Tongkat Ali extract may support immune health: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

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Related tags: Better, Immune system

A standardized root water extract of Eurycoma longifolia (Tongkat Ali) may support immune health for middle-aged people, says a new randomized controlled trial.

A daily 200 mg dose of the Tongkat Ali extract for four weeks was associated with significant increases in number of select immune cells, compared with placebo, report researchers from Biotropics Malaysia Berhad and the Tokyo Medical & Dental University.

The study used Biotropics Malaysia’s propriety water extract of Tongkat Ali called Physta. The product was jointly developed by the Malaysian Government and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“According to these findings, intake of the [Tongkat Ali] might contribute immunological improvement, which results in maintenance and improvement of health. Our findings indicate for the first time the immune-related improvements following the ingestion of the propriety water extract of [Tongkat Ali] (Physta),”​ wrote the researchers in Phytotherapy Research.

“Asian Viagra”

Tongkat ali extract comes from the root of a tree native to Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, and was dubbed the “Asian Viagra” by the New Sunday Times in 1999. Supplements containing the ingredient are often positioned for male libido, energy, weight loss, and sports performance.

The new study sought to explore a different potential health benefit: Immune support. For this, the researchers performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel study with 81 middle-aged Japanese people with relatively lower scores according to Scoring of Immunological Vigor (SIV) screening. Participants were randomly assigned to consume either the Physta supplements (200 mg/day) or placebo (rice powder) daily for four weeks

Results indicated that the SIV and immunological grade were significantly higher in the Tongkat ali group, compared to the placebo group.

Tongkat Ali
The study used Biotropics Malaysia’s propriety water extract of Tongkat Ali called Physta. Image: Biotropics Malaysia

Specifically, the numbers of total, naïve, and CD4+ T cells were increased in the Tongkat ali group, compared with placebo.

Importantly, no severe adverse events were reported by the researchers, thereby supporting the safety of the product.

And interestingly, the data also suggested that people in the Tongkat ali group had a immunological age four years younger than the placebo group. “Other anti-aging properties of [Tongkat ali], such as improvements in hormonal balance, strength, quality of life, and sexual health, have also been previously reported,”​ said the researchers.

“In conclusion, comprehensive immune measurements (SIV and Immunological grade) revealed significant improvement following TA ingestion. Immunological grade in the TA group was improved from the warning zone (Grade II), which is required to improve the immunity, to the observation zone (Grade III),”​ they added.

Source: Phytotherapy Research
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/ptr.5571     
“Immunomodulation in Middle-Aged Humans Via the Ingestion of Physta Standardized Root Water Extract of ​Eurycoma longifolia Jack-A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Study”
Authors: A. George, et al. 

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