For millions of people, kratom has become a miracle that helps them cope with many ailments and conditions. Indeed, kratom can relieve pain, ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression, or even help you overcome an addiction. However, as the number of kratom users grows, so do the questions about its safety and side effects. One of those concerns is the connection between kratom and hair loss. Does kratom cause hair loss? In this article, we will try to find an answer to this question. What do users and science say? Keep reading to learn more!
How does Kratom Work? Kratom and the Opioid System
Kratom is the common name of Mitragyna speciosa, an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia. Also, it is a tree in the Rubiaceae family, just like coffee or gardenia. The kratom trees grow in the humid jungles of Indonesia, Malaysia or Thailand. But due to legal restrictions, right now, the largest kratom exporter is Indonesia. Local farmers pick kratom leaves from the trees and dry them before grinding them into a fine powder.
Kratom leaves contain more than 40 alkaloids and other chemicals. The most active kratom alkaloids are mitragynine (which is also the most abundant) and 7-hydroxymitragynine (arguably the most potent). These alkaloids act mainly on the opioid receptors, such as the mu or delta receptors. The opioid receptors get their name because they are part of the opioid system, which is responsible for pain, addictive behavior, and reward. Other than the opioid receptors, the opioid system also comprises endogenous opioids (endorphins and enkephalins) that activate the opioid receptors. But there are external substances that also activate the opioid receptors. Opioids, opiates, and other substances, such as kratom’s alkaloids or some milk proteins, can activate these receptors.
What does Kratom Do? Kratom Effects and Uses
By activating the opioid receptors, kratom can trigger the following effects:
- Pain relief
Thanks to these effects, kratom users consume this herb to cope with:
- Fatigue and low energy
Moreover, kratom may also help you focus and improve productivity and creativity, as well as enhance your mood. But kratom may also be helpful for certain diseases, such as restless legs syndrome (RLS) or Lyme disease. And of course, kratom has become a very useful product for many people struggling with an addiction.
Side Effects of Kratom
Kratom can also cause side effects. In general, these side effects are not dangerous. Nonetheless, they can be very unpleasant and uncomfortable. Most often, the causes of these side effects are large doses and frequent use of kratom. Hence, the best way to avoid these side effects is to use kratom only once a day (and not every day) and avoid high doses. You can also rotate strains regularly to prevent side effects and kratom tolerance.
The side effects of kratom include:
- Stomach upset
- Headaches and migraines
- Eye wobbles
And what happens with kratom and hair loss? Is hair loss a side effect of kratom? Let’s find out.
Causes of Hair Loss
Is there a link between kratom and hair loss? What do users say? And what does science say about kratom and hair loss? Hair loss is a problem that affects both men and women. It can be due to many factors, such as:
- Hormonal imbalance and hormonal issues
- Genetic factors
- Some medical conditions
- Certain hair treatments and hairstyles
- Medications or supplements
Some of the medications that may cause hair loss are:
- Birth control pills
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs
- Hormone therapies
- Anti-seizure medications
Most of these substances cause hair loss during the resting phase (telogen). That is, while the hair is still in the follicle. And what happens with kratom? Does kratom cause hair loss?
Kratom and Hair Loss: Does Kratom Cause Hair Loss?
Let’s explore now what users and science say about kratom and hair loss. If you visit kratom forums —such as Reddit— you will find many posts about kratom and hair loss. Does kratom cause hair loss? It is a question that many kratom users wonder.
You will find that many kratom users report losing hair when taking kratom. People complain that after starting using kratom they notice their hair is thinning and starting to fall. And in general, they cannot find any other causes of this event, since kratom is the only new factor in their lives. But does kratom really damage your hair?
There are some rumors about the impact of kratom on the hormones. Many people wonder if kratom can mess with their hormones. In fact, some users are concerned about kratom lowering testosterone levels. But there are very few studies on this subject. According to a 2018 study, kratom does not have any impact on lower testosterone levels. 19 regular kratom users participated in this study. However, another study found that one man who consumed kratom regularly had low levels of testosterone. But in this case, the study focused on one single individual. While low testosterone levels may be related to hair loss, it is not clear if that is the cause of hair loss among kratom users. Nevertheless, there are also many users who report a fall in their testosterone levels after using kratom. It is not possible to find more studies on the effects of kratom on other hormones.
On the other hand, the causes why many medications or substances cause hair loss are not clear yet. Hence, finding out if kratom is one of those products is very difficult. Also, there is no scientific evidence that supports the relationship between kratom and hair loss. Nonetheless, there is no evidence on the contrary either. Having said that, anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that kratom might cause hair loss. Yet, we do not know why this occurs.
Kratom Hair Loss: Conclusions
Is hair loss another side effect of kratom? While it is not clear whether there is a link between kratom and hair loss, this link might exist. The only way of properly knowing if kratom is causing you hair loss is to quit kratom for a while and see if the hair loss stops. However, this measure could be very negative for many users. Kratom has become a lifesaver for many users. Hence, quitting kratom could do more harm than good.
If you decide to continue taking kratom despite hair loss, there are some things you can do to prevent it. However, keep in mind that stopping and preventing hair loss may be a difficult task. First of all, talk to a dermatologist. You will find that there are dermatologists who specialize in hair loss. You can also find a lot of products for hair loss on the market. Nonetheless, not all of them are equally effective. Also, there are some supplements that may be of help, such as vitamins or minerals. However, not all of them will work for all cases. That is why the best choice is to visit a dermatologist.