Does Tongkat Ali Really Boost Testosterone?
Let’s Find Out!
Tongkat Ali is one of the most widely used natural testosterone boosters on the market today.
Tongkat Ali is a flowering shrub. It has been used in traditional medicine for centuries; it is particularly important as a medicinal herb in Southern China, Borneo, and Sumatra, where it is a native, indigenous plant. It has a wide range of uses in traditional medicines, from alleviating fever to improving mood. It is also held up as a powerful aphrodisiac.
Like most herbs important in traditional medicine, Tongkat Ali is supposed to be something of a cure-all.
Over the last couple of years, an increasing number of supplement manufacturers have been using Tongkat Ali in their testosterone boosters. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that it is one of the most widely-used natural testosterone boosters in the world. You might see it listed as Eurycoma Longifolia, or as Longjack Root. Both of these are just different names for Tongkat Ali.
Obviously, supplement manufacturers make a big deal out of Tongkat Ali’s supposed effects on libido; they say that its long history of use as an aphrodisiac makes it a great ingredient for a testosterone booster.
Others point to recent scientific studies which purportedly show Tongkat Ali having a significant, measurable impact on free serum testosterone levels.
But some aren’t buying it – you’ll find plenty of people online claiming that Tongkat Ali is totally bogus. They say it doesn’t really work as a testosterone booster; that its libido boosting effects are independent of any increase in testosterone (like Fenugreek).
So what are we to make of this?
Does Tongkat Ali really work?
Will it inrease your testosterone levels?
Is Tongkat Ali safe?
How should it be used?
Is it worth the money?
Find out by reading our complete Tongkat Ali guide below. We go through everything you need to know about this substance and how it interacts with testosterone. We’ll talk about some of the key studies cited by the supplement industry, as well as some that contradict these findings. We will also highlight the main dangers associated with Tongkat Ali use. In the end, we’ll tell you whether or not we’d use this stuff as part of our testosterone boosting stack.
If you have any questions, please post them to the comments section at the bottom of this page.
Does Tongkat Ali Boost Testosterone?
There’s no point beating around the bush; let’s just jump straight into the nuts and bolts of the debate.
The only way to really decide whether or not Tongkat Ali boosts testosterone is to have a look at some human clinical trials which look specifically at testosterone.
A good place to start is this study. Here, researchers looked at how Tingkat Ali supplementation affected a range of hormonal parameters.
They took 25 physically active, elderly men and women (aged 57-72) and gave them 400mg of Tongkat Ali extract for 5 weeks. The researchers took regular measurements of serum testosterone, cortisol, IGF1, SHBG, and more.
It is worth quoting their findings in full:
Treatment resulted in significant increases in total and free testosterone concentrations and muscular force in men and women. The increase in free testosterone in women is thought to be due to the significant decline in sex hormone-binding globulin concentrations. The study affirms the ergogenic benefit of TA through enhanced muscle strength. (Published 2014 in Physiotherapy Research).
Not only did these researchers find that Tongkat Ali was able to significantly increase free and total testosterone levels in both men and women, but they also found the mechanism behind the increase: Sex Hormone Binding Globulin, or SHBG for short.
These results line up nicely with other studies which have looked specifically at older men suffering from low testosterone or fertility issues (ref).
Other studies, such as this one, have found that Tongkat Ali may work well for people who have stress-related low testosterone.
The cited paper describes a trial in which men and women selected for moderate stress levels were given either a Tongkat Ali tea or a placebo for 4 weeks. Stress markers, including cortisol levels and cortisol:testosterone ratios were taken.
Here is what the researchers found:
Significant improvements were found in the TA group for Tension (−11%), Anger (−12%), and Confusion (−15%). Stress hormone profile (salivary cortisol and testosterone) was significantly improved by TA supplementation, with reduced cortisol exposure (−16%) and increased testosterone status (+37%). (Published 2013 in Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition).
