How Hard Is Kratom On the Liver? Kratom Liver Toxicity Guide

Suvrat Singh

Everyone who has heard about Kratom or has taken it knows about its multiple benefits. It’s a Southeast Asian tree whose leaves help many deal with pain, sleep issues, fatigue, anxiety, and much more. 


However, while you take Kratom for your various needs, it’s important that you also know about its side effects. It’s possible that many people may not experience any side effects at all. Some may experience mild side effects like nausea, constipation, dizziness, dry mouth, or loss of appetite. While some may experience side effects that could be severe, such as liver issues. 


So, to help you understand how Kratom can affect your liver, we have compiled the latest information and made this guide to help you make better decisions.

What is Kratom?

Kratom is a tree from Southeast Asia recognized for its leaves, which contain alkaloids capable of providing various benefits. In wellness, it is commonly used for pain relief, boosting energy levels, and managing sleep, anxiety, and depression.


Various types of Kratom, referred to as strains, such as Bali, Maeng Da, and Thai, are highly favored for their unique qualities in offering different levels of energy and relaxation. Additionally, the colors of Kratom leaf veins, such as Green, Red, and White, indicate the maturity stage of the plant and its alkaloid compositions. 


Typically, red veins are associated with relaxation effects, green with a sense of balance, and white with energy and focus boost.

Functions Of The Liver

The liver is an incredibly powerful and busy organ in the body. Medical specialists have identified it as performing over 500 different bodily functions, which is why liver injury or failure can be fatal. Some of the most well-known and important functions of the liver include:

The liver is a large filter that filters all the blood in the body. At any given time, it holds about 13% of all the blood in the body. It removes toxic substances and wastes from the blood, which are the substances that the human body excretes as waste and urine. It also breaks down some of these toxic substances that may be poisonous into non-harmful substances.


An example is its conversion of harmful ammonia, which may form from the metabolism of amino acids into urea, passed out in the urine. The liver helps to metabolize drugs, alcohol, and other things so that the body can absorb useful nutrients and get rid of the bad. In essence, one could describe the liver as a detoxifier.

Most proteins that make up the blood plasma are manufactured in and by the liver. One such important protein is albumin which is responsible for some blood transport functions, maintaining osmotic balance, and neutralizing free radicals in the body.

Due to the metabolism that goes on in the liver, it produces some by-products that the body should not accumulate. Accumulation of some of these metabolites, such as bilirubin, in the body, can cause diseases. The liver produces bile as a waste product that contains these metabolites like cholesterol and toxic materials. This bile carries this waste out of the body. Also, it helps the body to break down and digest fat-soluble vitamins. If bile production is affected, it could lead to several complications and diseases.

The body depends on many mechanisms and compounds to initiate the clotting process. An important one is Vitamin K, which synthesizes important proteins that the blood needs to clot. However, Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that the body needs the presence of bile salts to be able to absorb it and then use it. The liver produces bile, causing the blood clotting functions of the body to be indirectly dependent on the liver.

The liver is responsible for the major metabolic processes in the body. It breaks down fat to produce energy and aids in its absorption. When it comes to protein, the liver converts the amino acids from protein into stores that the body can use to produce energy in the event of carbohydrate or fat deficiency.


Perhaps most importantly, the liver ensures that the sugar level in the body is regulated. If there is a spike in blood sugar, it takes away excess glucose from the body and stores it as glycogen. The liver can also convert glycogen back into glucose if there is a drop in the sugar level of the blood. It does this by secreting two hormones named insulin and glucagon. Drug-induced liver injury can interfere with all of these functions of the liver. While most cases of DILI are not severe, kratom has been linked with causing acute liver failure. This kind of injury to the liver can cause death or require a transplant.

Is Kratom Bad For Your Liver?

In a 2016 press release by the DEA, it announced its intent to classify some of the major active components of kratom as schedule 1 substances. These ingredients were Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, two psychoactive compounds responsible for kratom’s effects on the body. These effects range from stimulating to sedative effects. Kratom could also be responsible for causing a feeling of ‘highness’ similar to weed and other controlled substances.


