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Tongkat Ali: Scientific Evidence on Testosterone

Tongkat Ali is reported as the ultimate natural testosterone booster supplement. As modern men in the US are reported to have less testosterone compared to men born in the 60s or 70s, more men are choosing Tongkat Ali in recent years as opposed to Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) or HRT.

But, does Tongkat Ali boost testosterone? And are there sufficient clinical evidence to support that claim?

Yes, Tongkat Ali does raise testosterone levels. Multiple studies showed Tongkat Ali has an effect of raising total testosterone, free testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

In this article, we shall share scientific evidence from clinical trials and research studies performed on humans in the last 20 years.

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. Most recent Tongkat Ali studies on testosterone between 2000-2021 were conducted on human participants / volunteers, including both males and females.
  3. Most Tongkat Ali studies on testosterone showed significant improvement between 2 weeks to 24 weeks.
  4. Multiple Tongkat Ali studies and clinical trials on testosterone showed improvement in young adults (24 years), middle-aged men (40s) and senior citizens (50 – 75 years).
  5. Tongkat Ali showed the greatest testosterone improvement of up to 600% after 24 weeks when consumed with multivitamins.
  6. Latest studies on Tongkat Ali showed an increase in dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Contrary to popular belief, high DHT is correlated to lower prostate cancer death.

In fact, Tongkat Ali may be a better choice to boost testosterone next to Panax Ginseng due to more clinical evidence in recent years.

In reality, there are many top-selling testosterone supplements for men in recent years.

However, research by the University of Southern California on 50 “T-boosting” supplements showed that only 24.8% of supplements had data to support this claim.

Only 24.8% of testosterone boosters had data to support these claims

Institute of Urology, University of Southern California, USA (2019)

Thankfully, Tongkat Ali remains one of the best T-booster supplements with substantial records of clinical evidence and clinical trials on both men and women in recent years.

Let’s find out more scientific evidence if Tongkat Ali can actually increase your testosterone levels.

Can Tongkat Ali boost testosterone?

The short answer is yes, Tongkat Ali does boost testosterone. There is sufficient scientific evidence to show Tongkat Ali may increase different types of testosterone in our body such as:

total testosterone

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

dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

dihydrotestosterone (DHT)

progesterone 

Clinical trials and research studies from 2000 to 2021 reported an increase in free testosterone between 15% to 600% in both men and women; depending on the daily doses and duration of use.

For example, a 24-week randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial on 50mg Physta® Tongkat Ali with multivitamins showed a 582% increase  (up to 11.4 ng/dL) and 600% increase ( up to 1.05 ng/dL) in free testosterone in men and women respectively. 

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.

Tongkat Ali contains a bioactive ingredient known as eurycomanone that works by activating the adrenal and pituitary gland. This result in the production of more Free Testosterone (FT) from its binding hormone, the Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG). It means Tongkat Ali reduce SHBG to produce more usable (i.e free testosterone).

The latest study in 2021 shows that Tongkat Ali demonstrates steroidogenic effects on young men. Results showing an increase in free testosterone levels may be due to greater hormone production via the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

In a separate clinical trial involving 105 men between 50-70 years, test results reported an increase in Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in 12 weeks when test participants were exposed to daily consumption of 200mg of Tongkat Ali.

DHEA is a vital hormone in the adrenal gland that helps to produce testosterone. Here is a snapshot of the test result.

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)

🌐 Is Tongkat Ali clinically tested to boost testosterone?
  • Only clinically tested Tongkat Ali products have undergone clinical trials verified by medical professionals and certified scientists to validate their effect on testosterone.
  • Depending on potency, extraction protocols and dosage, very few Tongkat Ali products are clinically tested on humans to validate their efficacy to release Free Testosterone (FT).
  • Capital-intensive clinical trials are not required by USFDA and many popular Tongkat Ali brands on Amazon are not investing in clinical trials to validate their Tongkat Ali’s formulation and effect on testosterone.
  • Cheap Tongkat Ali brands sourced from China are not clinically-tested and may not increase testosterone.

The unattached, i.e free testosterone is considered the most usable, that controls most of our body functions which include libido, our mood, muscle growth and others.

Testosterone hormone composition

With more than 300+ research studies and clinical trials, Tongkat Ali is reported to have more scientific evidence on raising testosterone compared to Fadogia Agrestis, Maca, Ashwagandha, Turkesterone and other herbs.

