Tongkat Ali is the commonly used name for a herb called Eurycoma Longifolia Jack. The plant itself is an evergreen shrub-tree that is most common in Southeast Asia.
Historically, the herb has been viewed as an aphrodisiac and is thought to help boost sexual performance. These potential impacts have dramatically increased its popularity, resulting in the development of Tongkat Ali supplements.
In fact, the plant is in such high demand that it is considered to be a protected species (1).
So, what does all this mean?
It’s clear that there is a lot of interest in Tongkat Ali supplements and there can be no doubt that they are popular. But, what do Tongkat Ali reviews have to say? More importantly, does the herb actually offer the claimed benefits?
After all, if you’re going to take a supplement regularly, you want to know that there are at least some advantages for doing so.
How does Tongkat Ali work?
The basic idea behind Tongkat Ali is the same as for any supplement, or even the fruits and vegetables that you regularly include in your diet. Basically, plants contain a wide range of different compounds, many of which can have significant impacts on the human body.
In the case of Tongkat Ali, it isn’t always clear which compounds are contributing to observed benefits or what mechanisms are behind any effects.
However, some of the research has focused on using extracts, particularly those containing a combination of bioactive compounds (2).
Relying on extracts like this can potentially result in increased health benefits. However, much more research is needed before the action of Tongkat Ali is fully understood.
Tongkat Ali Benefits and Research
There is a large number of different herbs in the world and many of these are actively used in herbal medicine and/or herbal supplements. Because of this, the research for any given herb is often relatively limited.
Nevertheless, there have been studies conducted on Tongkat Ali, along with evidence that the herb meets some of the claims surrounding it.
So, let’s take a look at what the research has to say.
Tongkat Ali and Testosterone
Much of the hype and marketing for Tongkat Ali comes down to testosterone.
As people age, natural levels of testosterone decrease and many argue that this contributes to health issues and decline in many areas.
In particular, decreased testosterone is often linked to poor sexual performance and can potentially contribute to muscle loss as well (3).
In fact, increasing testosterone is sometimes viewed as one way to decrease age-related muscle loss in males.
Because of this, various supplements are promoted as ways to improve testosterone levels and also health. One example of this is ashwagandha root and another is Nugenix, which is specifically promoted as a testosterone booster. There are also approaches to increase testosterone naturally. For example, the site Jacked Factory discusses 56 ways to do so.
Yet, despite this, the evidence for Tongkat Ali and testosterone is actually extremely limited. This is best summarized by the editors over at Examine.com, who had this to say about the supplement.
So, there have been no good human studies that provide that Tongkat Ali increases testosterone and even the animal studies have been extremely limited.
Now, there were some studies that did show effects in humans but these aren’t what you would expect.
For example, one study showed an increase in testosterone levels for patients with hypogonadism. Among other things, this condition results in decreased testosterone (4). As such, the outcomes of the study have no relevance to testosterone levels among average users.
The pattern of research suggests that despite Tongkat Ali reviews and all the marketing, the supplement isn’t likely to impact testosterone levels. It could still have other impacts on sexual health but the evidence for increased testosterone levels simply isn’t there.
Marketing focuses on the potential of Tongkat Ali to increase testosterone levels but there is no significant evidence to suggest that it does this
Some research does suggest that Tongkat Ali may play a role in increasing sexual performance and potentially improving sexual health for males in a range of ways.
For example, one study indicated that the supplement could help promote erections, although the size of this effect tended to be relatively minor (5).
In a similar way, Tongkat Ali has been linked to increased libido (6).
Research also indicates that Tongkat Ali can improve sperm motility and volume of semen (7).
Beyond the research, there are also many self-reported views that Tongkat Ali can help with sexual performance. We’ll discuss some of these when looking at Tongkat Ali reviews.
However, it’s important to note that any topic like sexual performance is extremely subjective. Because of this, people will sometimes see the outcomes that they want or expect.
Some evidence does suggest that Tongkat Ali may improve sexual health for men in a number of ways
Other Health Benefits
For the most part, Tongkat Ali reviews and benefits tend to focus on the sexual impacts of the supplement. Indeed, Tongkat Ali is often included in articles about natural ways to improve sexual health and performance, such as this piece from Conscious Lifestyle Magazine.
However, there are also other relevant areas. For example, one study indicated that Tongkat Ali supplementation increased a sense of well-being and quality of life (8).
However, this was the same study that also looked at outcomes like libido and erections. As a result, the improved sense of wellbeing could simply be the result of the positive sexual outcomes.
Research also indicates that Tongkat Ali can help to improve the stress hormone profile in participants who are ‘moderately’ stressed. Unlike most other outcomes, this one was true for males and females (9).
Another study found that supplementing with Tongkat Ali could help decrease weight but only in overweight and obese men (10).
It was not clear what the underlying mechanism for that effect was.
A pilot study also suggested that Tongkat Ali supplementation could improve lean muscle mass and strength, although that study found no impact on fat mass (11).
That paper was also presented at a conference (rather than being published) and had a very small sample size. As a result, a more detailed study is needed to confirm the findings.
One other thing to note is that many of the researched benefits of Tongkat Ali are connected to just one research study. Now, that study was relatively recent (published in 2012) and was well designed.
