Tongkat Ali and Fadogia Agrestis have become a popular combo for boosting testosterone ever since Andrew Huberman talked about it. This combo became even more viral when Andrew talked about this combo on Joe Rogan’s podcast.
Multiple companies have popped up selling the combo Tongkat Ali and Fadogia.
But are these herbs backed up by science? Human science? Are they really effective?
Let’s find out.
Tongkat Ali for testosterone, libido and erections.
Tongkat Ali (TA), Long Jack, or Eurycoma longifolia is a common herbal shrub found along the slopes of hilly terrains in the Malaysian rainforests in Southeast Asia.
The roots of Tongkat Ali, often called “Malaysian ginseng”, are used as an adaptogen and as a traditional “anti-aging” remedy to help older individuals adapt to the reduced energy, mood, and sexual arousal that often comes with age.
Health benefits of Tongkat Ali:
- Decreases hesitation time and increases right decision-making (R).
- Anti-malaria (R, R).
- Anti-cancer (R, R).
- Potent anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-parasite (R, R).
- Anti-inflammatory (R, R).
- Anti-anxiety (R, R).
- Anti-depressant (R, R).
- Anti-diabetic (R, R, R, R).
- Potent antiulcer effect (R, R).
- Anti-Rheumatism effect (R, R).
- Very protective against kidney damage and can significantly decrease creatinine and urea and increase creatinine and urea clearance (R).
- Aphrodisiac (R).
Tongkat Ali & Testosterone
Studies have shown that Tongkat Ali can increase testosterone levels in humans (men) in a dose-dependent manner.
Meaning, 200mg of Tongkat Ali can increase testosterone by about 25-50ng/dl, whereas 600mg daily can increase testosterone by 120ng/dl on average.
The cool thing about Tongkat Ali is that it can increase testosterone in young, healthy males, with already high testosterone.
According to this clinical trial, 600 mg of Tongkat Ali extract (1.45% eurycomanone; 8.5mg total) increased young (average age 24 years) males’ total testosterone from 802 to 924ng/dl in just 14 days.
Make sure you don’t buy just any Tongkat herbal supplement, but get a product specifying eurycomanone content, which seems to be the main ingredient for increasing testosterone production. The best Tongkat Ali supplement will have a high eurycomanone content.
In summary, use at least 8mg+ eurycomanone per day for a good increase in testosterone.
Some studies describe Tongkat Ali as more of a testosterone restorer than a stimulator. It can even replace TRT for increasing bone mineral density (R).
How Tongkat Ali increases testosterone
It increases or restores testosterone levels mainly by:
- Inhibiting aromatase
- Inhibiting phosphodiesterase (lowers the breakdown of cAMP, which then increases StAR)
- Protecting the testes from oxidative stress
- Suppressing α-2-HS glycoprotein expression (excess expression can promote inflammation) (R, R).
- Activating steroidogenic enzymes, such as the CYP17 enzyme (17 alpha-hydroxylase and 17,20 lyase) that enhances the metabolism of pregnenolone and progesterone to yield more DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) and androstenedione, respectively.
Tongkat Ali and erections
According to this study, the combination of 200mg of Tongkat Ali and 100mg of Polygonum minus significantly improve erectile function after 12 weeks (R). The supplement group reported that they were able to achieve harder erections firm enough for penetration as well as staying hard long enough for the whole encounter. Overall, sexual satisfaction more than doubled after 12 weeks.
In this 2021 study, older adults used 200mg Tongkat Ali and did concurrent training for 6 months. This significantly improved the erectile function of men with low testosterone (R).
Tongkat Ali has potent aphrodisiac effects
Many research studies show that Tongkat Ali causes significant increases in libido and sexual function.
Other benefits of Tongkat Ali
Tongkat Ali is also an adaptogen as seen by significant improvements in tension (−11%), anger (−12%), and confusion (−15%) after a 200mg dose. It also significantly improves the stress hormone profile (salivary cortisol and testosterone) by lowering cortisol exposure (−16%), increasing testosterone status (+37%) and improving the overall cortisol:testosterone ratio (−36%) (R).
In the dieting and overtraining arena, Tongkat Ali has been shown to reduce fatigue, boost energy levels and mood, improve stress resilience, improve the sense of well-being, prevent the decrease in the metabolic rate and testosterone from dieting and help to maintain the normal cortisol:testosterone balance to prevent overtraining syndrome and to enhance body composition and accelerate postexercise recovery (R, R).
