Is kratom bad for your heart? This is a popular question among kratom users and those who are thinking about trying it for the first time. Unfortunately, there is no easy yes or no response. It will rely on a variety of things, as we will see in this article.
Kratom is a perennial tree in the coffee family that grows to reach 15–30 meters tall. People in Southeast Asia extensively use kratom as a stimulant to increase endurance and a traditional medication for pain, diarrhea, and diabetes due to its therapeutic properties. Furthermore, chewing fresh leaves has long been an integral part of village life.
People utilize kratom as a non-addictive alternative to opioids since it has pain-relieving effects. The most common alkaloid and its principal bioactive component, mitragynine, bind to opioid receptors. Sadly, kratom-related deaths have been connected to heart problems, including cardiac arrest.
What is Cardiac Arrest and How is Kratom Related to It?
Cardiac arrest is an abrupt loss of cardiac contractility in a person with no previous medical history of heart illness. Irregular heartbeat (either faster or slower), acute coronary syndrome, cardiomyopathies, pulmonary illness, recreational drug use, or medication overdose may cause cardiac arrest.
Recreational drug use is a common risk factor for OHCA (Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest) in teenagers and young adults. People in the USA and Western countries mostly purchase kratom via the internet. Moreover, it has a high potential for abuse and is not yet a controlled substance.
Heart Problems Related to Kratom in the US and Western Countries
Over the last decade, kratom has grown in popularity in the US. A range of conventional medicinal therapies uses kratom as an active ingredient as well as an excipient. This is justified since it has the potential to aid with pain alleviation, opioid withdrawal, and psychological difficulties.
However, there has been some debate concerning the effects of kratom on the heart. Kratom is considered a public health hazard in the West due to many heart problems linked to it. It is induced mostly by combining kratom with other substances such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, and acetaminophen. Hence kratom is illegal in a number of Western countries and states in the US.
The FDA is concerned about unauthorized kratom sales and distribution as a result of these instances. It is encouraging the government to use the CSA to keep kratom under control. Despite the fact that kratom is legal on a federal level, the FDA has associated kratom use to heart problems in the US.
Between 2011 and 2017, the US National Poison Statistics System (NPDS) received roughly 1807 kratom exposure occurrences. In fact, 51.9% of kratom cases result in negative medical outcomes such as heart attack, convulsions, pulmonary, renal, and other heart disorders, among other things.
Why Western Countries Had So Many Health Problems, But So Few in Southeast Asia?
According to a number of recent studies, kratom users in the US, particularly those who mix kratom with other illicit drugs or alcohol, have a higher chance of negative, but not life-threatening, health effects. According to findings from an animal study, higher mitragynine treatment can modify haematological and biochemical indicators.
Various studies associated kratom with heart problems, biochemical alterations in the liver, neonatal withdrawal symptoms, dependence and withdrawal, and overdose. Researchers believe that mixing illegal drugs or prescription pharmaceuticals with kratom caused lethal herb-drug interactions. This is what caused the high number of kratom heart problems in the West.
Therefore, kratom heart toxicity in the West could be the result of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine potentiating the effects of other co-administered drugs. It intensifies the toxicity of several organ systems. Kratom may also impair the liver and heart’s metabolism of co-administered drugs, thereby increasing their toxicity.
However, in Southeast Asia, there is no such issue as there is in Western countries. According to the research, this discrepancy is attributable to under-reporting of kratom heart issues in Southeast Asia. Several Southeast Asian studies, however, have filled this gap by clinically examining the heart health of frequent kratom users in their traditional settings.
Furthermore, many kratom users in the United States and Western countries are naive and may use kratom on high doses, resulting in tolerance. As a result, they may be more susceptible to kratom heart issues.
Does Kratom Damage Your Heart (Cardiotoxicity)?
People may worry, “Is kratom dangerous for your heart?” because of its stimulating properties. Indeed, it is prudent to ask questions and exercise caution before attempting to use kratom.
The first scientific proof of kratom cardiotoxicity, or heart damage, comes from a collaboration of Southeast Asian researchers. However, there is still no concrete evidence of kratom causing deadly heart damage. The explanation for this is that mitragynine does not cause cardiac cells to die.
The joint study also found out that the influence of kratom as a main factor in heart problems was minimal. It would take an extremely high doses of kratom for it to be the main cause of heart issues (more than 10 grams a day).
Can Kratom Cause Heart Palpitations and Arrhythmia?
There have recently been some worries about kratom heart effects. Can kratom cause heart problems?
The first study to look into cardiovascular function and its relationship with serum mitragynine levels came from the Universiti Sains Malaysia (The Science University of Malaysia). The respondents used kratom on daily basis without the use of other illicit substances. They had no history of medical condition, alcohol consumption, or psychiatric issue. They also had not taken any pharmaceuticals on a regular basis.
The bolded sentences denote the differences in kratom usage and consumers’ backgrounds in the US and Western countries compared to Southeast Asia.