Nevertheless, one study isn’t enough to confirm any finding. As such, the various health benefits connected to Tongkat Ali need to be viewed with caution and as preliminary conclusions.
This doesn’t mean that you should avoid Tongkat Ali. However, be aware that you may not see all of these benefits yourself.
Tongkat Ali has been linked to some other health benefits, including reduced levels of stress hormones and weight loss. But, more research is needed
Tongkat Ali Reviews
With so many different brands out there, looking at Tongkat Ali reviews can be somewhat confusing and overwhelming. After all, the reviews tend to be based on Tongkat Ali and also on the specific brand. But, if you look on Amazon, you'll see that most products get similar reviews to other supplements.
In particular, there are more positive reviews but still a decent number of negative ones.
This is partly due to the nature of supplements. Many people who buy them are already convinced about the potential benefits. That aspect alone increases the odds that they'll have a positive experience. After all, most of the potential outcomes are subjective. Customers have no way of being certain that they're better off when they take Tongkat Ali regularly.
One interesting pattern is that many positive reviews are for appetite suppressing and energy effects, rather than sexual health.
Of course, there are many people who experience no effect at all - regardless of the brand.
This suggests that, in general, Tongkat Ali supplementation probably works for some people and not for others. The research also supports that idea, although I’m not confident that the supplement would increase energy.
Nevertheless, some of those observed effects may be connected to the placebo effect.
As with most supplements, it is hard to come to a definitive answer. After all, people differ in many ways, including in their patterns of behavior and the food they eat. This means that a given supplement may affect two people very differently.
At the end of the day, this suggests that Tongkat Ali reviews may only get you so far. If you truly want to know whether this supplement works, the best approach may be to try it for yourself.
Still, as always, it’s worth consulting your doctor before you do, especially if you have a health condition. Supplements can interact with other medications or with pre-existing conditions and it’s worth being confident about your safety before you begin.
Tongkat Ali reviews tend to be fairly positive with many users reporting benefits. However, others don't see any impact of the supplement at all
Buying Tongkat Ali
Tongkat Ali is a relatively common supplement and it’s particularly prevalent online.
For example, Amazon lists a large number of different Tongkat Ali supplements, both in the form of capsules and powder.
Likewise, the various supplements vary in price and how much Tongkat Ali they actually contain.
The Tongkat Ali reviews for these differ considerably, partly depending on the individual product and also because of the impacts that Tongkat Ali has.
But, if you’re interested in buying Tongkat Ali as a supplement, then it’s important to shop carefully.
For one thing, the supplement industry is largely unregulated. As a result of this, there is often a difference between the ingredients list and what products actually contain.
In some cases, supplements are completely counterfeit and may not contain any of the promoted ingredients at all. In other cases, you may end up with less of the active ingredient than the label claims (12).
If you’re wanting health benefits, then making sure you’re actually consuming the right ingredients is a critical first step. Paying attention to the brand can help with this, along with where the product is produced.
Some people also recommend choosing supplements with USP certification and/or an NSF label. These both act as indicators of quality and USP certification means that the product has actually been tested.
There are certainly legitimate brands out there that don’t use either type of label. But, this can often be a good place to start.
You can also look at the FDA’s Tainted Products list to find out whether there are any specific supplements that you should be avoiding.
Tongkat Ali can be readily purchased online and there are many brands to choose from
Tongkat Ali Dose
Because there have been relatively few studies on Tongkat Ali, the ideal dose isn’t clear. Indeed, there haven’t even been enough studies to know which doses show effects.
As such, the simple answer may be to start with a low dose and work up from there.
It’s also worth mentioning that there are various extracts.
For example, some of these are 1:50, 1:100 and so on. The idea here is the ratio of Tongkat Ali (the entire herb) to the extract. As such, higher ratios (like 1:200 etc.) will mean more extract for the amount of the entire herb.
Because the extract is supposed to contain mostly the bioactive compounds, a higher ratio should potentially offer more benefits. But really, it’s almost impossible to know without more research.
Again, the most realistic pattern may be to start low and work up.
However, that pattern doesn't mean you have to try multiple products. Instead, you might choose one and increase your dosage over time. This is particularly easy to do if you're using a powder rather than a capsule.
There is no recommended dosage for Tongkat Ali but starting low and increasing your dose over time may work the best
Tongkat Ali: Hype vs Reality
Overall, there is some evidence that Tongkat Ali may act as an aphrodisiac and might also improve some areas of sexual health and performance. However, the evidence is fairly limited and the effect sizes were typically small.
As a result, it’s extremely clear that Tongkat Ali doesn’t live up to the hype surrounding it. For that matter, there is no significant evidence that Tongkat Ali improves testosterone levels – and that is one of the key claims made about it.
It’s also worth noting that much of the hype about Tongkat Ali is extremely misleading. For example, this is one claim made on a site about supplements.
Yet, the claim and the proof the site provides is based on the impact of testosterone, not Tongkat Ali itself. Similar patterns are true on other sites as well.
So, what does this mean in practice?
The presence of some positive Tongkat Ali reviews, along with the research, suggests that the supplement may still be beneficial for some men. It is also a natural option, which may be more appealing than getting something prescribed by your doctor.
Nevertheless, it’s important to choose your supplement carefully and to be realistic about your expectations.
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