The nootropic world is filled with a seemingly endless list of substances that are purported to have cognitive benefits.
One of the most popular at the moment seems to be Tongkat Ali, Longjack, or Eurycoma longifolia.
But what is it?
What does it do?
And how does it stack up against other nootropics in your daily regimen?
Read on for more information about this lesser-known substance and its potential place in your nootropic stack!
What is Tongkat Ali?
Tongkat Ali, also known by its more common name, Longjack, is a plant that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries.
It's native to the Malaysian rainforest, but it can now be found growing naturally around much of Southeast Asia (including Thailand) as well as parts of Africa.
Studies in rats and mice have shown that Tongkat Ali can enhance cognitive function, including memory and learning.
Because it has been used in traditional medicine, there has been some research into whether or not Tongkat Ali might help prevent age-related mental decline during which the brain naturally begins to lose mass and volume.
One study found that 300mg of Tongkat Ali per day was able to reduce an animal's anxiety levels by 40%.
Another study, this time in humans, found that the participants who took a testosterone supplement experienced increased energy and mood.
What Does Tongkat Ali Do?
As we mentioned previously, there is research to suggest that Tongkat Ali can improve cognitive function and memory.
It has also been shown to have a positive effect on mood and increase energy, which is why it has been used as a treatment for erectile dysfunction.
You may have heard that Tongkat Ali does the same thing as testosterone supplements.
In some ways, this is true-it can help to boost your libido-but you shouldn't expect to see the same dramatic changes as if you were taking a traditional testosterone supplement.
One study on rats found that Tongkat Ali raised levels of sex hormones (at least in male rats), but it did not affect muscle strength or weight gain, unlike actual steroids.
Health Benefits of Tongkat Ali
The major bioactive component in Eurycoma longifolia's roots is quassinoids.
Eurycomanone, for example, is a highly sought-after ingredient because of its supposed strength and testosterone-boosting capabilities.
Because most people are interested in the modern-day advantages that are aggressively promoted (and not in Tongkat Ali's folk medicine applications), we'll look at its health advantages via Eurycomanone effects.
In essence, a standardized Tongkat Ali root extract has the following science-backed benefits:
- Aids in the reduction of estrogen-related gynecomastia by promoting normal testosterone levels and synthesis.
- Improves male fertility
- Promotes increased energy levels, strength, and performance
- Promotes a good mood and healthy stress levels
- It also encourages better bone density and health.
People who take it as a nootropic supplement do so because they want to increase their energy levels, memory recall, and mood.
It can be taken on its own or stacked with other supplements to help your mind function at full capacity.
When you stack Tongkat Ali with Piracetam, for example, you'll enjoy an increased mental capacity and a more relaxed mood.
On its own, on the other hand, Tongkat Ali is used as an effective nootropic for those who want to increase their libido or improve their energy levels without having to rely on caffeine-based stimulants.
How Tongkat Ali Promotes Testosterone Synthesis
For hundreds, if not thousands of years, Tongkat Ali has been used for male-related problems in conjunction with its ability to promote blood flow.
The major explanation?
According to scientific evidence today, Eurycoma longifolia — with a high enough concentration of the active component Eurycomanone — can boost healthy testosterone levels.
And greater testosterone levels have been linked to enhanced sexual desire and interest.
Taking a Tongkat Ali Extract with a particular amount of Eurycomanone might improve overall testosterone (the total amount of testosterone in your body, both bound and unbound) and free testosterone (testosterone that is not bound to other molecules, allowing it to be utilized for a variety of bodily processes).
Unfortunately, many Tongkat Ali supplements lack substantial quantities of Eurycomanone, meaning that you're trusting several businesses when they claim to contain it.
Eurycomanone, the active component in Tongkat Ali, has been found to regulate estrogen and estrogen-related chemical synthesis. As a result, this mechanism encourages testosterone production by stimulating both free testosterone and free testosterone levels.
The Leydig cells, which are most of them found in the testes, are responsible for testosterone production.
They require the signal from two essential organs: the hypothalamus (which is involved with a variety of activities) and the pituitary gland (which is concerned with growth and development).
Normally, when the hypothalamus and pituitary gland send a message to the Leydig cells, testosterone is produced.
Estradiol sends a message to the hypothalamus and pituitary gland after the body believes testosterone levels are enough.
They then send the information to the testes, which slows down testosterone production.
Estradiol inhibits the DHEA, making it impossible for testosterone synthesis to continue where it would otherwise stop when Eurycomanone is introduced.
There are a variety of other advantages connected with supplementing with Tongkat Ali, including increased energy levels and a more positive mood, which are all linked to the herb's most powerful active component.
How Tongkat Ali Promotes Better Energy Levels and Strength
Eurycomanone (and other Quassinoids) is one of the few scientifically demonstrated testosterone-boosting substances isolated from Tongkat Ali.
For its muscle strength and athletic performance support, bodybuilders and professional athletes frequently use Tongkat Ali.
Although the majority of Longjack dietary supplements are insufficient in their composition of beneficial active substances or have no traces of Eurycomanone (or Eurycoma longifolia), this means that most benefits gained from these pills are placebo or the result of extra stimulants.
Due to testosterone's mechanism that improves power output, overall strength, and anaerobic power in humans, a Tongkat Ali supplement with adequate Eurycomanone levels can assist lean body mass growth and performance.
According to a study, men who trained with weights and took a Longjack extract grew more lean muscle tissue than those who took a placebo.
The subjects who took the placebo also had lower levels of fat loss than the men who received a pill containing Tongkat Ali, suggesting that it may help promote healthy weight levels as well.
Is It Safe?
Tongkat Ali is a very safe supplement, but you should still check with your doctor before adding it to your stack.
It can interact poorly with some medications and has been known to cause certain side effects in some individuals who take it as an aphrodisiac.
If you are taking antidepressants or anticoagulants, Tongkat Ali might not be for you.
How Should You Take It?
Tongkat Ali is available in capsule, powder, and liquid form so it's easy to add to your daily regimen.
We recommend starting with 100-400mg per day of the Tongkat Ali extract if were taking it as a nootropic or libido booster (which can be taken once per day).
If you are taking it to treat erectile dysfunction, start with a lower dose of 100 mg twice daily.
Be sure to take Tongkat Ali in the morning and early afternoon so that your body has time to process before going to bed.
Tongkat Ali has a place in your stack if you are looking to increase testosterone and energy levels.
Since it is an effective way of doing so, Tongkat Ali can also help with weight loss and lean muscle gains as well as athletic performance.
The supplement must have adequate levels of Eurycomanone or "Longjack" for maximum benefits, so make sure you are buying a high-quality product.
As with all dietary supplements, check with your doctor before adding Tongkat Ali to your stack for safety reasons and potential side effects.