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Everyone experiences highs and lows as a result of what life throws at you. A recent study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition examined the impact of Tongkat Ali, a botanical commonly referred to as Malaysian Gingseng for its ability to impact changes in stress hormones and mood state in a moderate-sized group of men and women (Talbott, Talbott et al. 2013). Over a four week period, the study participants were provided either a placebo or an extract of Tongkat Ali. Interestingly, when the botanical supplement was provided, levels of self-reported tension, anger and confusion were decreased when compared to the placebo. In addition, hormone levels of cortisol and testosterone were measured in saliva samples and it was reported that when Tongkat Ali was provided, increases in testosterone (37%, p<0.05) and decreases in cortisol (-16%, p<0.05) occurred. The authors concluded that daily supplementation over a four week period with Tongkat Ali improves stress hormone profiles and certain mood state parameters. How exactly these changes can impact an exercising athlete are unknown at this time, but future research could determine whether supplementing on a daily basis can help improve an athlete's ability to withstand stress and improve recovery.
Talbott, S. M., J. A. Talbott, et al. (2013). "Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects." J Int Soc Sports Nutr 10(1): 28.