FDA notes high levels of heavy metal in Kratom

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Reports reveal that Kratom is “not just a plant — it’s an opioid”

Some kratom products contain ‘disturbingly’ high levels of heavy metals, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently warned.

“Among the heavy metals we found were lead and nickel at levels not considered safe for human consumption,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD.

Some 26 different kratom products were tested, and there is concern that still others may contain heavy metals.

Kratom is derived from the leaves from the kratom tree (Mitragyna speciosa), which is native to Thailand, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. The botanical’s popularity has been increasing in the United States, with those who take it and manufacturers claiming it can help treat pain, anxiety, depression, and more recently, opioid withdrawal.

The scientific data and adverse event reports have “clearly revealed” that compounds in kratom make it “not just a plant — it’s an opioid,” Gottlieb, MD, said in a statement back in February. “Claiming that kratom is benign because it’s ‘just a plant’ is short-sighted and dangerous,” he added.

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Rob Senior
Rob Senior

Rob has 15 years of experience writing and editing for healthcare. He previously worked for ADVANCE from 2002 to 2012.

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