Research also shows that it has similar effects on the brain receptors as opioids do. And it is common knowledge that opioids are highly addictive. In the same vein, kratom has proven to be addictive. However, kratom is usually marketed as a solution to opioid withdrawal, although some medical practitioners suggest it leads to addiction and withdrawal. 


Many vendors claim to offer high-quality products. Addiction begins when people become dependent on a substance. This means people can become addicted to anything when exposed to it. With psychoactive drugs that provide relief from pain and altered senses, it becomes very easy to crave such feelings and become dependent constantly. Therefore, it is generally established that kratom is an addictive substance.


However, taking dietary supplements from kratom, like kratom herbal tea, very moderately may not cause addiction. The DEA and FDA recognize the addictive tendency of kratom. Also, several independent organizations help and support drug and alcohol addiction. 

Kratom Effects On Liver

Drug-induced liver disease is one side effect of using kratom. However, there are other effects of using kratom extracts, whether positive or negative effects. Some of these include:

There have been cases of kratom neonatal dependence. In this situation, a pregnant mother takes kratom, and the fetus develops dependence in vivo, i.e., in the womb. The child, upon birth, exhibits withdrawal symptoms similar to those exhibited in an adult. This is why pregnant and breastfeeding people are advised against taking any drugs, especially ones like kratom that can bind to opioid receptors. The advised thing to do is seek medical advice before taking kratom or any supplements.

One of the reasons people take kratom is its effects on their mental state. Like caffeine, drinking kratom tea might improve a person’s cognitive alertness. This stimulating effect is noticeable when one takes kratom in small doses. However, people sensitive to caffeine or prone to overstimulating may react adversely. While it may improve mood and sociability, it may also cause sweating, nausea, and insomnia.

In very high doses, kratom may have a sedative effect that puts one to sleep. For this reason, some take it to help them with insomnia. However, this use of kratom is neither well-researched nor medically approved.

Kratom binds to opioid receptors similar to other opioids. Opioids are popular for their pain-relieving effects, which is one of the reasons people experiencing chronic pain get easily addicted to them. Similarly, kratom can cause the user to experience a mental high at a certain dose. This type of feeling is euphoric and may temporarily make one feel numb to their pain. However, because this feeling wears off, it can lead to dependence and addiction.

Does Kratom Cause Liver Damage?

The debate surrounding whether Kratom leads to liver damage has attracted attention because of accounts and limited scientific investigations. While some individuals report liver-related problems after using Kratom, the cause-effect connection remains uncertain. 


Ongoing research yields conflicting results, with some studies indicating a link between Kratom consumption and liver toxicity. In contrast, others suggest that such incidents could be rare and influenced by factors such as existing health conditions or concurrent substance use.


Individuals need to approach the use of Kratom with caution and be mindful of risks. Practicing moderation, monitoring one’s well-being, and seeking advice from healthcare professionals if any adverse effects are experienced are steps to take. 


Additionally, obtaining Kratom from sources and avoiding products that may be adulterated can help reduce health hazards. Ultimately, extensive research is required to establish the connection between Kratom usage and liver damage.

Kratom Liver Toxicity Symptoms

Kratom, a supplement known for its claimed health benefits, has been linked to cases of liver issues. Signs of liver problems from kratom use may include.


  1. Yellowing Skin and Eyes (Jaundice) – Liver dysfunction can cause the skin and eyes to turn yellow due to bile duct blockage.


  1. Dark Urine – Liver damage could be indicated by dark-colored urine containing bilirubin.


  1. Abdominal Discomfort – Pain or discomfort in the abdomen, where the liver is situated, may be experienced.


  1. Nausea and Vomiting – Digestive troubles like nausea and vomiting might arise due to liver malfunction.


  1. Fatigue – Feeling abnormally tired or weak could be a symptom of liver issues.


It is crucial for those experiencing these symptoms to seek attention, discontinue kratom usage, and consult with healthcare professionals for evaluation.

Does Kratom Liver Toxicity Disappear With Time?

