Kratom is one of the most controversial plants in the world – perhaps even more controversial than cannabis. The herb has its roots in Southeast Asia but has since gained widespread popularity in the west due to its numerous benefits.
Unfortunately, these benefits have not come without question, particularly around its effects on testosterone levels in both men and women. If you’re worried that kratom could be reducing or increasing your testosterone levels to alarming levels, read on as we evaluate the relationship between kratom and testosterone.
Testosterone is a hormone produced in humans and other animals’ gonads (sexual reproductive organs). Both men and women produce testosterone, but at varying levels. In men, testosterone is produced primarily in the testicles, while women produce it in the ovaries in smaller amounts.
Besides your gonads, your adrenal glands also produce the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which the body later transforms into estrogen and testosterone.
There are varying sentiments among scientists and in the kratom community about the effects of kratom on testosterone. For years, sex-enhancement drug manufacturers have peddled the claim that kratom enhances libido in kratom users. On the other hand, several scientific studies suggest the contrary.
Take this recent case report, for example. A 42-year-old male complaining of low libido was found to have hypogonadotropic hypogonadism – a condition in which gonads produce little or no sex hormones and elevated prolactin, a hormone responsible for milk production in pregnant women and new mothers.
Both conditions are a clear indication of low testosterone levels in men. However, the individual in question reported no use of medications or other substances that could potentially lower his testosterone levels.
Another follow-up two months later revealed that the man’s testosterone levels were back in the normal range. Further inquiry revealed that the man had used kratom before his first visit and then stopped shortly after the visit.
According to the report’s authors, this case demonstrated a reduction in testosterone levels among kratom users, particularly in men. On the other hand, numerous kratom users report experiencing an elevated sex drive after taking kratom.
In 2018, researchers from the University of Florida and Universiti Sains Malaysia conducted a joint study to evaluate the connection between kratom and testosterone. The study aimed to evaluate testosterone levels among regular kratom users.
The researchers conducted full blood tests on 19 regular kratom users over the course of two years. The tests showed that consumption of kratom over prolonged periods does not affect testosterone levels in humans.
There’s no evidence suggesting an interaction between kratom and testosterone. However, studies show that kratom consumption may increase the production of prolactin, which is often linked to a decrease in testosterone levels.
Since there seems to be no direct link between kratom and testosterone production, it should be safe to mix the two substances. That said, people react differently to kratom and other medications. So it would be best to err on the safe side and seek medical advice before taking further steps.
Testosterone is the main androgen in men, meaning it stimulates the development of male characteristics right from the uterus and into adulthood. It also plays other significant roles in male health, such as regulating sex drive, sperm production, bone and muscle mass, and the production of red blood cells. Testosterone is also linked to improved feelings of well-being in men.
Low testosterone can induce a variety of negative symptoms in men, including:
In women, testosterone works in conjunction with estrogen, the female sex hormone, to promote the growth and repair of women’s reproductive tissues and regulate bone mass and behavior.
Low testosterone levels in women can also lead to a wide range of negative symptoms such as low libido, mood swings, and weight gain. Reciprocally, high testosterone levels in women can lead to frontal balding, increased muscle mass, enlargement of the clitoris, and a deeper voice.
Testosterone plays a major role in both physiological and reproductive body functions for both men and women. Therefore, it’s no surprise to see people concerned about kratom’s effect on this vital hormone. More research appears to be needed before we can fully understand the relationship between kratom and testosterone.
Some of the evidence of kratom’s effects on testosterone appears to be contradictory and, therefore, cannot be fully relied upon. In order to err on the safe side, it is advisable to consume kratom responsibly and to seek medical advice whenever you notice any symptoms signaling a potential change in testosterone levels in your body.