Concerns concerning kratom’s effects on the liver are widespread.
We’ll look at the evidence that is available and determine whether or not these allegations are true even though there is still no concrete proof that kratom can harm the liver.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that taking any supplement in large dosages may have an adverse effect on the liver, particularly if taken with other medications (or alcohol) known to have liver-toxic effects.
✅ Although this effect is extremely unusual and only seems to impact a small number of people, those with existing medical disorders, or those taking other medications, it is nevertheless possible that kratom can injure the liver.
✅ Despite frequent or extended usage of kratom, the majority of people don’t encounter any problems with liver damage.
✅ Having said that, there is scant and conflicting evidence to support its harmful effects on the liver.
✅ Only on a case-by-case basis, with many complicating variables like concurrent drug usage, is direct proof available.
✅ Due to unusual physiological characteristics, it is statistically more likely that certain users would experience rare adverse effects as a result of the abrupt increase in the number of users.
✅ Overall, it can be claimed that modest doses of kratom have been found to be relatively safe. In rare instances, its impact on the liver can cause symptoms resembling jaundice.
✅ Kratom should not be combined with any other medications. Before beginning to use kratom in such circumstances, medical advice is advised.
The Liver’s Effects of Kratom
The group of about 12 alkaloids that make up kratom is its active component. Before we can expel any of these alkaloids from the body, the liver must first metabolize them (primarily via the kidneys). The same holds true for almost every drug or dietary supplement.
The sheer amount of alkaloids that kratom offers sets it apart, putting additional stress on the liver’s ability to efficiently handle them all. People with healthy livers shouldn’t have any issues metabolizing kratom and won’t suffer any liver damage as a result.
The largest risk of developing liver damage after using kratom is present in those who have a genetic flaw, pre-existing liver damage, sensitivity to kratom, or who are taking known liver-toxic drugs or substances. Mitragynine is the alkaloid that makes up the majority of the kratom plant. The liver enzyme CYP2D6 is predominantly needed for the metabolism of this drug, with some assistance from CYP3A4 and CYP2C9.
Therefore, the danger of liver injury is increased if users have any problems with this specific route or are taking drugs that also influence these enzymes. List of Substances That May Raise the Risk of Liver Damage When Used With Kratom
When taken with kratom, any drug or chemical with proven liver-toxic effects increases the risk of liver damage. This includes alcoholic beverages, statin medications, certain antifungal treatments, steroids, and antiretroviral medications (HIV medications).
Here is a short list of medications that, when coupled with kratom, pose a serious risk for liver harm. Please be aware that this is by no means an exhaustive list. Before using kratom with any prescription drug, always with your doctor.
Drugs with a high potential for causing liver damage when combined with kratom are:
Liver Damage Symptoms & Signs
Abdominal pain, persistent indigestion or bloating, headaches, dizziness, and nausea are some of the early symptoms of liver illness or injury. Dark urine, jaundice, and light-colored stools are signs of more serious liver injury.
Further tests can be performed in a hospital to look for indicators of liver disease. These tests often look for indicators including elevated bilirubin levels, AST (aspartate aminotransferase), and ALT (alanine aminotransferase).
What Do the Studies Say?
The top study on kratom’s effects on the liver is a meta-analysis that was released in 2020.
In addition to the 7 cases reported by the Drug-Induced Liver Injury Network, 25 cases found in FDA databases, and 27 cases found in online user forums, this analysis looked at 26 case reports and abstracts.
The study came to the conclusion that even though there is a possibility of liver damage from kratom usage, the great majority of users won’t show any symptoms of liver damage.
Additionally, studies indicate that the average time it takes for these symptoms to appear in a kratom user is between 7 and 21 days.
Another investigation into the negative effects of kratom focused on numerous patients with significant liver dysfunction-related symptoms. These incidents fell under the category of drug-induced liver injury, or DILI. Only 8 of the 404 patients had any recent kratom use in the past.
The researchers determined that seven of the eight kratom-related cases were actually brought on by kratom exposure. This was determined by the amount of kratom they had consumed in the 22 days prior to the commencement of their symptoms. Patients displayed jaundice-like symptoms along with abdominal pain and itching.
Six of the seven required hospitalizations for additional care. Seven of them all made a full recovery.
It is unknown how much of the liver damage caused by kratom is due to pollutants found in the plant matter that was not initially a component of the plant, according to researchers, even if a relationship between the two has been shown in extremely rare instances.
What is Mitragyna speciosa, or Kratom?
The popular herbal supplement kratom is frequently used as a pain reliever and mood booster. It is used in a similar way as coffee in smaller amounts to increase energy, and attention, and facilitate higher levels of productivity and production.
It was traditionally used in regions of Southeast Asia to alleviate pain, exhaustion, and diarrhea. It is currently being researched as a safer alternative to opioid-based pain medicine.
Where Kratom Came From
Kratom belongs to the same family as the coffee plant. Like coffee, it has an alkaloid as its active ingredient. It has a long history of use in its native Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Indonesia, where it was common for people to chew the leaf until very recently.
The leaf was outlawed in Malaysia and Thailand in 1943 after becoming popular among western users. This appears to have been a precautionary measure taken to safeguard the tourism sector and avoid harming the nations’ reputations.
In Thailand, it was once more made legal in 2018 but only for medical purposes.
At the moment, Indonesia is the main country from which considerable quantities of kratom are produced, used, and sold. The majority of kratom that is sold in the west comes from Indonesia.
How to Safely Use Kratom
Tablets, powders, and tinctures are just a few of the supplement forms available for kratom leaves. Refrain from consuming kratom concentrations or purchasing it on the illegal market. These sellers frequently mix kratom powder with additional, potentially liver-toxic drugs.
It’s preferable to start with a modest dose of kratom when using it for the first time (or after a long break) and gradually raise it over the course of a few days. Kratom dosage guidelines call for 1 to 12 grams of dried powder daily (taken orally). Apart from oral intake, no other method of kratom use is regarded as safe.
To obtain a sense of how it affects your body specifically, start with a dose of 1 gram and work your way up to 2, 3, etc. Never combine kratom with other drugs or alcohol, and stay away from using it frequently.
Before using kratom, see your doctor if you have any underlying medical concerns or are using any prescription medications or dietary supplements.
Additionally, see a doctor right away if you develop nausea, headaches, dizziness, or lethargy that lasts longer than six hours. Visit a doctor right away if you experience black urine, pain when urinating, moderate to severe abdominal pain, or yellowing of the skin or eyes.