December 18, 2018

Heavy Metals Found in Some Kratom Products

There have been several warnings issued in the past year about kratom, a dietary supplement that was recalled for Salmonella contamination. Now, the FDA states that they have found “disturbingly high levels of heavy metals in kratom products.”

Heavy Metals Found in Kratom Products

Kratom is not legally marketed in the U.S. as a drug or dietary supplement. The FDA states that some substances in kratom have opioid properties that suggest the potential for abuse.

FDA scientists tested 26 separate kratom products obtained by field investigators. These products were originally collected as part of the efforts related to the multistate Salmonella outbreak linked to those products. Officials found lead and nickel in the kratom, at levels that are not safe for human consumption.

The levels of heavy metals found are not likely to cause immediate acute heavy metal poisoning from a single use, but they could, with chronic use, cause heavy metal poisoning.

The FDA is contacting these companies that market these products to alert them about this situation. This advisory is to warn consumers to avoid these products.

Earlier this year, a Salmonella outbreak linked to kratom products sickened at least 199 people in 41 states. The kratom was contaminated with several different types of Salmonella bacteria, including Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:-, Salmonella Heidelberg, Salmonella Javiana, Salmonella Okatie, Salmonella Weltevreden, and Salmonella Thompson. Most of those sickened consumed kratom in pills, powder or tea form.

People use kratom for help in treating opioid disorders. Officials are urging people to seek help from a healthcare provider instead. FDA-approved medications are the best way to get effective help. Others use the product to treat pain; there are safer, non-opioid ways to accomplish that.

The FDA statement ends by stating, “To date, there have been no adequate and well-controlled scientific studies involving the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid use withdrawal or other diseases in humans. Nor have there been studies on how kratom, when combined with other substances, may impact the body, its dangers, potential side effects, or interactions with other drugs.”

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