To briefly qualify before we start: although I have shifted further towards general fitness and longevity over the past several years, I have been bodybuilding, and dieting as such, for 21 years. Although it is long-expired now, I have been a Certified Personal Trainer care of the American Council on Exercise and have trained both professional and amateur clients off and on throughout the years. I am deeply passionate about the field of medicine and have been studying it and its many specialties for around 25 years.
That said, I am not a licensed physician nor a Registered Dietitian and my advice should be considered accordingly. Since your doctor knows about you and your individual circumstance, check with him or her before making major changes to your diet or exercise program.
Weight Loss Basics
Before we jump right into the subject of kratom for weight loss, I think it is important we begin with some foundations. I won’t get as basic as defining calories and how food metabolism really works inside the body, but we should establish the very basic idea that, generally speaking, a person must consume fewer calories than they burn throughout the day if weight loss is the goal (Kinsell M.D. et al., 1964).
While there are situations that could change this, such as the macronutrient (fats, carbs, proteins, alcohol) composition of your diet, nutrient timing, and extreme circumstances, this general principle rings true for the most part. For example, take a person who burns 2,500 calories each day through a combination of their basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is what the body burns by simply living, plus their daily activities and exercise. That person, in the absence of extenuating issues such as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or other such problems, should lose weight if they burn more than 2,500 calories per day.
When I say “burn,” it is important to know that it doesn’t all have to come from exercise. While strength training is invaluable because it helps to build and maintain calorie-burning lean muscle tissue and cardio has its merits as well, we are going to focus on the diet part for the sake of this post. Also to stay within the scope of this post, we will consider all weight to be fat and not muscle (another subject entirely).
The generally-accepted formula for weight loss is five hundred calories per day burned equals one pound lost per week (Guth, 2014):
-500 calories * 7 days = -3500 calories = 1 lb.
Yes, the body is a complex machine and the inner-workings are much more intricate than that, but this classic representation has been holding pretty close to true for decades now for most people. A few other important pointers are to get plenty of sleep, stay well hydrated, and space your meals out throughout the day. Most people find that eating small meals or snacks every two to three hours is optimal when pursuing fitness goals. Now that you’ve got the basics down, let’s talk about kratom for weight loss.
Using Kratom for Weight Loss
Traditional stimulant appetite suppressants, ephedrine for example, are undeniably good at helping you control portions and stay away from foods that shouldn’t be part of your diet. However, a big drawback to this effect, especially for those looking to keep or gain lean muscle mass, is that it can be near impossible to force down the right food. Eating becomes plain unattractive in the most literal sense.
Kratom has been found to cause aversion to eating in live subjects. Singh, et al. (2014) found that many kratom users throughout Southeast Asia used kratom to control hunger, reporting this as a significant benefit to consuming the leaf. Another study found that, due to slower intestinal transit time of the food they consumed, mice given mitragynine extract maintained their starting body weight while the control mice all gained weight (Chittrakam et al., n.d.).
There is a strong linear relationship between the rate at which food clears the system and feelings of hunger, which was clinically observed by Bergmann et al. (1992). As food takes longer to pass, hunger is reduced. This effect is owed to the fact that, when the body senses it has a lot of digestion ahead of it, it signals the brain to curb hunger in order to ensure it doesn’t have to do even more afterwards.
One possible part of this action may lie in how the body processes glucose, which is a simple sugar that your body eventually turns all carbohydrates into. One major difference between types of carbohydrates is the speed at which they are converted. With slower digestion, the release of carbohydrates is also slowed, which means glucose increases are more controlled and spread over time (Marathe et al., 2013). This is one of the premises behind Atkins or other keto diets.
Using kratom for weight loss may be effective through reduced hunger. Less desire to consume food means an overall reduction in calories consumed. Once calories burned begins to surpass calories taken in, weight loss occurs.
That said, you should take care to not restrict calories too far or you risk losing lean muscle and sacrificing your metabolism, which will inevitably lead to exactly opposite of what you’re trying to achieve to begin with. A popular goal for weight loss without sacrificing body composition is about two pounds per week or so for many individuals. Next time you find it difficult to control empty calories or need a way to shut off excessive hunger signals, try adding kratom to your regimen.
Bergmann, J. F., Chassany, O., Petit, A., Triki, R., Caulin, C., & Segrestaa, J. M. (1992). Correlation between echographic gastric emptying and appetite: Influence of psyllium. Gut, 33(8), 1042. https://doi.org/10.1136/gut.33.8.1042
Chittrakam, S., Sawangjaroen, K., Prasettho, S., & Keawpradub, N. (n.d.). Inhibitory effects of kratom leaf extract (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) on the rat gastrointestinal tract | Request PDF. ResearchGate. Retrieved August 4, 2020 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18191353/
Guth, M.D., E. (2014). Healty Weight Loss. Journal of the American Medical Association, 312(9), 974. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2014.10929
Kinsell M.D., L. W., Gunning Ph.D., B., Michaels Ph.D., G. D., Richardson M.D., J., Cox M.D., S. E., & Lemon M.D., C. (1964). Calories do count. Metabolism, 13(3), 195–204. https://doi.org/10.1016/0026-0495(64)90098-8
Marathe, C. S., Rayner, C. K., Jones, K. L., & Horowitz, M. (2013). Relationships Between Gastric Emptying, Postprandial Glycemia, and Incretin Hormones. Diabetes Care, 36(5), 1396–1405. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc12-1609
Singh, D., Müller, C. P., & Vicknasingam, B. K. (2014). Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) dependence, withdrawal symptoms and craving in regular users. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 139, 132–137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.03.017