Tongkat Ali/Eurycoma boosts natural testosterone levels, if you source the right kind: LJ 100. Here’s what you need to know.
There are a lot of natural supplements that purportedly boost testosterone. Some work, and some don’t. But the one with the best track record and the most solid clinical research behind it is Tongkat Ali, derived from the Eurycoma longifolia plant. This stuff works, but only if you get your hands on the patented LJ 100 version.
Many supplement companies sell Tongkat Ali, either as a standalone product or as part of a formula. The problem? Some of these companies are selling something that has the testosterone-raising properties of a baloney sandwich.
Why do some Tongkat Ali/Eurycoma products raise testosterone while others don’t? Well, because some of these supplement companies are either corrupt or cheap. They use the discount stuff: improperly harvested and processed, low in active ingredients.
That’s why you need to check out a few things before buying a Tongkat Ali product.
You’ll almost always see concentration ratios listed on the labels of Tongkat Ali products to indicate their potency. For instance, 200:1 means the manufacturer allegedly took 200 kilograms of the Eurycoma plant/tree to produce 1 concentrated kilogram of Tongkat Ali.
Some manufacturers even claim a 500:1 concentration ratio. Wow, impressive, right? That sure must be some potent stuff.
Unfortunately, it’s merely a marketing ploy. What these bums undoubtedly did was take 200 or even 500 kilograms of the Eurycoma plant’s bark, leaves, and branches to produce the “extract.” The trouble is, it’s the root of the plant – and not the bark, leaves, or branches – where you find the highest concentration of bioactive substances.
As you might imagine, using only the roots to make a 100:1 extract is exceedingly costly, let alone a 200:1 or 500:1 extract. To my knowledge, no one’s manufactured a legit supplement that’s stronger than a 100:1, at least not using Malaysian Eurycoma (more on what makes the country’s Tongkat Ali special below).
As such, anything beyond a 100:1 concentration should be viewed with skepticism.
If you want vanilla, you get it from Madagascar. If you’re just mad about paella, you get the saffron you need to make it from Iran.
It’s the same with Eurycoma – only one place grows the best stuff: Malaysia. Now, the Tongkat Ali product you’re using might have been put into bottles in the U.S.A., but that’s okay as long as you check the source country, and that source country is Malaysia.
Unfortunately, few companies list the source country because they’re likely buying Eurycoma grown in Indonesia and smuggled into China where it’s resold to the American market.
Despite having a climate similar to that of Malaysia, Indonesian Tongkat Ali likely has a higher mercury content due to rampant illegal mining throughout the country. Neither does the Indonesian product adhere to a strict set of standards.
Malaysia, however, takes pride in its Eurycoma crop. They’ve even established Tongkat Ali standards that must be met by every ounce of legally grown and harvested Eurycoma. It’s called Malaysian Standards MS2409, and it includes safety measures such as microbial load limit and heavy metal content.
It also ensures sustainable harvesting (all of Malaysia’s Eurycoma – the stuff that’s produced legally – is harvested manually using hand-held tools). This standard also ensures that Tongkat Ali products contain high amounts of eurycomane, the active ingredient.
So, read the label or product literature and make sure the source country is Malaysia.
There are generally three methods through which manufacturers extract the good stuff from Eurycoma:
- First up is ethanol extraction, which is inexpensive but results in a product with low bioactive ingredients. It’s also the most common method.
- Hot-water extraction results in a higher yield of bioactive compounds, but it’s relatively rare.
- Hot water freeze-dried extraction results in the highest yield, but it’s super rare (because it’s elaborate and expensive).
If possible, look for products that employ the hot water freeze-dried extraction method.
I hesitate to tell you about some of the other stuff that makes for a good Tongkat Ali product because, frankly, there’s no way you’ll be able to easily confirm whether a product is adhering to these rules.
For instance, the Eurycoma root with the highest concentration of active ingredient comes from a plant that’s at least 5 years old. Unfortunately, premature plants averaging 2 to 3 years old are often harvested illegally for mass export to China. They’re then sold as Tongkat Ali powder to hapless (or perhaps not so hapless) manufacturers in the U.S. and other countries.
An effective Tongkat Ali product is also single origin. That means it was harvested at the same location by the same indigenous community (the Orang Asli) in the Malaysian rainforests. Too often, manufacturers lump together products from several sometimes-undisclosed locations and blend them together to make a substandard product.
Single-source Tongkat Ali, however, has higher concentrations of eurycomane and glycosaponin (the bioactive ingredients) while also providing for better long-term sustainability and a continued superior product.
I’ll admit, you’d have to hire some sort of supplement sleuth to cross off the items on this Tongkat Ali-quality checklist. There is a shortcut, however.
Back in 2006, the Government of Malaysia, along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (yeah, MIT), were granted a patent (US 7,132,117 B2). This patent is titled “Bioactive Fraction of Eurycoma Longifolia,” describing a standardized Eurycoma product that adheres to all the guidelines I described above.
The product, known as LJ 100 (on Amazon) but known as AKARALI Physta in Malaysia, contains 22% eurypeptides and 40% glycosaponins, which is an exceedingly strong complement of active ingredients.
This MIT-formulated extract has undergone more than 26 clinical trials since 2003, all of which showed LJ 100 to increase testosterone levels. Various doses were used, ranging from 100 mg. of extract once a day to 600 mg. twice a day. (Most of the time, higher dosages resulted in better outcomes, but it wasn’t definitive.)
This is why Biotest uses LJ 100 and only LJ 100 in Alpha Male (on Amazon). It’s also why you should look at your current Tongkat Ali product (unless it’s Alpha Male) and scrutinize the label to confirm they’re using LJ 100 (aka Physta). More easily, though, you could just switch to Biotest’s product when you reach the bottom of the bottle you’re currently using.