According to research, people who suffer from kratom liver damage or acute hepatitis usually recover once they discontinue its use. In people suffering from acute liver failure, prompt treatment should lead to recovery within two to three months. Upon discontinuing the substance, one can expect to be better in a few months and fully healed within a year. However, kratom liver toxicity will only worsen if one continues to use kratom regularly.

Kratom vs Alcohol On Liver

Kratom has a connection with abusing other toxic substances, including alcohol addiction. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), nearly all cases of death arising from kratom use were linked with another substance, drug, or contaminant. Many alcohol addicts take it with kratom. As both substances are anti-depressants, users might hope to enhance their effects by taking them together.


However, taking kratom with alcohol can increase the likelihood of overdosing. Also, both substances may enhance the negative effects of each other as they enhance the perceived positives. This means more toxicity for the body, especially the liver, which has to break both down. Most bodies that provide support for alcohol addiction will also be able to assist kratom addicts or people suffering from both conditions.

How To Use Kratom Safely?

Kratom comes in various forms, such as tablets, powders, and tinctures. It’s crucial to be cautious when purchasing kratom from the market, as certain products might contain harmful chemicals. When beginning to use kratom, start with a small dose. 


Gradually increase it over a few days. Normally, taking between 1 and 12 grams of dried kratom powder orally is considered safe. Sticking to ingesting it is advisable as other methods may not be as reliable.


Before using kratom, consult your physician, especially if you have underlying health issues or are on medications. If you encounter headaches, nausea, fatigue, or dizziness persisting for more than six hours, seek advice promptly. 


If you observe any indications of jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), darkened urine coloration, or painful urination, seek attention. Always remember to use kratom in moderation and be cautious whether you are taking it for an energy boost or as a supplement.

Kratom Addiction Treatment

A medical practitioner can direct one to an appropriate treatment center for kratom addiction. Treatment starts with detoxification. Here the aim is to halt the use of the substance as effectively and efficiently as possible. After this, one may undergo a comprehensive therapy and medication program.

Kratom Addiction Therapy

Here, the aim is to address the behavioral aspect of the addiction to prevent relapsing. They can help with cravings, self-sabotaging tendencies, and other underlying issues. Most times, one can opt for an individual, family, or group setting. Sessions typically become less regular as progress ensues.

Kratom Addiction Medication

Most times, medical practitioners use the same medicine used to treat opioid addiction to treat kratom addiction. Popular ones include Dihydrocodeine and lofexidine (Lucemyra). Other medications they use could be anti-depressants/anti-anxiety drugs.



Some of the positive effects of Kratom are its ability to relieve pain, boost mood, and increase energy levels. Taking it with guidance is crucial to fully enjoy these benefits since the effects can differ based on dosage and reactions.

Yes, the liver processes the compounds found in kratom. When consumed excessively or contaminated, it can strain the liver, potentially leading to toxicity. This highlights the significance of moderation and being mindful of one’s health conditions.

Consuming kratom can indeed cause serious liver problems. It is important to use it responsibly and avoid overdoses to protect liver health and prevent any complications that may arise from misuse.

If consumed excessively or contaminated, Kratom can put a strain on the liver. Monitoring its usage and prioritizing liver health are steps to minimize the negative effects of Kratom and maintain overall well-being.

Although rare, prolonged and excessive use of kratom has been linked to liver failure in some cases. Monitoring its usage closely and seeking advice can help reduce risks, highlighting the importance of making informed choices and staying vigilant when using kratom.


Kratom can be harmful to the liver if it’s contaminated or taken in large amounts. This is especially important for people with liver issues or pre-existing health conditions. It is recommended to avoid using kratom in such situations to prevent any health complications or potential conflicts with prescribed medications. 


Despite these concerns, Kratom continues to be popular in Southeast Asia and other regions due to its perceived health benefits.


Using kratom moderately and under supervision could help in improving overall well-being. However, caution is necessary considering the risks and individual health conditions. Making the right choices and staying alert is essential for minimizing the consequences and ensuring safe usage.

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