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Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects

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      Abstract

      Background

      Eurycoma longifolia is a medicinal plant commonly called tongkat ali (TA) and “Malaysian ginseng.” TA roots are a traditional “anti-aging” remedy and modern supplements are intended to improve libido, energy, sports performance and weight loss. Previous studies have shown properly-standardized TA to stimulate release of free testosterone, improve sex drive, reduce fatigue, and improve well-being.

      Methods

      We assessed stress hormones and mood state in 63 subjects (32 men and 31 women) screened for moderate stress and supplemented with a standardized hot-water extract of TA root (TA) or Placebo (PL) for 4 weeks. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) with significance set at p < 0.05 was used to determine differences between groups.

      Results

      Significant improvements were found in the TA group for Tension (−11%), Anger (−12%), and Confusion (−15%). Stress hormone profile (salivary cortisol and testosterone) was significantly improved by TA supplementation, with reduced cortisol exposure (−16%) and increased testosterone status (+37%).

      Conclusion

      These results indicate that daily supplementation with tongkat ali root extract improves stress hormone profile and certain mood state parameters, suggesting that this “ancient” remedy may be an effective approach to shielding the body from the detrimental effects of “modern” chronic stress, which may include general day-to-day stress, as well as the stress of dieting, sleep deprivation, and exercise training.

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      Most cited references 31

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      Hormonal responses and adaptations to resistance exercise and training.

      Resistance exercise has been shown to elicit a significant acute hormonal response. It appears that this acute response is more critical to tissue growth and remodelling than chronic changes in resting hormonal concentrations, as many studies have not shown a significant change during resistance training despite increases in muscle strength and hypertrophy. Anabolic hormones such as testosterone and the superfamily of growth hormones (GH) have been shown to be elevated during 15-30 minutes of post-resistance exercise providing an adequate stimulus is present. Protocols high in volume, moderate to high in intensity, using short rest intervals and stressing a large muscle mass, tend to produce the greatest acute hormonal elevations (e.g. testosterone, GH and the catabolic hormone cortisol) compared with low-volume, high-intensity protocols using long rest intervals. Other anabolic hormones such as insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) are critical to skeletal muscle growth. Insulin is regulated by blood glucose and amino acid levels. However, circulating IGF-1 elevations have been reported following resistance exercise presumably in response to GH-stimulated hepatic secretion. Recent evidence indicates that muscle isoforms of IGF-1 may play a substantial role in tissue remodelling via up-regulation by mechanical signalling (i.e. increased gene expression resulting from stretch and tension to the muscle cytoskeleton leading to greater protein synthesis rates). Acute elevations in catecholamines are critical to optimal force production and energy liberation during resistance exercise. More recent research has shown the importance of acute hormonal elevations and mechanical stimuli for subsequent up- and down-regulation of cytoplasmic steroid receptors needed to mediate the hormonal effects. Other factors such as nutrition, overtraining, detraining and circadian patterns of hormone secretion are critical to examining the hormonal responses and adaptations to resistance training.
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        Low testosterone in men with type 2 diabetes: significance and treatment.

        The relationship between testosterone and diabetes in men is an important issue, given that one third of U.S. men aged 65 yr or older have diabetes, with a similar percentage having low testosterone levels. The medical literature from 1970 to March 2011 was reviewed for key articles. In population-based studies, low testosterone is commonly associated with type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, and it identifies men with an adverse metabolic profile. The difference in testosterone levels between men with diabetes compared to men without diabetes is moderate and comparable in magnitude to the effects of other chronic diseases, suggesting that low testosterone may be a marker of poor health. Although the inverse association of testosterone with diabetes is partially mediated by SHBG, low testosterone is linked to diabetes via a bidirectional relationship with visceral fat, muscle, and possibly bone. There is consistent evidence from randomized trials that testosterone therapy alters body composition in a metabolically favorable manner, but changes are modest and have not consistently translated into reductions in insulin resistance or improvements in glucose metabolism. The key response to the aging, overweight man with type 2 diabetes and subnormal testosterone levels should be implementation of lifestyle measures such as weight loss and exercise, which, if successful, raise testosterone and provide multiple health benefits. Although approved therapy for diabetes should be used, testosterone therapy should not be given to such men until benefits and risks are clarified by adequately powered clinical trials.
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          An update: salivary hormones and physical exercise.

           Luiz Mattos,  R Gatti (2011)
          Saliva contains cells and compounds, of local and non-local oral origin, namely inorganic, organic non-protein, protein/polypeptide, and lipid molecules. Moreover, some hormones, commonly assayed in plasma, such as steroids, are detectable in oral fluid and peptide/protein, and non-steroid hormones have been investigated. The sports practice environment and athletes' availability, together with hormone molecule characteristics in saliva and physical exercise behavior effects, confirm this body fluid as an alternative to serum. This review focuses on the relation between salivary steroids and psycho-physiological stress and underlines how the measurement of salivary cortisol provides an approach of self-report psychological indicator and anxiety change in relation to exercise performance. The correlation between salivary and plasma steroid hormone (cortisol, testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)) levels, observed during exercise, has been considered, underlining how the type, duration, and intensity of the exercise influence the salivary steroid concentrations in the same way as serum-level variations. Training conditions have been considered in relation to the salivary hormonal response. This review focuses on studies related to salivary hormone measurements, mainly steroids, in physical exercise. Saliva use in physical disciplines, as a real alternative to serum, could be a future perspective. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1]SupplementWatch, 648 Rocky, Knoll Draper, UT 84020, USA
            [2]Biotropics Malaysia Berhad, Lot 21, Jalan U1/19, Section U1, Hicom-Glenmarie Industrial Park, 40150 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
            [3]MonaVie, 10855 S River Front Parkway, South Jordan, UT 84095, USA
            Contributors
            Journal
            J Int Soc Sports Nutr
            J Int Soc Sports Nutr
            Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
            BioMed Central
            1550-2783
            2013
            26 May 2013
            : 10
            : 28
            23705671
            3669033
            1550-2783-10-28
            10.1186/1550-2783-10-28
            Copyright ©2013 Talbott et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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