IS KRATOM CARDIOTOXIC OR NEUROTOXIC?
I think you'll agree with me when I say that the two organs people worry about the most are their hearts and their minds. All too many people suffer from heart conditions and everyone is concerned about developing neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia.
Everyone is afraid of things like cardiac arrest or forgetting the things that mean the most to them.
Needless to say, there are a number of people who are concerned about kratom's potential for being cardiotoxic and neurotoxic.
Well, it turns out that there is plenty of information available about kratom's potential for such toxicity as well as several testimonials that attest to its many health and wellness benefits. And in today's post, we'll break down the facts about kratom so you will have a better understanding of what kratom does and how it works on your body and brain.
Table of Contents
Cardiotoxicity refers to the occurrence of muscle damage to the heart. When the muscles of the heart are damaged, the heart grows weaker and becomes inefficient at circulating blood (pumping blood to and fro the chambers and ventricles of the heart).
Many different things can put a strain on the heart muscles including chemotherapy, intake of heavy metals and incorrent administration of certain drugs.
While kratom's precise cardiotoxicity is not well understood, there have been reports of seizures from kratom's active alkaloids when combined with other powerful substances such as O-desmethyltramadol and Propylhexadrine in proprietary blends (typically, convenience store packets that purport to be pure kratom such as Krypton Kratom which caused nine deaths in Sweden).
Additionally, kratom's cardiotoxicity has been studied using human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes to assess its chief alkaloid Mitragynine and its analogues.
In cases of acute toxicity, such as those resulting in seizure, it was clear that it was not kratom alone that caused these adverse affects, rather it was kratom ingestion in conjunction with other compounds like Modafinil and Datura Stramonium.
The findings of the aforementioned study are still ambivalent at best. There remains a lack of direct evidence to suggest that Mitragynine is, in fact, cardiotoxic.
As the clinical report clearly states, “This is compounded by unavailable reference ranges of Mitragynine in plasma as Kratom alkaloids or their metabolites are usually not target analytes of toxicity screening.”
So, to be clear, while this study did find kratom to exert a cardiotoxic effect by inhibiting certain cardiomyocytes, the findings were nebulous at best due to the impossibility to determine at what levels the alkaloid would be consumed by the average user.
To draw a useful comparison, caffeine and other commonly used stimulants can also exert a cardiotoxic effect when used improperly or in large daily doses. However, there is no reason to believe that they are cardiotoxic when used responsibly and in moderation.
In other words, there is insufficient evidence to support the hypothesis that kratom on its own would have any significant cardiotoxicity in moderate doses.
IS KRATOM NEUROTOXIC?
There has been much discussion among the online community about the prospect of kratom leaves being neurotoxic. One user on the Longecity forums penned a post entitled “Kratom—bad for intelligence/brain/neurotoxic?”
In the post, he writes, “Because if it's not, I'm going to happily abuse it regularly.”
A more health-conscious user replied, “It it is then I am doomed. I have RA [Rheumatoid Arthritis] and I take it every day...been very helpful for me, I do not need pain meds.”
Yet another user insisted that kratom isn't neurotoxic, noting, however, that it is cardiotoxic. Still another user was quick to respond to this by citing the previously mentioned study, writing, “The fatal accidents they mentioned were not a result of the Kratom. What they used was a mixture of Kratom and O-desmethyltramadol, at least that is what the autopsy found.”
That being said, a study has been conducted which suggests that humans consuming a kratom cocktail might be at a higher risk of developing neurotoxicity from PM (Permethrin), an anti-parasitic.
KRATOM'S EFFECTS ON THE BRAIN
Studies are still being conducted to evaluate the precise mechanism of action of kratom's bioactive alkaloids, but here's what we know so far. Kratom hits the same brain receptors as opioids which is why many opiate addicts have found powerful relief from opioid-related withdrawal symptoms when taking kratom.
This is also why kratom can serve as a natural anxiolytic (anti-anxiety medication) and mood enhancer. It also acts as a stimulant in small doses which is why so many people have reported experiencing increased alertness, energy, focus and memory recall.
WHAT IS KRATOM USED TO TREAT?
Kratom has been used for thousands of years as a folk medicine. It treats a number of health issues and disorders including diabetes, chronic pain (lower back pain, fibromyalgia, RA, etc.), depression and neuropathy.
As a natural analgesic, kratom can treat a wide range of pain conditions including migraine headaches, CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), arthritis, joint pain and inflammation. It is also implemented by some as an alternative to mainstream anti-diarrheal medications.
When taken in moderate dosages, kratom does not appear to be neurotoxic. For those concerned with kratom hangover or kratom overdose, it is best to stick to disciplined usage, cycling your doses and taking the herb in moderation.