TLDR: Kratom doesn’t lower testosterone in most people even in doses up to 9g daily.
Kratom is commonly used as a painkiller and people also use it to wane off opioids or alcohol.
In more recent years, people have been using it to chill out, feel better, help manage stress and even help with productivity.
A few benefits/actions of Kratom include:
- Dopamine D2 agonist
- Alpha 2 adrenergic receptor agonist, which lowers excess noradrenaline, which is high in stressed individuals
- Blunts the release of cortisol in a stressful event, similar to other adaptogens
- Acts as a partial agonist at mu-opioid receptors and competitive antagonists at kappa- and delta-opioid receptors (this is one mechanism how it makes you feel better and blunts pain.)
- NMDA antagonist, which helps against depression, similar to mirtazapine or magnesium for example.
- Antagonizes the serotonin 5-HT2A and 2C receptors, which blocks some of the nasty effects of serotonin, such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, etc.
- Being anti-inflammatory by blocking COX-2, similar to aspirin.
- Blocks L-type and T-type calcium channels, which help with relaxation (anti-hypertensive, antiarrhythmics, etc.) and neuroprotective effects respectively.
- Acts on the CB1 receptor (R), which is involved in the release of dopamine, all of which makes you feel good.
In summary, it helps make you feel good and helps to kill inflammation and pain.
Kratom, opioid and testosterone
The fear that Kratom might lower testosterone comes from the fact that it’s an opioid agonist. Opioid agonists, such as morphine is known to induce hypogonadism in humans.
Opioids inhibit LH release in the pituitary and increase prolactin, which also inhibits steroidogenesis.
Then there is this case report study of a man inducing hypogonadism with Kratom use.
Unfortunately, they didn’t specify how much the man was using. But regardless, 2 months after his first visit, his testosterone and prolactin had recovered.
Case reports are good, such as the one above. It gives us clues for what to look out for and study further.
The following study looked at 19 regular kratom users who have been regularly using kratom tea/juice over prolonged periods (>2 years) (R).
Tea and juice might seem like a low amount, but it was a daily dose of 76.23–94.15 mg of mitragynine, one of the active compounds. Since Kratom has about 0.5-1.5% mitragynine by weight, 95mg mitragynine would translate to 9.5g Kratom daily (if we use the average of 1%).
So unless you abuse Kratom and go over 10g daily of a potent extract, you should be fine.
However, some people might be more sensitive than others. If your prolactin is a bit high and T a bit low, perhaps lower your Kratom dose or at least only use it on special occasions, which is what I do.
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