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Unlocking The Power of Tongkat Ali: Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects Explained

Unlocking The Power of Tongkat Ali: Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects Explained

Article At A Glance

Tongkat Ali is a herbal plant that has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for various health issues, including fatigue, anxiety, malaria, and male sexual dysfunction.

The core benefits of Tongkat Ali include supporting testosterone levels, reducing inflammation, and modulating hormones related to stress.

While Tongkat Ali is generally considered safe when taken in recommended doses, it's important to consult a healthcare professional before use, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions or are taking medication.

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Are you curious about Tongkat Ali, one of the latest buzz compounds in the health and fitness world?

This plant is said to have some incredible benefits that can support your overall well-being, from boosting testosterone levels to reducing stress and anxiety, and even enhancing athletic performance, but is there a downside?

In this article we’ll dive into how Tongkat Ali can help, how not to use it, and some of the optimal doses you should be looking for.

What is Tongkat Ali?

Tongkat Ali, also known as Eurycoma longifolia, is a herbal plant that has become all the rage lately,  with it being recommended as a testosterone-supporting compound on podcast platforms such as The Joe Rogan Experience.

The root of the Tongkat Ali plant is the most commonly used part, having been utilised for centuries as a natural remedy for various health issues, including fatigue, anxiety, malaria, and male sexual dysfunction (Rehman et al., 2016).

Most commonly, Tongkat Ali is said to have compounds found to boost testosterone levels, support muscle gain, increase libido in men and support overall energy.

Let’s discuss deeper on some of these benefits.

What Are The Benefits of Tongkat Ali?

Although the mechanisms of action of Tongkat Ali are not fully understood, below is some of the benefits with the strongest evidence. Core benefits of Tongkat Ali include testosterone support, reducing inflammation and modulating hormones related to stress.

Supports Testosterone Levels

Recent literature has shown most of the benefits of Tongkat Ali to support testosterone levels in men, which can result in improved muscle mass, strength and libido.

A 2013 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that Tongkat Ali supplementation significantly increased testosterone levels in men who were physically active

 

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Tongkat Ali's ability to reduce stress and anxiety is commonly attributed to its anti-anxiety properties. Studies show that Tongkat Ali at a dose of approximately 200mg/day can better modulate stress (Talbott et al., 2013).

Better stress modulation results in a lowering of the hormone cortisol, which conversely raises testosterone and can improve certain mood states attributed to stress and anxiety.

 

Enhance Athletic Performance

Most of Tongkat Ali's benefits to boost athletic performance may be attributed to it’s ability to boost testosterone levels, which leads to increased muscle mass, strength and endurance.

On the other hand, Tongkat Ali may also improve energy metabolism by increasing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body's primary source of energy for muscle contraction (Outlaw et al., 2014). This means that Tongkat Ali may also be beneficial for fuelling a workout, allowing for a better generation of energy.

 

Other Benefits

On top of all these benefits, Tongkat Ali may also work by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, which may also improve recovery time and help to reduce the amount of muscle damage (Han et al., 2016).

Please note though that the potential benefits of athletic performance are limited by scientific research, and its safety and effectiveness are not yet fully understood.

As with any supplement, consult a healthcare professional before use.

Are There Any Side Effects of Using Tongkat Ali?

While Tongkat Ali is generally considered safe when taken in recommended doses, there have been reported side effects associated with use.

Through extended, long-term use, Tongkat Ali has been reported to elevate heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature (Mohd Effendy et al., 2012).

Tongkat Ali may also decrease testosterone levels in men with normal levels, meaning before taking Tongkat Ali for a longer period of time, it’s always best to get your testosterone levels checked first (Talbott et al., 2013).

Lastly, high dose Tongkat Ali may lead to gastrointestinal disturbances and changes in liver function, so following the recommended optimal dose is encouraged.

To re-clarify, these reported side effects of Tongkat Ali are associated with high doses or long-term use, and that more research is needed to fully understand the safety profile of this plant.

What is the Optimal Dose of Tongkat Ali?

The optimal dose of Tongkat Ali can vary depending on multiple factors including age, weight, health status and specific product or form.

Most studies suggest a daily dose of 200-300 mg of standardised Tongkat Ali extract (containing 1% ro 2% of the active compound eurycomanone) is effective for producing it’s benefits (Kamal Patel, 2022).

It’s important to follow recommended dosage instructions provided by the label or your healthcare professional, and lower doses should generally be used to start with, increasing gradually over time.

Please note - Tongkat Ali can interact with certain medications, such as blood-thinning drugs, and should not be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women or individuals with liver or kidney disease, without consulting with a healthcare professional first.

The Takeaway

Tongkat Ali is a herb that has gained popularity due to its potential benefits for testosterone support, reducing stress and anxiety, and enhancing athletic performance. While more research is needed to fully understand its safety profile, Tongkat Ali can be taken safely in recommended doses.

However, it's always best to consult a healthcare professional before taking any supplements, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions or are taking medication.

So, if you're thinking of incorporating Tongkat Ali into your routine, start with a lower dose and work your way up, and remember to always listen to your body!

References

  • Han, Y.M., Woo, S.-U., Choi, M.S., Park, Y.N., Kim, S.H., Yim, H. and Yoo, H.H. (2016). Antiinflammatory and analgesic effects of Eurycoma longifolia extracts. Archives of Pharmacal Research, 39(3), pp.421–428.
  • Kamal Patel, M.P.H. (2022). Tongkat Ali Research Analysis. examine.com [online[
  • Mohd Effendy, N., Mohamed, N., Muhammad, N., Naina Mohamad, I. and Shuid, A.N. (2012). Eurycoma longifolia: Medicinal Plant in the Prevention and Treatment of Male Osteoporosis due to Androgen Deficiency. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, [online] 2012. 
  • Outlaw, J.J., Wilborn, C.D., Smith-Ryan, A.E., Hayward, S.E., Urbina, S.L., Taylor, L.W. and Foster, C.A. (2014). Acute effects of a commercially-available pre-workout supplement on markers of training: a double-blind study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, [online] 11(1). 
  • Rehman, S., Choe, K. and Yoo, H. (2016). Review on a Traditional Herbal Medicine, Eurycoma longifolia Jack (Tongkat Ali): Its Traditional Uses, Chemistry, Evidence-Based Pharmacology and Toxicology. Molecules, 21(3), p.331.
  • Talbott, S.M., Talbott, J.A., George, A. and Pugh, M. (2013). Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, [online] 10, p.28. 

 

Authors: 
Stephen Brumwell, Nutritionist (ANTA #40048)

Reviewed:
Teigen Faux, Exercise Physiologist (Honours) for Scientific Accuracy

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