieve unless you are taking potent Tongkat Ali pure root extract or with a set of healthy diet and exercises. These lifestyle changes denotes the importance of taking Tongkat Ali as a dietary supplement that may work more effectively with lifestyle changes.

Let’s investigate how effective is Tongkat Ali across a wide range of age groups.

Does Tongkat Ali boost testosterone in young adults ?

EFFECTS OF TONGKAT ALI ON TESTOSTERONE IN YOUNG ADULTS

If you are in your 20s and active, consuming Tongkat Ali may increase your testosterone levels. You may benefit from accelerated muscle growth and strength.

A recent study by Chan et al in 2021 with 32 males with an average age of 24 years showed that 600mg daily consumption of Tongkat Ali over a two-week period resulted in 15% higher levels of testosterone and 34% increase in free testosterone. The level of estrogen (estradiol) was reported to increase by 30% too.

For active young adults, Tongkat Ali is used in sports to enhance anaerobic performance, and also as a steroid replacement.

The same study also reported that:

“The raised testosterone following Eurycoma longifolia supplementations could benefit muscle and strength gain in young adults”

Summary

Age of the test subjects

24 yrs

Total Test subjects

32 males

Daily dosage

600 mg daily

Dosage duration

2 weeks (14 days)

Medical condition of the test subjects

Healthy

Placebo test group (Yes/ No)

Yes

Testosterone increase (Yes/ No)

Yes

Name of scientists & researchers involved in the study

Kai Quin Chan, Claire Stewart Neil ChesterSareena H HamzahAshril Yusof

Published date

February 2021

 

Does Tongkat Ali boost testosterone for men over 40?

EFFECTS OF TONGKAT ALI ON TESTOSTERONE IN MID-AGED MEN

Studies showed that Tongkat Ali raises testosterone for those above 40. If you are in your mid 40s and experiencing some level of androgen deficiency, then Tongkat Ali supplementation may work for you.

A randomized controlled study conducted in 2020 by a group of researchers from the University of Santarina, Brazil reported that middle-aged men consuming 200mg Tongkat Ali daily with a 3-day exercise per week showed the most increase in testosterone during the 6-month period.

This 6-month-long study provides concrete evidence of Tongkat Ali’s effectiveness to boost testosterone if you are in your 40s.

Group consuming Tongkat Ali with 3 days per week exercise gained the most improvement

Here is the summary of Tongkat Ali testosterone study conducted on middle-aged men between 40 to 47 years.

Summary

Age of the test subjects

47 years

Total test subjects

45 men

Daily dosage

200 mg

Dosage duration & observation period

6 months (180+ days)

Medical condition of the test subjects

Androgen Deficiency

Placebo test group (Yes/ No)

Yes

Testosterone increase (Yes/ No)

Yes

Name of scientists & researchers involved in the study

Alice Erwig Leitão 1Melissa Carvalho de Souza Vieira 2Andreia Pelegrini 2Edson Luiz da Silva 3Adriana Coutinho de Azevedo Guimarães 2

Published date

May 2020

 

Does Tongkat Ali increase testosterone for older men and women over 50?

EFFECTS OF TONGKAT ALI ON TESTOSTERONE IN SENIOR MEN & WOMEN

Two independent clinical studies conducted in 2021 and 2014 showed that Tongkat Ali increased testosterone in senior men and women above 50 years.

The first study involved a group of 105 male between 50 to 70 years of age with a placebo- controlled group with results showing significant improvement in testosterone.

A second study with 13 males and 12 females between 57 to 72 years over a 5 week period showed improvement in testosterone between 61% for male, and 122% for females when subjected to 400mg of Tongkat Ali daily.

Summary: Study 1

Age of the test subjects

50 – 70 years

Total test subjects

105 male

Daily dosage

200 mg

Dosage duration

12 weeks

Medical condition of the test subjects

Healthy

Placebo test group (Yes/ No)

Yes

Testosterone increase (Yes/ No)

Yes

Name of scientists & researchers involved in the study

Pragya Pandey, Annie George, Govinda Narke,  Yogendra Kumar Choudhary, Sasikala M. Chinnappan

Date of study

May 2021

 

Summary: Study 2

Age of the test subjects

57-72 years

Total test subjects

13 males & 12 females

Daily dosage

400 mg

Dosage duration

5 weeks (35 days)

Medical condition of the test subjects

Not reported

Placebo test group (Yes/ No)

No

Testosterone increase (Yes/ No)

Yes

Name of scientists & researchers involved in the study

Ralf R. Henkel, Ruxiang Wang, Susan H. Bassett, Tao Chen, Na Liu, Ying Zhu and Mohd Ismail Tambi

Date of study

2013

 

Experts Review

Award-winning professor Dr. Andrew Huberman said that consuming 400mg of Tongkat Ali daily has the effect of increasing testosterone levels between 100 to 200 points. While the Huberman Tongkat Ali supplement is not clinically tested on testosterone, taking clinically tested Tongkat Ali such as AKARALI Physta may increase your likelihood to boost testosterone. 

The truth is, any testosterone gains from taking Tongkat Ali supplements are attributed by Tongkat Ali’s potency, purity and type of extraction technology (eg: hot water extract vs ethanol-based extract). For instance, a potent Tongkat Ali with a lower dosage works more effectively than a less potent Tongkat Ali with a higher dosage to increase testosterone.

