Osteoporosis may be more likely to develop in women than in men, but that doesn't mean men won't have it. To treat androgen-deficient osteoporosis in men, researchers at the National University of Malaysia investigate the use of longjack (Eurycomalongifolia). In their study published in theJournal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine,they reported that longjack could be a natural alternative to conventional treatments used to address osteoporosis in men.
Also known as tongkat ali, longjack has attracted considerable interest because of its potential to stimulate bone formation in androgen-deficient osteoporosis. In the study, the researchers examined the effects of longjack on bone formation using an in vitro osteoblastic cell model. They compared longjack treatment with testosterone replacement, which is one of the standard treatments used for androgen-deficient osteoporosis.
The researchers found that treatment with longjack extract at a dose of 25 micrograms per milliliter (ug/mL) significantly increases cell growth, alkaline phosphatase activity, and collagen deposition and mineralization. They also looked into the mechanisms underlying the ability of longjack to stimulate bone formation. They did this by analyzing the expression of bone-related protein biomarkers and found that the expression of bone-related mediators was well-regulated in longjack-treated cell cultures compared with the control. These findings demonstrated the ability of longjack to improve bone development. (Related: Osteoporosis in men: Facts and recommendations the mainstream won’t tell you.)
Other health benefits of longjack
Longjack is a plant native to Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. It can be consumed in the form of dietary supplements, tea, energy drinks, or coffee, and it is used for the following:
Reproductive problems. Longjack is well-known for its beneficial effects on reproductive health. For one, it has shown potential in treating infertility. A study in the Asian Journal of Andrology found that consumption of 200 milligrams (mg) per day of longjack for three to nine months increased semen volume, sperm concentrations, the percentage of normal sperm morphology, and sperm motility. It also led to spontaneous pregnancy in 11 of the participants' partners after treatment. Longjack can be used as a remedy for erectile dysfunction. A small study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine revealed that supplementation with a product containing longjack extract and an antioxidant for 12 weeks helped improve sexual performance and erectile function in men. Another study, which was published in the same journal, also showed that the plant's extract may help with low libido and erectile function. It reported that participants who took longjack extracts experienced increases in erectile function, libido, sperm motility, and semen volume. In addition, overweight participants also experienced weight loss.
Stress reduction. Some studies also showed that longjack could help reduce stress levels. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that taking longjack supplement for four weeks significantly reduced the tension, anger, and confusion of its participants. The supplement also reduced the levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increased testosterone levels.
Building muscles. Longjack is also used to increase muscle mass and strength because of its effects on testosterone levels. It is sometimes used to boost athletic performance and physical strength and to promote weight loss. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that taking 100 mg of longjack extract per day for five weeks resulted in increased muscle mass and strength in men performing intensive strength training exercises. In a study published in Phytotherapy Research, researchers also found that longjack could help increase muscular strength in the elderly.