Kratom is an increasingly popular herbal medicine originating from the jungles of Southeast Asia. A relative of the coffee plant, kratom (or kratom leaf powder) has been used to treat everything from digestive and psychological ailments to diabetes and pain management.
Though kratom is effective, some users have reported hair loss as a side effect of the supplement. So, in this article, we’re going to take a look at kratom and dive into whether or not it causes hair loss.
Table of Contents
- 1 Does Kratom Cause Hair Loss?
- 2 What Users Are Saying About Kratom and Hair Loss
- 3 How To Minimize Hair Loss From Kratom
- 4 What To Do If You Experience Hair Loss After Kratom
Does Kratom Cause Hair Loss?
There is no clear evidence linking kratom to hair loss. However, scientific research on kratom and how it affects the body is generally lacking. With such a small body of research, it’s impossible to state for sure whether kratom does or does not cause hair loss. Much of the information we know about kratom comes from its users rather than science.
Although there isn’t evidence supporting it, there are theories that may explain the potential connection between kratom and thinning hair.
Here are some possible links between the reported cases of kratom use and hair loss.
Kratom May Interact With Testosterone
Male pattern baldness is related to a byproduct of testosterone, called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). While the exact link isn’t known, some long-term kratom users report symptoms that parallel those found with low testosterone.
Kratom Stimulates Your Immune System
As an immunostimulant, kratom increases the strength and activity of your immune system. More activity means higher rates of inflammation throughout your body.
As your immune system tries to fight the inflammation, it might attack the cells in your hair follicles. Additionally, inflammation reduces the hair follicle’s blood flow, weakening them over time.
The Kratom Might Be Incorrectly Treated With Pesticides
It is speculated that some kratom farms use chemical pesticides or fertilizers to protect their crops. When used correctly, pesticides should wear off by the time the final product is packaged.
However, if the crops are improperly sprayed, some chemicals may be left behind and contribute to hair loss.
Kratom Might Act as an Opioid
Kratom is rich in alkaloids that affect your body’s opioid system. Opioids have many well-known potential side effects, one of which is hair thinning.
Studies suggest opioid agonists encourage testosterone to break down into DHT, which increases the likelihood of thinning hair.
There May Be Heavy Metal Contamination
Recently, the FDA performed tests on various kratom products available on the market. Worryingly, some of the products showed significant heavy metal contamination.
Heavy metals, like lead and nickel, can build up in the body and cause heavy metal poisoning. Heavy metal poisoning can lead to illnesses that cause hair thinning.
Something Else Is Behind the Hair Loss
Some of the people reporting hair loss due to kratom could be losing their hair because of other reasons. It might just be the timing that makes it seem like the two are related. Common causes of hair loss include:
- Changes in hormone levels
- Weight loss
- Poor diet
- Medical conditions
With kratom increasing in popularity in the past few years, there are more users than ever taking to the internet to share their experiences. We’ll dive into what they’re saying below.
What Users Are Saying About Kratom and Hair Loss
Despite the lack of scientific evidence, some users have reported experiencing hair loss after using kratom.
It should be noted that many of these commenters say other factors might have also been at play and that they were using high doses.
These experiences are in the minority, though, as most commenters haven’t experienced any thinning even with heavy, chronic use.
Most hair loss claims come from kratom users in the United States. Users from Southeast Asia, where the plant originated, don’t report hair thinning as a side effect.
This may point to contamination (i.e., adulterated kratom powder) as a potential origin of kratom’s reported hair thinning effects.
How To Minimize Hair Loss From Kratom
While kratom can be an effective natural treatment, hair loss is a significant concern for many people. Here are a few tips for you to reduce the likelihood of hair loss as a result of using kratom.
Take Only What You Need
Most of the users who experience hair loss admit they were taking excessively high doses over a long period.
If you’re worried about hair loss, take a smaller dose and stretch out your doses as much as possible. This will help reduce the chance of adverse side effects like hair thinning.
Only Buy Kratom From a Legitimate Supplier
Contaminants can contribute to any negative side effects you experience after using kratom. Only buy high-quality, tested kratom powders from reputable suppliers to help cut down on the chances of a tainted batch (i.e., adulterated kratom powder).
Many kratom vendors even have detailed lab reports available that will show the purity of each crop, but kratom consumers should conduct sufficient research to increase the likelihood of receiving a high-quality product.
Start Taking Hair Growth Supplements
If you’re concerned about kratom causing you to lose your hair, you can try taking hair-growth supplements to help offset any unwanted effects.
Some beneficial hair growth supplements you can consider adding to your routine are:
Note: The best way to prevent side effects is to take preventative measures. As with any supplement, consult a medical professional before using kratom. Make sure to follow up with your doctor to keep track of any adverse health effects.
What To Do If You Experience Hair Loss After Kratom
If you’re losing hair after taking kratom, you can take steps to reduce and potentially reverse it. Let’s get into those below.
Cut Down on the Amount of Kratom You Take
If kratom is behind your hair loss, lowering the dose can help. Since hair loss is mainly reported in users who take excessive amounts, it might signify you’re taking too high of a dose. Try taking less and increasing the length of time between doses.
Contact a Medical Professional
Hair loss can indicate a serious health problem, so it’s best to seek medical attention if you notice a drastic change in your hair. A medical professional will be able to get to the root cause of your hair loss and inform you on how best to proceed.
Reduce Your Stress
High levels of stress and chronic stress can contribute to an overactive immune system and increase inflammation. Depending on the cause of your hair loss, reducing your stress levels might help you retain your locks.
Here are some easy ways to reduce your stress levels.
- Try aroma or color therapy.
- Make sure you’re getting the proper amount of sleep each night.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water.
- Carve out more “me time,” even if it’s only a few minutes at a time.
- Improve your work-life balance.
- Get regular exercise.
Stop Using Kratom
If the risks outweigh the benefits, it might be best to stop taking kratom altogether. This entirely depends on how your reasons for trying kratom weigh against potential hair loss.
If it’s not worth it, consider switching to an alternative treatment to preserve your mane.
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Despite the lack of evidence, a few heavy users have reported thinning hair as a side effect of kratom. However, these reports are in the minority.
A link between hair loss and kratom hasn’t been established, so you can more than likely use it without worrying.
We hope this article has helped you determine if kratom is linked to hair loss and given you the tools to prevent and reverse any thinning resulting from its use.
Kenneth Byrd holds a BS in Accounting and Management Information Systems and an MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. With over 15 years of experience, Kenneth has been dedicated to hair care since 2008, when he co-founded Curl Centric® and Natural Hair Box alongside his wife. As a team, they promote healthy hair care practices through their comprehensive platform, Curl Centric. Curl Centric is a website operated by a husband and wife team that encourages healthy hair care. At Curl Centric, we aim to help our readers take control of their hair care journey and make good decisions about products, hairstyles, and maintenance techniques. We also have strict editorial integrity; here’s an explanation of our editorial guidelines and how we make money.