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Tongkat Ali, eurycomanone, and 5-alpha reductase

By tongkatali.org
January 16, 2024

Sumatra Pasak Bumi is the only company in the Tongkat Ali trade that sells Tongkat Ali leaves extract. While Tongkat Ali leaves have long been used in traditional medicine, the modern market is dominated by root extracts.

The advantage of Tongkat Ali leaves is that they contain 20fold eurycomanone, compared to root. Eurycomanone is the primary active ingredient in Eurycoma longifolia (the scientific name for Tongkat Ali).

As a tool for testosterone enhancement, Tongkat Ali, and specifically eurycomanone, has many advantages. For example, eurycomanone is an established aromatase inhibitor. Aromatase is an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogens.

To verify that eurycomanone is an established aromatase inhibitor, just search google.com or scholar.google.com for: eurycomanone aromatase

Below some printscreens on search results.

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It's the fate of many forms of testosterone replacement therapy products, as well as anabolic steroids, that they end up being converted to estrogens. Effects are man boobs (gynecomastia), genital shrinkage, and loss of libido and erectile function.

Tongkat ali, and especially eurycomanone, raises testosterone without supplying exogenous testosterone, simply by inhibiting the breakdown of testosterone through aromatase.

The story doesn't end here.

There are two enzymes that break down testosterone. The one is aromatase, and the other one is 5-alpha reductase. Aromatase is good news for most men, and 5-alpha reductase is bad news.

5-alpha reductase converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. Basically, dihydrotestosterone is a more potent version of testosterone. From an early embryonic stage, male sexual development cannot happen without dihydrotestosterone.

And in resent years, it has emerged that dihydrotestosterone is crucial in grown men for libido, penile sensation, and orgasmic potential.

One important clue came from the widespread use of 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, the most common of which is finasteride.

Apart from its importance in male sexuality, dihydrotestosterone shares responsibility for two male conditions: prostate enlargement, and male pattern baldness. Finasteride can ameliorate these conditions... and ruin a man's sexuality on the way.

Just do a search for: Post-Finasterine Syndrome

Or take a glimpse at the printscreen below.

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Hormonal balances are a delicate issue, and it's easy to confuse matters.

That a chemical substance increases testosterone can either be good or bad for libido and other sexual parameters, depending on the pathway. If testosterone degradation is prevented by aromatase inhibition, there will be more testosterone, and this will be good for sex. If testosterone degradation is prevented by 5-alpha reductase inhibition, there will also be more testosterone, but this will be bad for sex because the necessary dihydrotestosterone is then lacking.

Widespread awareness of the importance of dihydrotestosterone is a recent development. For decades, the focus has been on testosterone or free testosterone only. And it thus is not surprising that some people, or many, got things wrong.

Take for example the mineral zinc. If one checks scholar.google.com for "zinc testosterone" there will be numerous studies, some going back for more than 40 years, that all found that zinc supplementation raises testosterone. But it is overlooked in most studies that zinc is an established, though mild (and reversible) 5-alpha reductase inhibitor used as treatment for prostate enlargement and male pattern baldness.

Now for eurycomanone and 5-alpha reductase. If one searches scholar.google.com or PubMed.com for the two terms, one will find zero correlation.

The spider of the Google main search engine, however, came across a single webpage that claimed that eurycomanone is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. And because that page, even though based on a human error, is the only one that made the connection, it is featured as snippet. See the following printscreen.

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The snippet extracts two sentences from the following web page:


It belongs to Santa Cruz Biotechnology, a company that sells research chemicals.

And here is the reference that is cited for the claim that allegedly, eurycomanone is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor:

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The reference clearly states that eurycomanone inhibits aromatase, not 5-alpha reductase.

What happened?

The text that links eurycomanone and 5-alpha reductase is one of hundreds of product descriptions published by the Santa Cruz Biotechnology chemicals warehouse. It's not a scientific text, just a product description, written by a human author. And it's a typically human error to confuse two enzymes out of the back of the person's mind.

We have reached out to Santa Cruz Biotechnology and are waiting for the error to be corrected.

It's anybody's guess how long it will take Google to follow suit.

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