At first glance it looks like Tongkat Ali may have multiple mechanisms of action. These studies have identified two main ways that Tongkat Ali might increase testosterone – suppressing cortisol and suppressing SHBG levels.
But there is another possible explanation.
All of these studies have focused on older men, men struggling with fertility, or men selected for high stress levels.
These subjects were all therefore dealing with suppressed testosterone levels for multiple different reasons, but all of which would negatively impact testosterone production in the testes.
It could be that Tongkat Ali merely has a protective effect on the testes. That is, its effects might be more akin to an antioxidant and all-round stress-reliever than a direct testosterone booster; it protects the testes from damage, keeps you calm, and allows your natural testosterone production system to kick back into action.
There is also no evidence that Tongkat Ali has any effect in otherwise healthy, young men.
In other words, there is no evidence that Tongkat Ali works for men who are not currently suffering with stress, hypogonadism, infertility, or problems of that nature.
It seems highly likely that Tongkat Ali only works for older people or men struggling with one of these issues. We say that because there is a complete absence of any studies proving otherwise.
Just because a substance can help men somewhat reverse hypogonadism or low testosterone production when they are in their 60’s and 70’s does not mean that it will have a similar effect in men in their 20’s and 30’s.
That is why we always look for studies using younger, completely healthy volunteers; active men aged 18-55 with no fertility issues.
These are the people who mostly use testosterone boosters, so we need to be sure that they are going to work for them as well as for older guys!
Is Tongkat Ali Safe?
Fortunately, there is no indication in the scientific literature that Tongkat Ali is dangerous.
The trials so far conducted on this popular and widely-used testosterone booster have not reported any serious adverse effects in participants.
This is significant, as most of the participants in Tongkat Ali trials have been quite old! If anyone was going to experience side effects, you’d assume it would be them.
Tongkat Ali is used in hundreds of testosterone boosters on the market today. Users very rarely report side effects while using this stuff. Even mild side effects – such as bloating, cramps, and so on – seem to be pretty rare.
Of course, everyone is different.
This is still an unusual herb we’re talking about. It is only native to a small geographic area, and it is not a common food crop. As such, you will not be used to consuming Tongkat Ali – you really have no idea how you are going to react to it until you try it.
We therefore recommend getting proper medical advice from your GP before you use Tongkat Ali. You may have unusual allergies, sensitivities, or be on certain medications which make Tongkat Ali dangerous for you.
Please remember the following facts while reading our articles:
- We are not doctors
- This is not medical advice
All we are doing is discussing the main health risks for the average user as we see them. This is based on our research and personal experiences. To stay safe, you must talk to your regular doctor, or at the very least a qualified medical professional (not an internet chiropractor posing as a doctor). Do your own research carefully. Never take a supplement manufacturer at their word!
Is Tongkat Ali Right For You?
Whether or not you should really be using Tongkat Ali depends entirely on your own circumstances and your goals.
All of the studies showing significant effects from Tongkat Ali supplementation have looked at older men and women, men under clinically-diagnosed stress, or people struggling with fertility issues.
It seems that for these people, Tongkat Ali can make a big difference.
But there aren’t any studies looking at how it affects young, otherwise healthy men.
If you are 50-70 and struggling with low testosterone, then Tongkat Ali might be right for you.
If you are healthy but you think you could do with a little testosterone support as you get older, then there are probably better options out there – substances with a little more scientific proof specific to your circumstances.
Ashwagandha and Ginseng are the obvious choices there. They have a lot more backing than Tongkat Ali when it comes to boosting test levels in healthy people.
If you are a young guy looking to make gains in the gym, then we definitely think you should use a substance more in line with your goals – Tongkat Ali probably isn’t right for you!
For older guys who want to regain some vitality, muscle mass, and their sex drive, we recommend Centrapeak.
For younger guys who want to maximize gains in the gym, we recommend checking out TestoFuel.
If you want a testosterone booster that gives you amazing value for money, try Performance Lab SPORT T-Booster.