Losing weight can be challenging, and studies show that there is an increasing number of people trying to do so. To help them lose weight, some people may take supplements to jump-start their transformation.
Kratom is one such supplement that is being examined as a possible complement to these efforts. While there are no FDA-approved medical uses for kratom, there is evidence that it may have some supplementary benefits conducive to losing weight — when used in combination with a responsible diet and exercise routine. Anecdotally, some kratom users have gone on to say that it has helped them lose weight, though such personal claims are not a substitute for comprehensive research.
Kratom has been used in Southeast Asian regions traditionally for many years, but more recently has become a popular botanical due to a range of effects it can purportedly produce. Specifically, kratom’s ability to provide a mild energy boost may help users support improved focus, productivity, and may even act as a mild appetite suppressant. Perhaps the best analog for kratom’s weight loss benefits is another botanical beverage — coffee.
Kratom comes from the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa, a native plant of several countries and islands in Southeast Asia. Mitragyna speciosa is in the same botanical family as the coffee tree, whose beans are roasted and prepared as the beverage coffee. Unlike coffee beans, kratom leaves do not contain caffeine, but they have been used traditionally in a very similar way, often prepared as a recreational drink and consumed in order to enjoy an increase in energy. Similar to coffee, while kratom doesn’t directly cause weight loss, using it as a supplement may help users engage in activities like diet and exercise that are conducive to losing weight.
Of course, it is always important to consult with your physician before engaging in any major change to diet or undertaking a new exercise plan. This can also be a good opportunity to discuss the benefits of using herbal supplements to support your weight loss goals, and to find out how to do so in a safe, healthy way.
While further research is needed to better understand its active pathways, initial studies have highlighted two components, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which are both alkaloids that occur naturally in kratom. These alkaloids appear to work with certain receptors in your brain, and are generally believed to be responsible for the range of effects attributed to kratom, including its energizing effects.
Many weight loss pills include some sort of stimulant. This is because stimulants have been shown to induce appetite suppression. One study on the benefits of stimulants for controlling appetite and consumption found that “stimulant medications address both reward deficiency and enhance motivation, as well as suppressing appetite.” This underlying mechanism may help explain why other stimulants like coffee (or caffeine) are popular supplements to individual weight loss efforts.
Though more research is needed to fully understand the effects and active properties of kratom, weight loss has been reported as a side effect of kratom use. Additionally, a pharmacologic and clinical assessment of kratom indicates that both a loss of appetite and weight loss were reported side effects of kratom use. It is not yet clear how these side effects may be connected, or how common they are among kratom users.
There are many different strains of kratom, which are cultivated and harvested in order to yield varying concentrations of the active components that give kratom its different effects. Kratom strains are named for the color of the kratom leaf (red, green, white, yellow) as well as for the region where they were cultivated (for instance, Bali kratom, etc). Strains are also separated into three categories or speeds, according to the strength of their effects and how quickly they can be felt: slow, moderate, and fast.
For weight loss you will want strains that produce either an energizing effect, or which can help relieve physical discomfort — strains that span across all three speeds. While some may boost your energy and motivation — helping you power through a workout — others may produce a more relaxing effect.
Another factor to consider when taking kratom for its desired effect is how much you are ingesting. Kratom dosage is extremely important, as if you take too little you will feel the desired effects, but if you take too much you may feel negative effects such as nausea or feeling jittery. If you are new to kratom, or using a new kratom product, it is best to take too little and work your way up, as opposed to going overboard the first time and feeling negative effects. A moderate-to-high dose of kratom — 5 to 15 grams — is said to be enough to produce analgesic effects. It is also important to note that dosage needs vary from person to person depending on your level of tolerance.
Kratom’s legality varies state-by-state, so it is best before purchasing to understand if you are doing so legally.