Tongkat Ali were amongst substances with the strongest evidence

Eduard Bezuglov, First Moscow State Medical University (2021)

The first human clinical study on testosterone was published in 2012 and subsequently more research studies were performed in recent years involving hundreds of test subjects to reaffirm its finding.

This rapid development has sparked discussions amongst medical experts about Tongkat Ali as the best natural testosterone booster, next to TRT.

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

R Henkel, A George (2014)

As evidence of cancer-inducing side effects from TRT has deterred many consumers, Tongkat Ali may potentially be a natural alternative to Testosterone Replacement Therapy.

However, does Tongkat Ali work to boost testosterone if you are 25, 50 or even 70?

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

Testosterone: Young Adults

Common question amongst young adults – “I’m young and healthy. Can Tongkat Ali boost my testosterone if I am below 25 years?”

If you are in your 20s and active, consuming Tongkat Ali may increase your testosterone that will benefit your 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

 

Testosterone: Middle Aged Men

Does Tongkat Ali boost testosterone in middle-aged men?

If you are in your mid 40s and experiencing some level of androgen deficiency (i.e your body has lower levels of male sex hormones, particularly testosterone), then Tongkat Ali may work for you.

A randomized controlled study conducted in 2020 by a group of researchers from the University of Santarina, Brazil showed 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 observation is the longest study on Tongkat Ali to date.

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

University of Santarina, Brazil (2020)

And if you are fast approaching 40s and thinking of maintaining a good shape with regular exercises, then Tongkat Ali is your perfect natural testosterone booster.

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

 

Testosterone: Senior Men & Women

We found two independent clinical studies conducted in 2021 and 2014 showing 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

 

Medical Experts Views

Award-winning professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford University said that consuming 400mg of Tongkat Ali daily has the effect of increasing testosterone levels between 100 to 200 points.

The amount of testosterone increase that you may gain depends largely on Tongkat Ali’s potency.

A potent Tongkat Ali with a smaller dosage works more effectively than a less potent Tongkat Ali with a higher dosage.

🌐 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.

Urologist Dr. Rena Malik from the University of Maryland shared further scientific evidence on Tongkat Ali’s efficacy including Tongkat Ali’s ability to raise testosterone.

She also explained to her viewer about getting the best Tongkat Ali.

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

Dr. Rena Malik, University of Maryland, USA (2021)

And if you want the best Tongkat Ali that works well on testosterone, please purchase clinically tested Tongkat Ali products.

For instance, MIT-formulated Physta® Tongkat Ali extract has undergone more than 26 clinical trials and some of the clinical trials showed a 500% to 600% increase in free testosterone when combined with multivitamins.

It is worth reading if you want to know more.

Closing Thoughts

Patients and consumers should be aware of the scientific evidence behind Testosterone Boosters, TRT, or other natural supplements claiming to boost testosterone.

Despite decades of scientific evidence on various health benefits and real-world performance gains, Tongkat Ali is still the preferred choice to boost testosterone.

With a lack of scientific evidence and clinical trials, you can forget about other testosterone-boosting supplements such as Fadogia Agrestis, Maca or even Horny Goat Weed for now. 

Forget about Tongkat Ali-Fadogia combo. Single ingredient Tongkat Ali supplement works best.

- Dr. Annie George, Head of Research, Biotropics Malaysia

Whilst testosterone from Tongkat Ali may benefit women’s health too, it does not mean it works on everyone.

If Tongkat Ali did not work for you –  perhaps you should consider how you can gain more from a potent or stronger Tongkat Ali

Do your research as there are six golden rules to follow before picking the best Tongkat Ali in the market.

If you may have more specific questions, kindly refer to our FAQ on Tongkat Ali for a comprehensive list of questions and answers.

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)

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 .

Disclaimer: Content published in this article is not intended to promote any brands nor to provide any form of recommendations to purchase or consume medication, drugs or herbal supplement brands directly or indirectly. By reading this, the sole responsibility and decision lies on the reader to perform their own assessment and / or to arrive at an informed decision based on publicly available information. By reading the content published on this website means you are aware on the risks involved in purchasing any of the products or brands mentioned in this article. We highly recommend you and the readers to consult your nearest doctor before making any purchase from this website or any other websites or social platforms after reading this article.

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