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We Compare Tongkat Ali Vs. Maca For Improving Male Fertility

Some couples turn to naturopathic solutions when first struggling to conceive due to their affordability and the lower risk of side effects from their use. Among the array of natural supplements out there for this purpose, tongkat ali and maca are two potentially solid options.

It is believed that both tongkat ali and maca are able to improve fertility parameters in men in addition to enhancing libido and testosterone production. While a handful of studies conducted in humans have validated this claim, more research is required in the future to confirm their results.

Here, I’ll review what research has shown thus far about these fertility-promoting supplements and compare them with respect to their benefits for male fertility. I’ll also discuss the optimal dosage for each supplement along with their potential side effects to help you determine which is worth trying.

Tongkat Ali Vs Maca: A Comparison Of Their Health Benefits, Safety, And Standard Dosage

Tongkat ali and maca have both been used worldwide for thousands of years to enhance libido, fertility, and overall sexual health. However, there are some differences between the two in terms of how they work and the exact health benefits you’ll get from them.  

Health Benefits 

There hasn’t been a ton of research on tongkat ali and maca in humans as most of it has been conducted in animals. However, there still are a handful of studies that have shown the effects of these two herbs on sperm parameters and other key markers of fertility in men. 

Research on tongkat ali in men has shown that it helps to improve various aspects of sperm health, libido, and sexual function. Improving each of these factors ultimately increases the ability to conceive. Additionally, the ability of tongkat ali to reduce fat mass could aid in fertility as decreased fat mass tends to yield higher testosterone levels and better overall health.

  • One 12-week study of 109 men aged 30 to 55 observed a 44.4% increase in sperm motility and an 18.2% higher semen volume after 12 weeks of supplementation with tongkat ali. In comparison, no significant changes were seen in those areas in the control group. Plus, the men who took tongkat ali had better erectile function, enhanced libido, and lost more fat compared to those who took the placebo. 
  • Another study was conducted over a period of 9 months in 75 men taking 200 mg of tongkat ali daily. The study found that the men taking tongkat ali had significantly better sperm quality in respect to concentration, motility, and morphology which led to an additional 14.7% of spontaneous pregnancies in people struggling to conceive.  

In comparison, research on maca in men has also shown that it’s able to improve various semen and sperm parameters. However, it doesn’t appear that maca is able to increase testosterone or any other hormones significantly. 

  • One study looked at 20 men aged 20 to 40 who were given 1.75 grams of maca (or placebo) per day for 12 weeks. They found that maca started to improve the quality and quantity of sperm as early as 6 weeks following treatment. After 12 weeks, maca improved the sperm concentration by 14%, motile sperm count by 14%, progressively motile sperm count by 18%, semen volume by 9%, and normal morphology of sperms by 21% with continued improvements up until the twelfth week of treatment. The placebo group also showed an increase in sperm count, but sperm concentration was not changed, and motile sperm count and normal morphology of sperms actually decreased.
  • Another study in 9 men aged 24 to 44 found that those who used 1,500 or 3,000mg/day of maca for 4 months experienced improvements in semen volume, sperm production, and sperm motility. However, hormonal levels were not increased.
  • A third study showed that maca supplementation was associated with higher sperm concentration and motility compared to placebo even though levels of hormones did not change significantly after 12 weeks of trial.  

Safety And Side Effects

Now, let’s go over the safety and side effects for both tongkat ali and maca since it’s always important to note any potential problems before using a supplement.  

Overall, tongkat ali is considered safe as long as it’s not used in high concentrations. Studies suggest that taking 200 mg daily for nine months, or 400 mg for three months, is safe. However, even higher doses could be safe as some studies found that supplementing with 600 mg per day for up to two months had no side effects.  

Like tongkat ali, studies show that maca is generally safe and that its use is not associated with adverse side effects. For example, a 2016 study in 175 people found that taking 3 grams of red or black maca per day for 12 weeks was well tolerated and not associated with serious adverse effects.  

As far as we know, both supplements appear to be safe, even when used in higher quantities. However, more research is required to confirm these results and, as such, it’s best to proceed with caution when using either.

Dosage 

So, what is the optimal dosage for tongkat ali and maca? As you’ll see, maca requires quite a bit higher dose than tongkat ali.  

Most studies examining the efficacy and safety of tongkat ali used 200-400 mg daily. The general conclusion is that these dosages are safe for healthy adults and even up to 1.2g per day appears to be side-effect-free.

In comparison, the optimal dosage for maca powder is 1,500-3,000 mg every day. If possible, this dosage should be spread throughout the day in several servings of relatively equal amounts (perhaps 500 to 1,000mg at a time, depending on the total dose desired).  

Should I Take Tongkat Ali Or Maca To Improve Male Fertility?

Since tongkat ali and maca have similar benefits for male fertility, it can be a bit difficult to decide which is best to use. Both have extensive research to support their shared health benefits, but there are some differences that make each better for certain use cases.  

Overall, if you’re looking to improve libido alongside sperm health and fertility outcomes, then tongkat ali is your best bet. Plus, it may aid in fat loss which could benefit fertility even further. That’s why, if you could only pick one of these two, I’d go with tongkat ali. 

With that being said, maca is also able to improve fertility outcomes and some research shows it can enhance libido (but not testosterone or other hormones, interestingly). For these reasons, maca could be a good choice for both men and women looking for general fertility improvement.  

In conclusion, tongkat ali and maca both have benefits for fertility, with tongkat ali being a slightly better choice overall.


Also read our reviews on the best tongkat ali supplements and the best maca powder.


Editor’s note: we are regularly updating this review. If you see any problems, weird interpretations of the data, or just want to say hi, please reach out to hello@the-unwinder.com.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

About the author

Jack Cincotta has a M.S. degree in Psychology. He is also a certified holistic health coach through AFPA and a board-certified holistic health practitioner through AADP. He often uses research-backed supplementation protocols for many of his clients to optimize results. In addition to running his holistic health practice, Jack also is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on health optimization content. Overall, he has been in the health and wellness industry for 3 years.

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