Kratom products may contain toxic heavy metals

Kratom products may contain toxic heavy metals

If you’ve been using kratom for any reason, or are considering it, you need to know that FDA laboratory analyses of 26 commercial kratom products have found “disturbingly” high levels of toxic heavy metal contamination.

This news follows hard on the heels of a mandatory recall of kratom products earlier this year because of extremely high rates of salmonella contamination that caused numerous illnesses.

“As part of our efforts to assess kratom for contamination in the products tested, we also found disturbingly high levels of heavy metals in kratom products,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD. “Among the heavy metals we found were lead and nickel at levels not considered safe for human consumption. While the levels of the specific products we’ve tested so far are not likely to result in immediate acute heavy metal poisoning from a single use, some of these products included levels that, with chronic use, could cause some people to suffer from heavy metal poisoning. We are concerned that there may be other kratom products on the market that also contain heavy metals.”

The agency already has issued numerous warnings about the “serious risks associated with the use of kratom, including novel risks due to the variability in how kratom products are formulated, sold and used both recreationally and by those who are seeking to self-medicate for pain or to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms,” Gottlieb added. “As a result of our analysis, we’re contacting companies marketing these kratom products to make them aware of the heavy metal testing results. And we are putting out this advisory to warn consumers so that they can take steps to protect their health.”

An uncontrolled opioid

The substance called kratom is derived from the leaves of the kratom tree, native to Southeast Asian. Kratom is not legally marketed in the U.S. as a drug or a dietary supplement, but nevertheless it’s widely marketed on the internet and in online stores such as Amazon. There’s a wide assortment of “how to use kratom” books, and even kratom t-shirts and coffee mugs are for sale.

FDA announcements over the past few years have been aimed at dissuading Americans from using kratom for any reason, because of substandard product manufacturing, unsupported “bogus” claims of effectiveness for numerous ailments, a nationwide salmonella epidemic that infected 199 people and put 50 of them in hospital – and now the discovery of heavy metal contamination.

Added to all this is the agency’s announcement last February that new research confirms that kratom is most definitely an opioid, and an uncontrolled one at that.

FDA scientists recently analyzed the 25 essential compounds that make up kratom, and found that 22 of them bind to opioid receptors in the human body. Two of the five most prevalent compounds fully activate opioid receptors, making them what are called opioid agonists, exactly the same as prescription

“We have been especially concerned about the use of kratom to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms, as there is no reliable evidence to support the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid use disorder and significant safety issues exist,” Gottlieb said. “We recognize the need and desire for alternative treatments for both the treatment of opioid addiction, as well as the treatment of chronic pain.”
The commissioner added that the FDA is ready and willing to “evaluate evidence that could demonstrate a medicinal purpose for kratom. However, to date, we have received no such submissions and are not aware of any evidence that would meet the agency’s standard for approval.”

If you or someone you know is thinking about using kratom, it’s wise to think again. And if you or that someone is in any kind of trouble with substance use or abuse, don’t hesitate to call Novus right away.

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