How to increase testosterone naturally has become all the
rage since low testosterone levels have been associated with decreased physical
fitness, and even cardiovascular disease in aging men.
A recent study just published in the biomedical journal Andrologia, May 2012, offers promising news on how to increase testosterone naturally using Tongkat ali, also known as eurycoma longifolia or Malaysian ginseng.
MI Tambi, and colleagues tested a natural herbal testosterone supplement that is frequently used in Africa, South America, and Asia to treat a variety of ailments. Tongkat ali is used to treat male infertility and chronically low testosterone levels in men. It is commonly touted as an aphrodisiac.
When given to rats, Tongkat ali, also known as Malaysian Ginseng, or eurycoma longifolia increased testosterone levels. This prompted researchers to ask: Can Tongkat ali increase testosterone naturally in men diagnosed with clinically low levels of testosterone?
This study focused only on males with late-onset
hypogonadism (LOH). Hypogonadism is the decreased function of the testicles
that can result in the shrinkage of testicles and changes in male
characteristics such as hair growth, muscle mass, sweating, and more.Late-onset hypogonadism occurs in adult males
and is usually tied to aging.
320 subjects were enrolled in the study if they could be
confirmed as having low testosterone levels based on a combination of both
symptoms, and the levels of testosterone in their blood.
Subjects were required to take 200 mg each dayof a
water-soluble extract of Tongkat ali for 1 month.
At the end of the study, testosterone levels of the patients had increased an average of 46.8%, with 69% of the patients now being classified as having testosterone levels in the normal range.
In total, Tongkat ali was proven to be useful in treating clinical late onset hypogonadism ; and it may be useful in treating other forms of hypogonadism, by increasing testosterone levels and reducing unpleasant symptoms.
There are a few things to consider before running out to get your Togkat ali supplement…
It is important to note that “normal testosterone levels,”
as measured in this study, could rangefrom 6-30 nmol/L.
Compliance was a problem – with only 76 of the original participants (25%) included in the final results, because the other 244 did not take the extract as prescribed and/or did not return for the follow-up questionnaire and blood draw.
There was no mention whatsoever about the side effects of
this treatment for low testosterone. Ideally that would indicate that side
effects were minimal or non-existent, but one has to wonder with such a low
level of compliance. Commercial
preparations of eurycoma longifolia claim few and minor side effects.
The final sample size was relatively small, and no
placebo-control was employed.
The patients were all Malay, Indian, or Chinese; this means
that people of other ethnicities and races may not have the same results based
on differences in metabolism or genetic interactions.
The study does not state whether the patients were exclusively
using this treatment for low testosterone, or using it alongside other forms of
treatment, or other prescriptions. Tongkat
ali is known to change the bioavailability of other pharmaceuticals, putting this
herb on a cautionary list for anyone currently taking prescription drugs.
Keep in mind that Tongkat ali goes by several names. The testosterone supplement for men used in this study was Eurycoma longifolia, derived from Tongkat ali. It is also called Malaysian ginseng. Therefore, that is the supplement that should be used to increase testosterone naturally. One would not expect the same results with other types of ginseng. For example, there is no evidence that mountain ginseng (Panax ginseng) will increase low testosterone levels in men.
In the end, if you are a male suffering from low testosterone, you may benefit from taking Tongkat ali (Eurycoma longifolia, or Malaysian ginseng) to increase testosterone naturally. However, the lack of stringency in this study and multiple caveats puts it squarely in the “inconclusive” and “cautionary” category as far as I can see.
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Tambi MI, MK Imran, RR Henkel. "Standardised water-soluble extract of Eurycoma longifolia, Tongkat ali, as testosterone booster for managing men with late-onset hypogonadism?" Andrologia. 2012 May;44 Suppl 1:226-30.
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