🌐 Does Tongkat Ali increase DHT?
  • Most DHEA supplementation may increase DHT (dihydrotestosterone) levels. This is due to both its conversion to testosterone and the fact that DHEA upregulates the activity of 5AR (5-alpha-reductase) enzyme, which further converts testosterone to DHT.
  • In a 2010 study, urologists found that DHT treatment has no effect on prostate growth.

Meanwhile, US-based urologist Dr. Rena Malik from the University of Maryland suggested that hot water Tongkat Ali extract brings optimal health benefits. Therefore, you may want to buy standardized hot water Tongkat Ali extract to gain the most increase in your testosterone levels.

If you want the best Tongkat Ali, watch out for hot water root extract

In addition, health experts in California suggested that clinically tested Tongkat Ali is better suited for measurable testosterone gains compared to generic lab-tested Tongkat Ali supplements that are sold in the US.

This explains why MIT-formulated Physta® Tongkat Ali extract has undergone more than 26 clinical trials to verify its efficacy on testosterone. Some of the clinical trials showed a 500% to 600% increase in free testosterone when combined with multivitamins, making it one of the most effective Tongkat Ali for testosterone.

This brings home to the point that some experts and users are now defending that Tongkat Ali is amongst the best herbs that may be used as a long-term natural testosterone supplement, more so if you are worried about the negative side effects of TRT or HRT.

Tongkat Ali is natural alternative to Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and shown to restore serum testosterone levels

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, decades of Tongkat Ali clinical studies on humans and animals showed that this herb has a strong potential to elevate testosterone levels, particularly middle-aged adults, seniors, and those diagnosed with premature aging hormones. 

There is a greater consensus that Tongkat Ali is viewed as a scientifically proven herb due to its wide range of health benefits and its effects on our endocrine system. With Yellow Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) taking the lead as the most effective testosterone booster that delivers consistent results, choosing a standardized pure root extract that is 3rd party lab-tested may bring you the highest gain.

If Tongkat Ali did not raise your testosterone after your blood test, perhaps you should consider how you can gain more from a potent or stronger Tongkat Ali extract

Do check out 10 tips before buying Tongkat Ali supplements to ensure you are getting the best results. Lastly, please refer to our FAQ on Tongkat Ali for further information related to Tongkat Ali supplementation.

References

 

  1. Efficacy and safety of Eurycoma longifolia (Physta®) water extract plus multivitamins on quality of life, mood and stress: a randomized placebo-controlled and parallel study. George A, Udani J, Abidin NZ, Yusof A. Food Nutr Res. 2018 Oct 16;62. doi: 10.29219/fnr.v62.1374. PMID: 30574050; PMCID: PMC6294837.
  2. Testosterone Boosting’ Supplements Composition and Claims Are not Supported by the Academic LiteratureChase G. Clemesha, Hatim Thaker, Mary K. Samplask – Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Institute of Urology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA – The World Journal of Men’s Health (January 2019)
  1. Testosterone Boosters Intake in Athletes: Current Evidence and Further Directions – Artemii Lazarev, and Eduard Bezuglov, High Performance Sports Laboratory, Moscow Witte University, Moscow, Russia, Department of Sports Medicine and Medical Rehabilitation, Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University (Sechenov University), Moscow, Russia (May 2021)
  1. Exercise Associated Or Not To The Intake Of Eurycoma Longifolia Improves Strength And Cardiorespiratory Fitness In Men With Androgen DeficiencyAlice Erwig Leitão , Melissa de Carvalho Souza Vieira, Diogo Almeida Gomes, Leonessa Boing , Andreia Pelegrini, Edson Luiz, Adriana Coutinho de Azevedo Guimarães, Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice (February 2021)
  2. The Effect Of Eurycoma Longifolia On The Regulation Of Reproductive Hormones In Young Males – Kai Quin Chan, C. Stewart – First International Journal of Andrology, Andrologia (February 2021)
  1. A 6-Month, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Trial To Evaluate The Effect Of Eurycoma Longifolia (Tongkat Ali) And Concurrent Training On Erectile Function And Testosterone Levels In Androgen Deficiency Of Aging Males (ADAM) – Alice Erwig Leitão, Melissa Carvalho de Souza Vieira, Andreia Pelegrini, Edson Luiz da Silva, Adriana Coutinho de Azevedo Guimarães, International Journal of Midlife Health, Maturitas (March 2021)
  1. Effect Of Eurycoma Longifolia Standardised Aqueous Root Extract– Physta® On Testosterone Levels And Quality Of Life In Ageing Male Subjects: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Multicentre Study – Sasikala M. Chinnappan, Annie George, Pragya Pandey, Govinda Narke, Yogendra Kumar Choudhary (April 2021)
  1. Tongkat Ali as a Potential Herbal Supplement for Physically Active Male and Female Seniors-A Pilot Study – Ralf Henkel, Susan Bassett, Ruxiang Wang, Tao Chen, Mohd Tambi, Ying Zhu, Na Liu – Journal of Phyotherapy Research (April 2014)
  1. Phytoandrogenic Properties Of Eurycoma Longifolia As Natural Alternative To Testosterone Replacement Therapy – A George, R Henkel – First International Journal of Andrology, Andrologia (January 2014)
  1. Standardised Water-Soluble Extract Of Eurycoma Longifolia, Tongkat Ali, As Testosterone Booster For Managing Men With Late-Onset Hypogonadism? – M I B M Tambi, M K Imran, R R Henkel – First International Journal of Andrology, Andrologia (Dec 2012)
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.

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