Most researchers agree that kratom has sedative, mood-boosting, and pain-relieving properties. However, not all of kratom’s effects are well-researched and documented.
For instance, some kratom users report that they get hungrier after consuming kratom. Others seem to experience the opposite. But because kratom isn’t known for its effects on appetite and research on the topic is sparse, kratom users are often left without answers.
A lack of information about kratom’s interaction with appetite can be especially frustrating if the plant interferes with your weight goals. Whether you’re trying to gain or lose weight, it’s invaluable to understand how drugs like kratom might be aiding or hindering your progress.
What the Science Says
As of this writing, few studies have explored kratom’s effect on appetite. And although there are mentions of kratom’s appetite-related effects throughout the available literature, researchers have yet to reach a consensus on what those effects really are.
Several researchers have noted that kratom has seen traditional use as an appetite suppressant in Southeast Asia (Singh, Warner). However, these findings contradict observations from other authors. In a 2010 survey (Vicknasingam et al.), 57.8–77.8% of Malaysian kratom users described “an increase in appetite” as one of the plant’s benefits, rather than a decrease. The same study found that frequent, long-term kratom users (defined as more than two years of use) reported having better appetites compared to new users.
But animal studies suggest that kratom does suppress appetite. In one of these studies (Chittrakarn et al., 2008), the authors assessed kratom’s effects on the gastrointestinal systems of rats. They found that doses of kratom extract between 50 and 100mg/kg for thirty days didn’t change the bodyweight of the rats. However, at higher doses (between 200 and 400mg/kg), the rats showed a “significant decrease” in body weight (pg 178), meaning that they were eating less than before. The study seems to suggest that kratom’s appetite-reducing effect increases with higher doses. However, given that this was a rat study, it’s unclear if the same is true of human kratom use.
What Can I Expect?
Given that there’s no scientific consensus on the topic, it’s difficult to predict how kratom might affect your appetite. After consuming kratom, some users might experience an increase in hunger, while others might experience a decrease. Ultimately, you may have to pay attention to how your appetite changes after consuming kratom to discover the answer for yourself.
Do Different Strains of Kratom Affect Appetite Differently?
Like most plants, kratom is available in many varieties. Depending on where and how the plant is grown, kratom farmers can produce various kratom variants. These variants are often referred to as kratom strains.
However, as of this writing, researchers don’t know much about the appetite-related effects of different kratom strains. While some kratom users have claimed that kratom strains affect their appetite(s) differently, researchers have yet to explore the theory’s validity.
It’s possible that a white kratom strain could affect your appetite differently than a red kratom strain. But for now, there’s no way to know for sure aside from consulting your own experience.
Beware of Weight-related Kratom Product Claims
Some kratom vendors and resellers market kratom with weight-related claims. For instance, when shopping for kratom online, you might see kratom products described as “weight loss aids” or “appetite stimulants.”
You should be wary of these claims and the vendors making them. Not only are these claims uncorroborated by science — they’re presumptive: kratom might increase, decrease, or have no effect on your appetite. As of this writing, there’s no scientific consensus on how or if kratom will affect the majority of users’ appetites one way or another.
Although kratom has existed for hundreds of years, scientists have yet to uncover all of the plant’s deepest secrets. And unfortunately, one of these unsolved mysteries includes how the plant affects appetite.
While some users have reported that kratom makes them hungry, others have said the opposite. But until researchers delve into the topic more thoroughly, there’s no way to predict how consuming kratom will affect your appetite. After taking kratom, you might notice a change in your appetite or none at all.
Ultimately, if you’re trying to determine whether or not kratom is interfering with your weight goals, you’ll have to consider your experience. If kratom seems to be slowing your progress by changing your appetite, consider taking less or abstaining from the plant entirely. But, if kratom appears to be helping you move towards your weight goals, that’s great — many kratom users might feel lucky to be in your shoes!
Chittrakarn, S., Sawangjaroen, K., Prasettho, S., Janchawee, B., & Keawpradub, N. (2008). Inhibitory effects of kratom leaf extract (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) on the rat gastrointestinal tract. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 116(1), 173–178. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2007.11.032
Vicknasingam, B., Narayanan, S., Beng, G., & Mansor, S. (2010). The informal use of ketum (Mitragyna speciosa) for opioid withdrawal in the northern states of peninsular Malaysia and implications for drug substitution therapy. The International Journal on Drug Policy, 21, 283–288. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2009.12.003
Warner, M. L., Kaufman, N. C., & Grundmann, O. (2016). The pharmacology and toxicology of kratom: from traditional herb to drug of abuse. International Journal of Legal Medicine, 130(1), 127–138. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00414-015-1279-y