Kratom has become a very popular herb among individuals seeking natural alternatives to painkillers and anxiolytics. The plant is used for many reasons, including pain relief, anxiety relief, to increase energy and, especially, to get off synthetic opioids or ease their withdrawal symptoms. But, like any other herb, kratom doesn’t come without side effects. People who use kratom regularly have reported some unpleasant effects, such as nausea, stomach upset and constipation. Typically, these side effects are not serious and will disappear after a few days since you stop using kratom.
On the other hand, some people have experienced other effects, including weight loss. However, there are also users who report that kratom may be making them gain weight. But, is this possible? Does kratom cause weight gain? We’ll explore this subject in this article.
Why Do We Gain Weight?
Every person is different, and there are many factors that can cause weight gain. Some of the most common are:
- Unhealthy eating habits
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Some medicines
- Certain illnesses and conditions
Obviously eating more calories than we burn will make us get fat. Moreover, our metabolism has an important role in this subject. Metabolism occurs at different rates in each individual, consequently, the same number of calories will cause weight gain in some people and the opposite effect in others. Additionally, metabolism tends to slow down with age, that’s why losing weight seems to be harder as we get older.
Medicines That Cause Weight Gain
As we have seen above, weight gain can be caused by many factors, including the use of certain drugs and medicines. Medicines that can cause weight gain include:
- Lithium and drugs used to treat bipolar disorder can stimulate appetite by downregulating leptin production. Leptin is the hormone that makes us feel satiated after a meal. So, if our system produces less of it, we’ll feel hungry more frequently.
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCA’s), anxiolytics and antipsychotics can also provoke weight gain. However, this effect is reversible after discontinuation of the treatment.
- Beta-blockers and medicines to treat high blood pressure and heart conditions can increase body fat by reducing our system capacity to burn calories and fat.
- Steroids cause water retention making us gain weight.
How Does Kratom Work?
The leaves of Mitragyna Speciosa (kratom) have multiple alkaloids and other compounds that act on our system to produce various effects. The two main kratom alkaloids are Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These alkaloids and other kratom compounds act on the opioid receptors of the nervous system, allowing it to reduce the feelings of pain and anxiety. But although kratom works directly on our opioid receptors and has similar effects, the plant is not an opioid.
Typically, kratom doesn’t cause weight gain, in fact, most users report the opposite effect. So, why are there individuals who report that the plant has made them gain weight? Let’s find out below.
Does Kratom Cause Weight Gain?
Although most individuals tend to lose weight while using kratom, others report that the plant has the opposite effect on them. So, does kratom cause weight gain?
Unfortunately, there is not enough research on kratom to determine how it affects weight. However, we can find some answers based on anecdotal evidence. So, possible causes for kratom weight gain might include:
- Constipation: one of kratom’s well-known side effects is constipation and bloating. And this might be the reason for some individuals to gain weight when using kratom.
- Hormonal causes: anecdotal evidence shows that some women who are taking birth control pills may experience weight gain when using kratom. However, switching BC pills have helped some of them lose unwanted weight.
- Unhealthy habits: due to kratom’s flavor many kratom users mix the powdered leaves with sweet foods to mask its taste. This habit may increase the regular calorie intake of the individual and, for this reason, the person can experience weight gain.
If you think that kratom is causing you to gain weight, stop using it for a few weeks to determine whether or not your problem is caused by it.
How to Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you feel that kratom is causing your weight gain, there are some measures that you can take to help maintain a healthy weight. Let’s take a look at them:
- Eat healthily: the Mediterranean diet can help you not only maintain a healthy weight but good health overall. Simply increase your vegetable and fruit intake and reduce red meats and fats.
- Drink enough water: this will allow you to keep hydrated. On the other hand, avoid drinking sugary drinks.
- Exercise regularly: this will help you burn more calories, hence lose weight.
Finally, if you think that kratom is making you gain weight, stop the intake for a few weeks to determine if that’s really the cause, or if there’s something else that might be causing the problem.