Regular kratom users who consumed brewed kratom juice were studied for cardiovascular function and serum mitragynine levels. The researchers wanted to see if kratom caused heart palpitations and arrhythmias (irregular heart beat, either faster or slower).
The Findings of the Study
The researchers discovered that consuming 4 glasses of kratom juice on a daily basis resulted in a higher serum mitragynine level. It also revealed symptoms of kratom heart palpitations, which could lead to arrhythmia. However, this is quite improbable in this case due to the traditional way of kratom consumption.
Despite the fact that the study found that continuous use and large doses of kratom cause heart palpitations, the use of kratom without other substances does not pose a danger of cardiotoxicity. The responders had never had a history of hospital admission because of kratom heart problems.
On the other hand, those who drank less than 4 glasses of kratom juice had significantly lower levels of serum mitragynine. Furthermore, among those who ingested fewer than 4 glasses of kratom juice, the echocardiography and other ECG readings were normal.
The conclusions of this study are in line with the findings of all other recent investigations on kratom heart effects. Kratom can be deadly when used with other drugs or illegal substances on a regular basis and at high doses. It is, however, quite safe when consumed fresh, even on a daily basis. The medical history of the consumer also influences whether or not kratom is safe to use.
Can Kratom Cause Coronary Heart Diseases?
A small number of studies has linked kratom use to a change in blood lipid profile. It increased blood HDL levels in a study with 58 kratom users and 19 healthy controls.
HDL is known as “good cholesterol”. Extensive research has linked a greater HDL level to a lower risk of heart disease. An increase in HDL could help prevent the development of atherosclerosis and the issues that come with it in the heart arteries, according to a clinical study involving human subjects.
In a recent study including 100 kratom users and 100 healthy controls, researchers discovered that kratom users had somewhat reduced serum LDL and total cholesterol levels. The level of lipids in the blood is a significant risk factor for coronary heart disease.
Keeping total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and body fat low is one technique for primary prevention of coronary heart disease. LDL-lowering medication has been shown in clinical trials to lessen the risk of coronary heart disease. According to one study, losing 10–14% of one’s body fat lowered the number of fatalities from coronary heart disease by 20–42%.
Kratom Has Been Proven To Not Cause Coronary Heart Disease
In a more recent study, researchers evaluated the serum lipid profiles of traditional kratom users and non-users in a Southeast Asian region. A total of 581 people aged 18 and up were included in the study.
The findings of this research found more evidence between kratom heart effects, high HDL levels, and a good lipid profile. A future pharmacological application of kratom could be to prevent coronary heart disease or cerebrovascular illness by improving lipid profiles.
It was also discovered that kratom users had much lower body fat levels and significantly higher HDL levels than non-users. Kratom users exhibited significantly greater percentages of high HDL and low triglycerides (body fat) in their blood.
Kratom Has the Potential to Prevent Coronary Heart Disease
So, what exactly does all of this imply?
This implies that mitragynine and its derivatives have a beneficial effect on the function of your heart arteries and blood vessels. It aids in the reduction of blood pressure and the prevention of numerous cardiac disorders. As a result, kratom leaves can help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and atherosclerosis (heart arteries problem).
So, despite the FDA’s claims that kratom damages the heart and causes death, several scientific studies have shown that when used properly and in low doses, kratom promotes heart health. However, long-term use of kratom in high doses may indeed jeopardize your heart health. It could be worse if you already have a history of cardiac problems.
What You Have to be Very Wary of About “Scientific Articles”
You might want to perform your own research on the effects of kratom on the heart after reading this article. This is perfectly acceptable, and we fully encourage it. However, you should be aware that there is a lot of deliberately misleading, incomplete, erroneous, and extrapolated material about kratom.
We recommend that you look at objective, well-written scientific studies and articles. The FDA and its supporters have a history of manipulating reports and exaggerating incidents to develop an unwarranted bias against kratom. The reason for the kratom criminalization is unknown. However, it could be linked to a trade war, as more than 90% of kratom goods are imported from Indonesia.
As a result, be exceedingly cautious if you come across articles, papers or study that exhibit the following characteristics:
- Mentioned claims or research findings but didn’t provide links to the studies where you could read them for yourself.
- Self-reported calls of kratom side effects. They could be made-up stories
- Cases that have not been validated or confirmed by a poison control center.
- Information gleaned from descriptive studies and case studies (may not be valid).
Conclusion: So, Is Kratom Bad for Your Heart?
Kratom isn’t harmful to your heart in and of itself. However, it has the potential to cause heart problems when used in higher dosages or when combined with another medication.
According to the available and valid data, all heart abnormalities linked to kratom use could have been exacerbated by polysubstance use, chronic high-dose kratom use, co-administered with another drug, and unresolved underlying medical disorders.
In other words, there is no link between kratom use and heart problems if people consume it in low dose. If you already have a heart problem, you should probably avoid using kratom. Or at the very least, consult your doctor about how to use it.