TLDR: Kratom doesn’t lower testosterone in most people even in doses up to 9g daily. Based on the research, a good kratom dosage is between 1-10g daily.
Kratom is an herbal extract that comes from the leaves of an evergreen tree (Mitragyna speciosa) grown in Southeast Asia
Kratom is a dietary supplement that is commonly used as a painkiller (to treat chronic pain) and people also use it to wane off opioids (it helps with opioid addiction and withdrawal symptoms) or alcohol.
In more recent years, the recreational use of kratom is to chill out, feel better, help manage stress and even help with productivity.
The legal status of kratom is currently legal in the United States, with the exception of a few states.
There are many different strains of Kratom, but they all work through the same mechanisms. 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 a competitive antagonist at kappa- and delta-opioid receptors (this is one mechanism for 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 make you feel good.
In summary, it helps make you feel good and helps to kill inflammation and pain.
Effects of Kratom
When you take Kratom, you can expect to feel more relaxed, happy, calm, excited, adventurous, social, etc. When I use it, I noticed slightly more colorful vision, feeling cheery, wanting to do things as well as less achiness. I just feel good in general.
Kratom, opioids and testosterone
Can Kratom cause low testosterone levels?
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 hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (low LH and testosterone) in humans.
Opioids inhibit LH release in the pituitary and increase prolactin levels, which also inhibits testosterone production.
Opioid abuse is known to cause erectile dysfunction, reduce sex drive, tank sex hormones (opioid-induced androgen deficiency), cause weight gain, respiratory depression, reduce muscle mass, muscle weakness, mood swings, lower energy levels, prostate swelling, etc.
Kratom causing low testosterone case report
Here is a good case report study of a man (1 man) who induced 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.
Long-term Kratom use on testosterone
The following study looked at 19 regular kratom users (male patients) who have been regularly using kratom tea/juice over prolonged periods (>2 years) (R). Daily Kratom use didn’t lower LH or testosterone and everyone had testosterone in the normal range.
Tea and juice use might seem like it contains low doses, 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 of 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.
Currently, there is no good scientific evidence that lower doses (<3g) or higher doses (∼10g) of Kratom will lower testosterone. But we definitely need more research on this since every study so far only had a small sample size. However, some people might be more sensitive than others. If your prolactin is a bit high and T a bit low, perhaps stay away from high doses or at least only use it on special occasions, which is what I do.
Kratom consumption is not like other recreational drugs that have strong adverse effects. It does have therapeutic uses, due to its opioid-like effects.
Does the Kratom strain matter?
There are many different kratom products and kratom strains, which might have slightly different effects. Some strains are more energizing, whereas others are more “sedating” and help with pain.
Strains for energy include Bali, Maeng Da (Golden Monk), Premium Bentuangie, Super Indo and Green Malay.
Strains for pain include Green Maeng Da, Red Bali, White Maeng Da and Red Maeng Da
Kratom on sexual function and libido
Higher levels of testosterone promote libido, and low testosterone can cause low libido. Many people using Kratom actually report an increase in libido. This effect is likely due to the activation of the dopamine, opioid and endocannabinoid systems.
Based on the limited research we have, Kratom on average doesn’t seem to lower testosterone, but it might do so for certain sensitive individuals.
If you want to use Kratom regularly, just keep an eye on your prolactin and testosterone.
If you still want to use Kratom, but avoid the potential negatives, then don’t go over 10g per dose and use it only on occasion.
What drugs affect testosterone levels?
Drugs that lower testosterone include SSRIs, opioids, glucocorticoids, anti-psychotics, anti-hypertensive drugs, etc.
What causes low testosterone?
Low testosterone is caused by obesity, diabetes, sleep loss, nutrition deficiencies, chronic inflammation, starving yourself, over-exercise, etc.
Do opioids destroy testosterone?
Yes, the most common side effect of opioid medication is low testosterone. Opioids promote the release of prolactin, which lowers GnRH and LH, thus also testosterone.
How can I increase my testosterone level quickly?
- Lose excess weight
- Manage stress
- Check for varicocele
- Eat enough calories
- Eat enough of the right fats
- Eat zinc rich foods
- Eat nutrient-dense foods
10 most important fundamentals for high testosterone
Can codeine lower testosterone?
Yes, codeine is an opioid, which lowers prolactin. Just 3 days of codeine use reduced testosterone by 20% (R).
Does Tramadol affect testosterone?
Yes, Tramadol is an opioid, which increases prolactin and lowers LH and testosterone (R).
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