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So you’re wanting to take supplements to improve your health.
If you’re here, I’m guessing you’re most interested in supplements that are safe, effective, and relatively inexpensive.
Am I right?
If that sounds like you, I’ve got great news. There are a ton of awesome supplements that will fit the bill.
Two fantastic options that you may be aware of are Maca and Tongkat Ali. I’m here to help you figure out which one is right for you.
In my ever-growing Supplement Comparison Series, I take 2 supplements and break them down on cost, benefits, side effects, and more. Hopefully, by the end of each article, you’ll have a better idea of which one to take.
Here’s whether you should take Maca or Tongkat Ali:
If you want to increase your nutrient intake, improve libido or reduce menopause symptoms, you should go for Maca. Whereas if you want to boost testosterone, improve fertility or reduce stress, you should go for Tongkat Ali.
What is Maca?
Maca (Lepidium Meveni) is an ancient vegetable that’s been used as a root crop for many thousand years.
It looks similar to the everyday turnip, and its roots can grow in various colors, like black, yellow, and purple.
Although Maca is mainly cultivated in the Peruvian Andes region, it’s grown in many South American countries, like Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru.
While Maca has only recently spiked in popularity, it’s been used medically and nutritionally since the days of the Inca warriors in Peru.
What is Tongkat Ali?
Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) is a shrubby tree native to Southeast Asia, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Recognised as a national treasure in Malaysia, Tongkat Ali has been used as a medicinal herb in Asia for many centuries.
It’s classed as an adaptogen, meaning it helps balance your body’s stress response.
Benefits of Maca
Maca may help improve menopause symptoms
Menopause is officially diagnosed once a woman has gone a full year without a menstrual period.
Although this is a natural part of aging for women, it can cause some frustrating symptoms, such as:
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Vaginal dryness
- Sleep difficulties
If you’re affected by these symptoms during menopause, then perhaps you ought to try Maca as a review of 4 studies found that it could help relieve these symptoms.
Maca may help boost sexual desire
A lack of sexual appetite is a problem for lots of adults as they get older.
In fact, research suggests that over 50% of menopausal women in America experience low sexual desire!
So bearing this in mind, it’s no surprise that many people turn towards natural herbs to revive their libido.
But while a lot of these herbs fail to deliver on their promises, Maca’s effectiveness has been backed up by research.
For example, a 12-week study measured the libido of men after taking Maca or a placebo.
After just 8 weeks, the Maca takers reported a significant improvement in libido.
Maca may protect skin from UV radiation
Ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted from the sun harm and damage exposed skin. Over time, this can lead to wrinkles and increase your risk of skin cancer.
Interestingly, Maca extract may help protect you from this damage when applied to the skin. (Source)
This protective effect has been shown in animal studies too, including this one on rats.
But I really need to emphasize that this effect has only been shown when Maca is applied to the skin – NOT when taken by mouth.
Maca is rich in nutrients
Maca is a great source of many crucial vitamins and minerals.
In fact, an ounce of Maca root powder contains:
- Iron: 23% of the RDI
- Copper: 85% of the RDI
- Potassium: 16% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 133% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 15% of the RDI
- Manganese: 10% of the RDI
Maca also contains health promoting plant compounds, like glucosinolates and polyphenols.
Benefits of Tongkat Ali
Tongkat Ali may help boost testosterone levels
Nowadays, many people have lower than ideal testosterone levels.
The reasons for this are widespread, including low fat diets, poor sleep quality, and lower meat intake.
But low T levels are no laughing matter – research suggests that they may be the cause of depression in aging men.
And this is where Tongkat Ali proves to be useful.
In one study, 76 men with low testosterone levels were given 200mg of Tongkat Ali each day for a month.
The results showed that 90% of the participants had healthy testosterone levels after taking Tongkat Ali.
Tongkat Ali may help improve male fertility
According to research, Tongkat Ali may help improve male fertility.
For example in one study, 109 men took either 300mg of Tongkat Ali or a placebo each day for 12 weeks.
The results showed that the Tongkat Ali group had an 18% increase in seminal fluid volume and 44% increase in sperm motility.
In another study, 75 sub-fertile males took 200mg of Tongkat Ali each day for 3 months.
The results showed that the Tongkat Ali significantly improved the subjects’ sperm quality.