A few studies have also found that Tongkat Ali increases muscle mass and strength, reduces fat mass and improves athletic performance (R, R). However, don’t expect miracles from it in that regard. For proper muscle and strength gains and fat loss, a proper training program and meal plan and the guidance and assistance of an expert in the field will get you there.
Tongkat Ali has been classified as extremely safe according to the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).
I think it’s a great herb to use and to have in your arsenal. Just be sure to get a good extract like the ones below.
Tongkat Ali side effects
In general Tongkat Ali is very well tolerated. The most commonly reported adverse effects are insomnia, irritability and restlessness. This is because Tongkat Ali increases dopamine and noradrenaline, which, in excess, can make you feel overstimulated. However, that’s also how it boosts energy, libido, muscle strength and physical performance.
If this happens to you, just take a lower dose.
Fadogia Agrestis boosts testosterone and makes you horny AF
Fadogia Agrestis is a perennial shrub that is native to West Africa. It’s been used in African traditional medicine for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Aphrodisiac: it enhances male sexual performance and libido.
- Anti-inflammatory: It has also been used to treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, joint pain, and muscle pain.
- Anti-microbial: It has antimicrobial properties and has been used to treat bacterial and fungal infections.
- Blood sugar control: it can lower elevated blood glucose levels in animal studies.
- Testosterone booster: it’s been shown to increase testosterone in animal studies.
Unlike Tongkat Ali, Fadogia Agrestis hasn’t been studied in humans yet.
However, it’s been used for a long time in Nigeria as an aphrodisiac and management of ED so it does have value.
Fadioga Agrestis increases testosterone 6 fold
In this animal study, the water extract of Fadogia increased testosterone 6 fold in albino rats after just 5 days (R).
The different doses used were 18, 50 and 100mg/kg of the extract. That would translate to 291.89 mg, 810.81 and 1621.62mg for a 100kg individual.
Fadogia can make your testicles bigger
In this animal study, Fadogia has been shown to increase testicular weight (R).
The main reason how I think Fadogia increases testosterone is because it increases intratesticular cholesterol in a dose-dependent manner. Cholesterol, specifically free cholesterol, is used for the production of testosterone. Hypogonadal individuals tend to have low testicular free cholesterol, but elevated cholesterol esters.
Fadogia also increased glycogen and sialic acid.
The glycogen content in the cell indicates energy storage. Sertoli cells and spermatogonia often contain glycogen as a fuel reserve for seminiferous tubular cells. The glycogen level has been found to be directly proportional to the steroid hormones (R).
Sialic acid acts as a ‘lubricant’ to facilitate the movement of sperm and to reduce friction among spermatozoa. The significant increase in testicular sialic acid at higher doses might enhance lubrication for sperm. Increased sialic acid contents in the testis may enhance the structural integrity of the acrosomal membrane, which ultimately may enhance the motility and fertilizing capacity of spermatozoa (R).
Fadogia potently enhances libido and sexual function
In short, Fadogia made these rats super horny. Here are 5 metrics the scientists looked at:
- Mount frequency (MF): the number of mounts without penetration.
- Intromission frequency (IF): the number of pumps the rat gave during sex.
- Mount latency: how quick the male was to mount when he was introduced to the female.
- Intromission latency: time until first penetration.
- Ejaculatory latency: how long he lasted during sex. This is characterized by longer, deeper pelvic thrusting and slow dismount followed by a period of inactivity.
As you can see…horny AF.
Fadogia improves erections
In this study researchers induced sexual dysfunction in rats by giving them paroxetine (an SSRI). Paroxetine caused ED by damaging the penis and increasing certain enzymes that kill erections.
Paroxetine induced erectile dysfunction by:
- Lowered/reduced NO, cGMP, catalase, SOD, glutathione (GSH) and glutathione S-transferase (GST)
- Increased AChE, PDE5, arginase, ACE, TBARS and H2O2.
Catalase, SOD, GSH and GST help to protect against oxidative stress. A reduction in these shows an increase in oxidative stress. TBARS (a marker of lipid peroxidation) and H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide; a free radical) shows that paroxetine is causing damage.
