Effect of Eurycoma longifolia Extract on Anabolic
Balance During Endurance Exercise

Talbott S, Talbott J, Negrete J, Jones M, Nichols M, and Roza J.

Background

Eurycoma longifolia, commonly known as “Tongkat Ali” or “Longjack,” is often touted as a testosterone “booster” and marketed to athletes as a training aid and performance enhancer. Rodent studies have shown oral delivery of Eurycoma extract to improve sexual performance and increase serum testosterone levels. Open-label human trials have suggested that Eurycoma extract may help prevent age-associated androgen deficiency, improve sexual function, and increase psychological parameters such as mood, energy, and sense of well-being.

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of Eurycoma longifolia on testosterone and cortisol levels during intense endurance exercise.

Methods

We used a water-soluble extract of Eurycoma longifolia (E) standardized to 22% eurypeptides and 40% glycosaponins. Male subjects (N=30) were recruited from a 24- hour mountain biking event and asked to provide a saliva sample before and after each lap for measurement of cortisol and testosterone by enzyme immunoassay (Salimetrics, State College, PA). Subjects completed 4 laps (14.91 miles/lap) and provided 8 saliva samples over a 24h period. Subjects consumed 100mg of E (N = 15) or a look-alike placebo (P, N = 15) approximately 30 minutes prior to endurance exercise.

Results

Cortisol levels were 32.3% lower in E compared to P (0.552+0.665 versus 0.816+0.775 ug/dL, P < 0.05). Testosterone levels were 16.4% higher in E compared to P (86.72+40.90 versus 72.47+33.77 pg/mL, P < 0.05).

Conclusions

These results suggest that Eurycoma longifolia extract may help to maintain normal levels of cortisol (low) and testosterone (high) and thus promote an overall “anabolic” hormonal state (versus a “catabolic” state characterized by elevated cortisol and suppressed testosterone) during intense endurance exercise.

References:

Ahmad N, Teh BP, Halim SZ, Zolkifli NA, Ramli N, Muhammad H. (2020), Eurycoma longifolia-Infused Coffee-An Oral Toxicity Study Nutrients, Volume 12(10), Pages 3125. doi: 10.3390/nu12103125.

Bhat, Rajeev; Karim, A.A. (2010), Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia Jack): A review on its ethnobotany and pharmacological importance, Fitoterapia, Volume 81, Issue 7, Pages 669-679

Bucci LR. (2000), Selected herbals and human exercise performance, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 72(2 Suppl) Pages 624S–36S

Hamzah, S. & Yusof, A. (2003), The ergogenic effects of Eurycoma longifolia Jack: a pilot study, British Journal of Sports Medicine, Volume 37: 464-470.

Henkel, Ralf R.; Wang, Ruxiang; Bassett, Susan H.; Chen, Tao; Liu, Na; Zhu,Ying ; Tambi, Mohd Ismail (2013), Tongkat Ali as a Potential Herbal Supplement for Physically Active Male and Female Seniors—A Pilot Study, Phytotherapy Research,Volume 28, Issue 4, Pages 544-550

Mohammad NA, Razaly NI, Rani MDM, Aris MSM, Effendy NM. (2018), An Evidence-Based Review: The Effects of Malaysian Traditional Herbs on Osteoporotic Rat Models, Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences Volume 25(4) Pages 6-30. doi: 10.21315/mjms2018.25.4.2.

Woodhouse, L. J., Gupta, N., Bhasin, M., Singh, A. B., Ross, R. et al. (2004), Dose-dependent effects of testosterone on regional adipose tissue distribution in healthy young men, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 89, Pages 718-26.

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