Does Kratom Cause Hair Loss?

A man holding a leaf from a Kratom plant

Can Using Kratom Cause You to Lose Your Hair?

Kratom, a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, has gained popularity in recent years for its potential medicinal benefits. Many people use kratom for pain relief, anxiety reduction, and as an aid for opioid withdrawal.

However, there have been increasing anecdotal reports from kratom users attributing hair loss to their use of the herb. This article will examine the current scientific evidence to determine if kratom indeed causes hair loss.

How Kratom Works

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tree in the coffee family that grows naturally in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. The leaves of the kratom tree contain compounds that can have psychotropic effects.

The main active ingredients in kratom are the alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These compounds work on opioid receptors in the brain, producing sedation, pleasure, and decreased pain when taken in high doses.

At lower doses, kratom acts as a stimulant, increasing energy and alertness. People commonly use kratom for chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and as an aid for opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Anecdotal Reports of Kratom Hair Loss

In online forums and discussion boards, some kratom users have reported experiencing hair loss that they attribute to their kratom use. These anecdotal reports describe hair thinning, shedding, and even balding after regular kratom consumption.

However, it’s important to note the limitations of such anecdotal evidence. These reports lack scientific rigor and don’t account for other variables that could be contributing to hair loss, such as stress, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal changes, or genetics. While concerning, anecdotal reports alone aren’t sufficient to prove that kratom causes hair loss.

See Also: Is Stress Causing Your Hair Loss?

Scientific Studies

To date, there has been only one direct scientific study examining the link between kratom use and hair loss. In 2020, researchers surveyed 143 kratom users about their experiences with the herb. Among the participants, 5.6% self-reported hair loss that they believed was related to their kratom use.

However, this study had several limitations. It relied solely on participants’ self-reporting and didn’t include any objective measures of hair loss. Additionally, the study didn’t control for other factors that could contribute to hair loss.

Beyond this single study, there is currently a lack of conclusive scientific evidence proving a direct link between kratom use and hair loss.

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Potential Mechanisms for Kratom Causing Hair Loss

While not proven, researchers have proposed several theoretical mechanisms by which kratom could potentially contribute to hair loss:

  1. Hormonal changes: Kratom’s interaction with opioid receptors could potentially lead to hormonal imbalances that impact hair growth.
  2. Nutritional deficiencies: Kratom use can suppress appetite, which could lead to nutritional deficiencies that affect hair health.
  3. Toxicity to hair follicles: Heavy, long-term kratom use might cause toxicity to hair follicles, disrupting the hair growth cycle.

However, it’s crucial to emphasize that these potential mechanisms are currently theoretical and unproven. More research is needed to verify if any of these proposed ways actually contribute to hair loss in kratom users.

Potential Kratom-Related Hair Loss Recovery

For kratom users who are experiencing hair loss, it’s important to take a comprehensive approach to hair health. This includes ensuring proper nutrition, managing stress, and following a hair care regimen that promotes healthy growth.

Consulting with a healthcare professional can help rule out other underlying causes of hair loss, such as hormonal imbalances, autoimmune disorders, or medication side effects. A doctor can also recommend evidence-based hair loss treatments, such as finasteride, minoxidil, or low-level laser therapy, which have been shown to be effective in regrowing hair.

Kratom and Hair Loss: Conclusion

While concerning anecdotal reports of hair loss among kratom users exist, there is currently limited scientific evidence to prove a direct causal link between kratom and hair loss. Only one study to date has examined this topic, and it relied on self-reported data with no objective hair loss measures. More rigorous, controlled studies are needed to determine if kratom use can indeed lead to hair loss.

Theoretical mechanisms for how kratom could impact hair health have been proposed, such as hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, and toxicity to hair follicles. However, these potential mechanisms are unverified and require further research.

For kratom users who are experiencing hair loss, it’s advisable to take a comprehensive approach to hair health. This includes addressing any nutritional deficiencies, managing stress, and following a hair care regimen that promotes healthy growth. Consulting with a healthcare professional can provide personalized guidance and help rule out other underlying causes of hair loss.

While the current evidence is insufficient to definitively state that kratom causes hair loss, the anecdotal reports warrant further scientific investigation. Until more conclusive research emerges, kratom users should be aware of the potential association and monitor their hair health accordingly.

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References
  1. Singh, D., Narayanan, S., Müller, C. P., Swogger, M. T., Rahim, A. A., Leong Bin Abdullah, M. F. I., & Vicknasingam, B. K. (2019). Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) Dependence, Withdrawal Symptoms and Craving in Regular Users. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 202, 95-100. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.05.029
  2. Pattanawongsa, A., Chaikledkaew, U., Thongprayoon, C., & Ungprasert, P. (2020). Efficacy and Safety of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) for Treatment of Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 9(8), 2639. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9082639
  3. Leong Abdullah, M. F. I., Singh, D., & Swogger, M. T. (2021). The Prevalence of Psychotic Symptoms in Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) Users in Malaysia. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 53(4), 302-310. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2021.1874573
  4. Coe, M. A., Pillitteri, J. L., Sembower, M. A., Gerlach, K. K., & Henningfield, J. E. (2019). Kratom as a substitute for opioids: Results from an online survey. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 202, 24-32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.05.005
  5. Swogger, M. T., & Walsh, Z. (2018). Kratom use and mental health: A systematic review. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 183, 134-140. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.10.012
  6. Grundmann, O. (2017). Patterns of Kratom use and health impact in the US-Results from an online survey. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 176, 63-70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.03.007
  7. Leong Abdullah, M. F. I., Tan, K. L., Narayanan, S., Yuvashnee, N., Chear, N. J. Y., Singh, D., & Grundmann, O. (2021). Is Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) Use Associated with ECG Abnormalities? Electrocardiogram Comparisons between Regular Kratom Users and Controls. Clinical Toxicology, 59(5), 400-408. https://doi.org/10.1080/15563650.2020.1812627

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