Does Tongkat Ali Cause Hair Loss? (Scientific Review)

Ismail Yusibov
Ismail Yusibov is the founder and content writer of the AlopeciaTips.

 Fact checked by Jessica Anderson

Written by Ismail Yusibov | Reviewed by Dr. Michael Carter



FAST FACTS

Tongkat Ali can increase your body’s testosterone levels. If you have a genetic predisposition, high testosterone levels can trigger androgenic alopecia.

Lately, Tongkat Ali is getting a lot of attention, especially since Andrew Huberman talked about it on a podcast. Tongkat Ali is a plant from Southeast Asia known for its healing properties. It boosts testosterone, ups sperm production, and enhances sexual performance, as mentioned by Huberman. These benefits got many guys intrigued about this plant. But here’s the thing – ever wondered about its impact on hair?

Let’s dig into the questions: does Tongkat Ali make your hair fall out? What does it do to your hair? And, should people dealing with hair loss give this herb a shot?

What is Tongkat Ali?

Tongkat ali (longjack), is a natural supplement and adaptogen (like Ashwagandha) made from the roots of the green shrub tree Eurycoma longifolia, originally from Southeast Asia.

In places like Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and other Asian countries, it’s been used in traditional medicine to address issues like malaria, infections, fevers, male infertility, and erectile dysfunction.

People usually take tongkat ali in pill form, which has an extract from the herb, or in herbal drinks.

Benefits of Tongkat Ali

Tongkat Ali is a powerful antioxidant. It is especially effective in combating cellular damage caused by free radicals.

Tongkat ali is known for its sexual health benefits, like helping with erectile dysfunction and fertility. Some people believe it also works against stress, anxiety, and inflammation.

Studies suggest that taking 300 mg of tongkat ali extract daily for 12 weeks can boost erectile function. Men who did this reported better erections compared to those taking a placebo. This improvement includes increased frequency of erections during sexual activity. 

Tongkat ali may help boost testosterone levels in folks experiencing testosterone deficiency or late-onset hypogonadism.

Taking tongkat ali might help reduce stress (anxiety) and boost mood. In a study with 86 people dealing with job stress and trying to balance work and life, some participants took a combo of tongkat ali and multivitamins for 12 weeks, while others got a fake pill. After the study, those who took the supplement felt more energized and emotionally better. They mentioned feeling calmer and more at peace.

Other known benefits of Tongkat Ali are as follows:

  • It stops diarrhea
  • It has antipyretic properties
  • Regulates the amount of sugar in the blood
  • Reduces pain
  • Reduces high blood pressure

Possible side effects

Tongkat Ali has some good sides, making it seem like a magical remedy. Yet, it’s not all positive.

The 2021 report from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods, and Food Allergens advises against using Tongkat Ali as a supplement because it can harm DNA.

There are very few studies on Tongkat Ali, and none support EFSA’s findings. No research has looked into the effects of using Tongkat Ali in the short, medium, or long term.

While Tongkat Ali appears safe at doses up to 400 mg per day in the short term, excessive or prolonged use may pose a risk of DNA damage in the gastrointestinal system.

Tongkat Ali effects on hair growth

There haven’t been studies about how Tongkat Ali affects hair growth. Still, some people believe it helps by reducing anxiety, stress, and damage from free radicals, which could be good for hair.

Benefits of Tongkat Ali for hair (hypotheses):

  • Guards against cell damage from free radicals, protecting hair from breakage.
  • Balances blood flow to the scalp, enhancing oxygen supply to nourish hair follicles and promote growth.
  • It reduces inflammation in the scalp and ensures healthy hair.
  • Potentially reduces stress associated with depression and anxiety, preventing stress-induced hair loss.
  • Helps establish hormonal balance, potentially improving the hair growth cycle.

Note: These benefits of Tongkat Ali are speculative, and there is no confirmed research supporting them.

The link between testosterone and hair loss in men

Tongkat Ali is known for its positive impact on men’s sexual health, as highlighted by Andrew Huberman. Taking 400mg of Tongkat Ali daily can boost testosterone, enhancing the overall sexual experience. Users who incorporate Tongkat Ali into their routine have reported these benefits.

This herb effectively adjusts testosterone levels in the body, helping to raise low levels and further elevate already high levels in individuals.

Research over many years has shown that an increase in testosterone, whether it happens naturally or through testosterone boosters, might lead to hair loss.

Your body converts about 10% of testosterone into DHT daily. Simply put, higher testosterone could mean more DHT, potentially resulting in increased hair loss.

For some people, Tongkat Ali could possibly activate androgenetic alopecia, especially if their hair follicles are more sensitive to DHT because of their genetics.

To avoid potential damage, check if your hair is sensitive to high testosterone before using this herb. If a family member from two generations back experienced hair loss, it’s wise to play it safe and avoid using Tongkat Ali.

Does tongkat ali cause hair loss?

Using Tongkat Ali can affect your hair due to increased testosterone levels. 

Tongkat Ali also might lead to hair loss due to its potential impact on hormonal balance. While scientific evidence is still lacking, some believe that Tongkat Ali plays a role in maintaining the body’s hormonal equilibrium. Whether this belief holds true or not, messing with the body’s hormones can result in hair loss, be it short-term, medium-term, or long-term.

“Pigmie,” a YouTuber, shared a video about using Tongkat Ali for a year. In the video, he mentioned facing unusual hair loss after a few months of using Tongkat Ali. Similar concerns about hair loss while using Tongkat Ali were also found on forums like Reddit and Quora.

We’re unsure if hair loss in people using Tongkat Ali is caused by high testosterone levels. However, it’s true that these individuals face hair loss after using Tongkat Ali.

Should I be worried about Tongkat Ali?

If you have a genetic predisposition to hair loss (sometimes you don’t know it), you should know that the increase in your testosterone levels that Tongkat Ali will cause may trigger androgenetic alopecia.

If you have been using Tongkat Ali for a while and have not experienced hair loss, I am happy for you. If possible, share your experiences with me in the comments section.

Ismail YusibovIsmail Yusibov is the founder and content writer of the AlopeciaTips.

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