"Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects"
Published by: Shawn M Talbott, Julie A Talbott, Annie George, and Mike Pugh
The current study found that daily supplementation with tongkat ali root extract (200 mg/day) improves stress hormone profile (lower cortisol; higher testosterone) and certain mood state parameters (lower tension, anger, and confusion). These findings are in agreement with several recent supplementation trials in humans, suggesting that tongkat ali may be an effective approach to shielding the body from the detrimental effects of chronic stress from daily stressors, dieting for weight loss, sleep deprivation, and intense exercise training.
Previous studies have determined that Eurycoma longifolia contains a group of small peptides referred to as “eurypeptides” that are known to have effects in improving energy status and sex drive in studies of rodents. The precise mechanism by which eurypeptides or tongkat ali root extract restores normal testosterone levels is unknown, but has been suggested as influencing the release rate of “free” testosterone from its binding hormone, sex-hormone-binding-globulin (SHBG)
In two recent studies of young men undergoing a weight-training regimen tongkat ali supplementation (100 mg/day) improved lean body mass, 1-RM strength, and arm circumference to a significantly greater degree compared to a placebo group.
In a recent 12-week trial of Eurycoma longifolia supplementation (300 mg/day), men (30–55 years of age) showed significant improved compared to placebo in the Physical Functioning domain of the SF-36 quality of life survey. In addition, sexual libido was increased by 11% (week 6) and 14% (week 12) and abdominal fat mass was significantly reduced in subjects with BMI > 25 kg/m2.
In men with low testosterone levels (average age 51 years), one month of daily supplementation with tongkat ali extract (200 mg/day) resulted in a significant improvement in serum testosterone levels and quality-of-life parameters, suggesting a role for tongkat ali as an “adaptogen” against aging-related stress. Another study of healthy adult males (average age 25 years), 100 mg/day of tongkat ali extract added to an intensive strength training program (every other day for 8 weeks) resulted in significant improvements in fat-free mass, fat mass, maximal strength (1-RM) and arm circumference compared to a placebo group. These results indicate that tongkat ali extract is able to enhance muscle mass and strength gains, while accelerating fat loss, in healthy exercisers, and thus, may be considered a natural ergogenic aid for athletes and dieters alike.
One study of middle-aged women (aged 45–59 years) found that twice-weekly strength training plus 100 mg/day of Eurycoma longifolia extract for 12 weeks enhanced fat free mass to a greater degree compared to women adhering to the same strength training program and taking a placebo. Additional studies in dieters and athleteshave shown 50-100 mg/day of tongkat ali extract to help restore normal testosterone levels in supplemented dieters (compared to a typical drop in testosterone among non-supplemented dieters) and supplemented athletes (compared to a typical drop in non-supplemented athletes). In one trial of endurance cyclists cortisol levels were 32% lower and testosterone levels were 16% higher in supplemented subjects compared to placebo, indicating a more favorable biochemical profile for promoting an “anabolic” hormone state.
For a dieter, it would be expected for cortisol to rise and testosterone to fall following several weeks of dieting . This change in hormone balance (elevated cortisol and suppressed testosterone) is an important factor leading to the familiar “plateau” that many dieters hit (when weight loss slows/stops) after 6–8 weeks on a weight loss regimen. By maintaining normal testosterone levels, a dieter could expect to also maintain their muscle mass and metabolic rate (versus a drop in both subsequent to lower testosterone levels) – and thus continue to lose weight without plateauing.
For an athlete, the same rise in cortisol and drop in testosterone is an early signal of “overtraining” – a syndrome characterized by reduced performance, increased injury rates, suppressed immune system activity, increased appetite, moodiness, and weight gain. Maintenance of normal cortisol/testosterone levels in eurycoma-supplemented subjects may be able to prevent or reduce some of these overtraining symptoms as well as help the athlete to recover faster and more completely from daily training bouts.
These results indicate that daily supplementation with a properly standardized tongkat ali root extract improves stress hormone profile and certain mood state parameters, suggesting that this “ancient” remedy may be an effective approach to shielding the body from the detrimental effects of “modern” chronic stress, which may include general day-to-day stress, as well as the stress of dieting, sleep deprivation, and exercise training.