Tongkat Ali may help relieve stress
Research suggests that Tongkat Ali may be a useful supplement for those under stress.
In one study, 63 adults with stress took either 200mg of Tongkat Ali or a placebo each day for 4 weeks.
By the end of the study, the Tongkat Ali takers reported less stress, anger, and tension.
They also had reduced levels of cortisol in their saliva.
(Cortisol is commonly referred to as the stress hormone.)
Tongkat Ali may help increase muscle size and strength
Although Tongkat Ali is rarely talked about in the Bodybuilding community, research shows it’s helpful for those wanting to get stronger and gain muscle.
For example in one study, 25 adults took 400mg of Tongkat Ali each day for 5 weeks.
According to the results, the subjects had significantly increased strength after taking Tongkat Ali.
In another study, 14 men took either 100mg of Tongkat Ali or a placebo each day for 5 weeks.
The results showed that the Tongkat Ali takers had bigger increases in lean mass than the placebo takers.
Maca is normally sold as a powder or in capsules.
Standard prices for these are:
- Powder: $27 for 1 lb
- Capsules: $13 for 100
Tongkat Ali Cost
Tongkat Ali is usually sold as a powder or in capsules.
Here are some typical prices for these:
- Powder: $20 for 100g
- Capsules: $23 for 120
Maca Side Effects
Most healthy adults can tolerate Maca supplements with minimal fuss, although Peruvian natives recommend boiling fresh Maca root, as it may have adverse effects.
Also, people with thyroid issues should consult a doctor before taking Maca as it contains goitrogens, which are compounds that can interfere with thyroid gland function.
Tongkat Ali Side Effects
Like Maca, Tongkat Ali is well tolerated by most healthy adults and side effects are pretty rare.
But due to a lack of research, pregnant/nursing women and children should avoid taking Tongkat Ali.
My Maca Recommendation: The Maca Team Organic Black Maca
A top quality Maca supplement produced by fellow Maca lovers.
The Maca Team Organic Black Maca is the bee’s knees.
What I like about it
I like the fact that the Maca root has been pre-cooked, as this makes it much more bioavailable and absorbable.
The more absorbable it is, the more your body utilize it.
Also, I love that this supplement is made by Maca enthusiasts known as The Maca Team.
Well unlike other brands, it’s created by people who are passionate about Maca and focus only on providing the best Maca that money can buy.
The serving size is… wait for it… 8 CAPSULES.
That seems a bit excessive to me. It would be much more convenient if The Maca Team could just make each capsule stronger, so you don’t have to spend an hour of your day swallowing capsules.
My Tongkat Ali Recommendation: Holistic Bin Tongkat Ali
An excellent powdered Tongkat Ali supplement.
Perfect for those who like the freedom to choose how much Tongkat Ali they want to take.
What I like about it
The fact that it’s powdered is great as it means you can chop and change the dosage to meet your needs.
(Some people will respond better to a lower dose while others will be more suited to a higher dose.)
Another great feature is that the Tongkat Ali is extracted at a low heat, which helps maintain a full nutrient profile.
And as a bonus, Holistic Bin Tongkat Ali contains 100% pure Tongkat Ali powder.
In other words, you’re not wasting your money on cheap fillers and additives which companies use to charge more for their products.
Although being a powder has its benefits, some folks might not like the taste.
If that’s you, then you can easily hide the taste with your favorite juice.
Can You Take Maca And Tongkat Ali Together?
There are some supplements out there which contain both Maca and Tongkat Ali, which suggests that they can be taken together.
That being said, you should always consult a medical doctor before starting a new supplement regimen.
Tongkat Ali vs Maca: The Verdict
Thank you for staying with me to the end of this Maca vs Tongkat Ali breakdown.
Hopefully, this article has helped you decide which one you’re going to use and have epic results with.
But for those who are still on the fence, here’s what I’d recommend:
You might prefer Maca if:
- You want the cheaper option
- You want to reignite your sex life
- You want to boost your nutrient intake
- You suffer from those annoying menopause symptoms
You might prefer Tongkat Ali if:
- You experience stress
- You want to get healthier sperm
- You want to get bigger and stronger
- You want to boost your testosterone levels
That’s all for this article, but does Tongkat Ali cause gyno?
Hope this helped!
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.