While the US federal agencies love to spread propaganda about Mitragyna speciosa to the public, kratom advocates are quick to point to scientific studies to support their side of the argument. In the past few years, the kratom community has had more research to use to educate the masses. Kratom research seems to be picking up speed. And the newest report for a study on kratom was released earlier this month. Scientists looked into the lipid profile of regular kratom users in the community setting.
To give a little bit of background about the study: scientists and physicians can study lipid profiles of people by examining the blood tests of a subject or patient. Those tests show the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides (a type of fat found in your blood) that are present in your bloodstream at the time the blood sample was taken. And it’s extremely important that neither level of the lipids get to high. If it does, it increases the risk of heart disease or can lead to a stroke.
There are a number of ways that you can reduce your risk of elevated lipids. One simple way is to refrain from overindulging yourself with alcohol (that’s easier said than done, at times). You could also practice going to the gym regularly. But a quick fix that’s at your fingertips is the types of substances you ingest for nutrition. And since kratom is an herbal supplement, scientists wanted to see if there was a correlation there.
The Framework of the Study
Now, there have been instances in the past where people have claimed that the use of kratom was linked to deaths that resulted from cardiovascular problems associated with kratom use by the victim—but all of those claims about kratom being the culprit have remained unproven to this day: other drugs (riskier ones) were always found in the toxicology reports of such cases. To see if there is a connection between kratom usage and lipid-profiles within an individual, scientists decided to conduct a study to look for any links between the two.
The scientists recruited a total of 200 participants for the study. Half of the subjects (100 participants) were daily kratom users, while the other half (the additional 100 participants) were healthy individuals who don’t use kratom at all. That allowed the scientists to compare the experimental group to the control group in the study. Both groups consisted of adults—all over the age of 18. And the participants were screened for a history of mental illnesses. And neither group was allowed to have a history of illicit drug use—excluding kratom for the experimental group.
Both of these groups were tested thoroughly throughout the experiment as it progressed to look for changes in the subjects’ blood work that might show spikes in the lipid profiles of the kratom users when compared to the control group. But the scientists were also monitoring the liver levels of the participants to see if kratom affected those results, too.
The Results of the Study
The blood work from all of the kratom users in the experimental group showed the scientists that the serum cholesterol levels and the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) were significantly lower for this group than they were from the control group, which were the healthy non-drug users. The liver parameters of the experimental group were all within the normal range as well. Also, the deviation in the serum triglyceride and high-density lipoprotein levels showed no significant distinction amongst them: there wasn’t any prediction of extensive coronary disease present.
Now, all of these findings should be applauded by kratom users and advocates. However, there are a couple of things the study presents that should be taken seriously. And that’s the deviations that occurred with a few of the test subjects who did have elevated serum lipids from the test group. But for each of these test subjects, the increased serum total cholesterol was associated with the user’s higher frequency for dosing kratom throughout the day.
So, according to the results of the test, we can safely conclude that the study suggests that kratom does not raise dangerous cholesterol levels within a kratom user. Furthermore, the liver tests never resulted in any toxicity levels from daily kratom usage. Both of these issues have been raised by kratom opponents throughout the years, but this study shows the opposite to be the case.
And that’s the beauty of science. Anyone can claim something is true when it’s not. Science, on the other hand, proves the truth.
Things to Consider About the Study
Before we get too carried away with the published findings for this scientific study, we need to look at a few points to consider. One, this study was performed in Malaysia—where the use of kratom by the female population is considered taboo, so there were no women included in the study as participants. And since American kratom customers have a large female consumer base, a more gender-inclusive study should be pushed by the industry in the future.
Also, kratom vendors should always err on the side of caution and take any deviations in the results to heart. After all, it’s the future of the industry that’s on the line. And one of the findings of the study that was of interest is more frequently scheduled doses throughout the day has an impact of slightly higher cholesterol levels within the consumer. With that information at our fingertips, it might be in the kratom vendors’ best interest to suggest on each of their company’s packaging for a less frequent dosage pattern to be used throughout the day to mitigate the risks of the user.
That type of proactive approach to dosage suggestions could help the industry as it progresses in the coming years. Taking the initiative to tackle these results would prove to the FDA (whenever it starts doing its job) that the kratom industry is well equipped to make the necessary arrangements to address an issue prior to the regulatory measures from a federal agency calling for it.
Further Research Is Important
While all of these results are important and should be discussed at length by the kratom community, we should still remember that even though the study suggests that kratom usage does not lead to increased serum total cholesterol levels that there is still further research needed to prove it beyond a shout of a doubt. One scientific experiment that suggests an outcome doesn’t prove anything as a fact. That’s not how the scientific method works.
Instead, more scientific studies on this same issue should be performed by scientists in the future. Then, those results will need to be compared to the ones supplied with this experiment. With each scientific report that shows similar results, it will be used by the next team of researchers to compound on with the following trials. Until, at some hopeful time in the future, science concludes that the findings have a high enough reliability that they are accurate.
But that doesn’t mean the kratom community doesn’t have something to celebrate with the results from this experiment. The results are still something we should tout loudly to the opposition. Every single experiment that shows validity to our claims is another weapon in our arsenal to fight back against the misinformation plaguing the internet about kratom.
We still have a long fight ahead of us. The federal government has a large pool of taxpayer money to utilize against us. Federal agencies have legal channels that can be easily manipulated. But, in the end, we have science.