If your body was a city, your immune system would be its hero. Every day, our immune systems work around-the-clock to defeat invading organisms and keep us healthy.
However, protecting the body isn’t an easy job. During stressful times, our immune systems can’t always keep up with what’s asked of them. And the everyday choices we make can affect how our immune system performs — for better or worse.
Many kratom users claim that the plant seems to have increased their immunity to common colds and flu. But can kratom really super-charge your immune system, and what does the science say?
Let’s find out!
What is the Immune System?
The immune system defends your body from disease-causing microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. When healthy, your immune system can quickly detect these threats and destroy them. Healthy immune systems are also able to distinguish between foreign invaders and the body’s own tissues.
However, an unhealthy immune system is less effective at fighting microorganisms and staving off diseases. And just as diet and exercise play a pivotal role in keeping us healthy, our lifestyles and substance use can alter our immune system’s function. For instance, a lack of sleep and smoking are both associated with reduced immune system function.
Thankfully, unlike sleep deprivation and cigarettes, some studies suggest that kratom can give our immune system a helping hand.
Kratom’s Immune-boosting Benefits
According to scientific research, kratom’s immune-boosting properties stem from alkaloids, a class of organic compounds that are naturally found in kratom leaves.
Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are the most recognized kratom alkaloids and are responsible for the plant’s psychoactive effects. However, researchers have found that several other kratom alkaloids — including mitraphylline, isomitraphylline, and isorhynchophylline — are immunostimulants. This means that they stimulate the immune system by activating it or increasing its activity.
Although research on kratom’s interactions with the immune system is slim, the available literature is optimistic. In a study published in 2009, one team of scientists wrote that kratom promoted “enhanced immunity, stimulation of tissue repair, and healing processes.” In the kratom community, many kratom users with autoimmune issues have cited kratom’s ability to increase their quality of life.
What Kind of Kratom is Best?
If you’re looking to capitalize on kratom’s supposed immune-boosting properties, you probably won’t have to be selective about the type of kratom you choose.
Although the alkaloid concentrations of kratom leaves vary from strain to strain, scientists haven’t yet explored the immunostimulant potential of different kinds of kratom. So, while it’s possible that Red Maeng Dacould be more immunostimulating than Red Bali, there’s no literature demonstrating that this is the case.
As a result, it’s probably best to continue using the kratom strains you already prefer. Due to a lack of research, we can’t make a scientific statement recommending one type of kratom over another.
That said, if you’re interested in maximizing the immune-boosting potential of your kratom, you should always purchase from a trusted kratom vendor. Most reputable vendors sell kratom products that are fresh and all-natural, which tend to contain stronger alkaloid concentrations. In contrast, expired and/or adulterated kratom products can contain weaker alkaloid concentrations and may be less effective.
Kratom seems to contain immunostimulating alkaloids that could assist your immune system, but the science isn’t exactly clear on how they work. That said, current evidence suggests that kratom’s relationship with the immune system is beneficial rather than harmful.
So, while we wouldn’t recommend solely relying on kratom to keep your immune system healthy, it doesn’t seem like kratom use will prevent your immune system from doing its job.
Anti-Inflammatory and Antinociceptive Effects of Mitragyna speciosa Korth Methanolic Extract - Abstract - Medical Principles and Practice 2009, Vol. 18, No. 5 - Karger Publishers. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2020, from https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/226292
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