- NO stimulates cGMP to promote vasodilation. A drop in both will reduce vasodilation and can contribute to ED.
- AChE is the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine. Acetylcholine stimulation is involved in getting solid erections.
- More PDE5 means less cGMP and weak erections.
- Arginase breaks down arginine, thus reducing the precursor for NO.
- ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) promotes the production of angiotensin 2, which promotes vasoconstriction and vascular inflammation.
Fadogia to the rescue! Fadogia has been shown to increase penile and testicular NO, cGMP, catalase, SOD, GSH and GST and reduced AChE, PDE5, arginase, ACE, TBARS and H2O2. Basically, it restores proper penile function.
“The study concluded that AEFAS (Fadogia) restored the NO/cGMP pathway and ED-associated key enzymes in the penile and testicular tissues of male rats via antioxidant means.” (R)
How the Fadogia Agrestis extract was made
- The plant stem was cut into pieces and oven-dried at 40 ºC to a constant weight.
- The dried pieces were then pulverized using an electric blender
- The powder was soaked for 48 hours in distilled water for 48 h at room temperature (26 ºC–28 ºC).
- This was then filtered using filter paper (Whatman No. 1).
- The filtrate was then concentrated in stem bath (dehydrated)
- The resulting brownish-black residue was reconstituted in distilled water to give the equivalent dose of 18, 50 and 100 mg/kg body weight.
- Each dose was then given orally using plastic syringes
So in essence, this makes it very difficult to determine the optimal human dose, since the animals weren’t just given the powder straight up.
However, the locals have been using the 18mg/kg equivalent dose for a long time. The interesting thing is that the locals specifically use the water extract themselves as a means of treating sexual inadequacy and stimulating sexual vigor.
The active ingredients in Fadogia
Unlike Tongkat Ali, which active ingredient is eurycomanone, the exact active ingredients in Fadogia haven’t been identified yet.
But broadly speaking, the predominant ingredient is saponins coming in at 2.08%. Saponins are also the bioactive agent in Tribulus Terrestris and Fenugreek, which is responsible for the aphrodisiac effect.
Quick word of caution about Fadogia
Two studies have shown that doses over 18mg/kg (the 50 and 100mg/kg doses) had side effects as it caused liver, kidney and testicular damage.
The mechanism is likely by damaging the polyunsaturated fatty acids in those tissues. This is seen by an increase in serum malondialdehyde in all the extract-treated groups (R).
Although Fadogia increases testicular glycogen and sialic acid, which is beneficial, it also increases other markers which might indicate that it’s causing damage to the testes (specifically Sertoli cells).
This is evident by a significant decrease in testicular protein, GHD and gamma Glutamyl transferase.
Testicular proteins are used to create sperm and testosterone (e.g. the specific enzymes that convert the prohormones to testosterone). Such reduction in testicular protein would alter testicular function.
The significant decrease in testicular GDH activities (a biochemical indicator used to assess injury to the
mitochondria) (Table 3) may imply a reduction in the amount of energy being made available to the sperm cells.
Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) is a membrane-bound enzyme that catalysis the transfer of gamma-glutamyl group between peptides and amino acids and is considered a ‘marker’ enzyme of the Sertoli function of testes. The significant increase in the activity of testicular GGT probably indicates impairment of the function of Sertoli cells (R).
Keep in mind that this has only been proven by 1 animal study. More research is needed to show its toxicity for humans.
Both Tongkat Ali and Fadogia Agrestis have been used for a very long to enhance sexual function. Currently, Tongkat Ali has human research backing it up whereas Fadogia doesn’t.
However, Fadogia has many benefits and can increase sexual function, sexual desire, increase testosterone and improve erections.
I like the combination of Tongkat Ali and Fadogia Agrestis because:
- Fadogia increases intratesticular cholesterol
- Tongkat Ali stimulates the production of testosterone from the cholesterol
- Both are powerful aphrodisiac boosters
- Both can help with male infertility
- Both can work for older men with low total and free testosterone as well as young healthy men.
You can either buy each natural supplement on its own or buy the dietary supplement Sigma, which is a testosterone booster that contains both.
Tongkat Ali supplements:
Sigma testosterone booster (take 4-6 caps)
Other testosterone-boosting herbs include:
If you’d like to read about all the supplements and methods to increase testosterone, check out this article for 40+ ways to boost testosterone.