Kratom has become an increasingly popular herbal supplement due to its naturally stimulating and relaxing properties. However, there is still much we don’t know about kratom, including its nutritional value.
Does kratom have any calories, vitamins, or other nutritional components? Can it help support a healthy diet and lifestyle?
What is Kratom?
Kratom refers to the leaves of the tropical evergreen Mitragyna Speciosa tree, native to Southeast Asia. The leaves have been used traditionally for centuries as both a stimulant to boost energy as well as a sedative for relaxation.
Today, kratom remains popular thanks to its ability to produce stimulant or relaxant effects in a natural way. The stimulating strain is known as green vein kratom, while the sedative type is called red vein kratom.
Kratom’s effects depend on the specific strain and vein color, the dosage consumed, and the individual. At low doses, kratom acts more as a stimulant. At higher doses, it starts to display some sedative qualities. The green vein type also tends to be moderately stimulating.
But what about kratom’s nutritional profile? Does it provide any beneficial vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients?
What is the Nutritional Value of Kratom?
When looking at the nutritional value of kratom, there hasn’t been extensive research into its exact macro or micronutrient profile. But we do know some basic facts:
Calories: Kratom itself is very low in calories by weight, with only 20-25 calories per 3 grams of leaf powder. Even heavy kratom use would contribute minimally to overall calorie intake.
Macronutrients: Kratom contains almost no fats or protein by weight. Most of the kratom’s calories would come from trace carbohydrates or fiber. But amounts are negligible for nutritional purposes.
Micronutrients: As for vitamins and minerals, kratom leaf is not considered a significant source for meeting any daily nutritional requirements. However, it may provide minute amounts of some vitamins and plant compounds with antioxidant properties.
Other Phytonutrients: Kratom is primarily consumed for its rich concentrations of unique alkaloid compounds like mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which provide the stimulating or relaxing effects that users seek out. But these don’t offer nutritional benefits.
As you can see so far, kratom itself appears to be a poor source of classic nutrients like protein, carbs, vitamins, or minerals from a nutritional standpoint.
Next, let’s expand more on the minimal nutritional components that have been identified in kratom leaves thus far by researchers.
Does Kratom Have Any Calories?
In 2017, researchers undertook an extensive quantitative analysis of the nutritional label and caloric values of kratom leaf powder from several major strains.
They concluded that since kratom is primarily composed of cellulose and fiber, with very little fats, carbohydrates,s or protein, its weight-based calorie level is quite low. Across all varieties tested, kratom contained on average 24-26 calories per 3-gram dose. This means a heaping teaspoon of kratom powder weighing roughly 3 grams has around 25 calories.
Even at high intake ranges, such as 10 grams per dose, kratom would provide less than 100 calories in total. For most supplement purposes, its calories are negligible.
Does Kratom Have Fiber?
The same 2017 study found that across 22 tests of various strains, kratom did provide a moderate fiber content – averaging 16 grams per 3 ounces (85-gram) serving. This equates to around 5 grams of dietary fiber per 3 grams (one teaspoon) of powdered leaf material.
While this fiber content is considered high compared to most herbs and spices, it’s still well below most supplemental fiber sources. So kratom’s fiber alone wouldn’t provide tremendous nutritional or digestive benefits.
However, its rich fiber content may help explain why kratom tends to be very filling despite its low-calorie load. The fiber may help reduce appetite and contribute to weight management effects reported by some users.
Does Kratom Have Vitamins?
When it comes to classic vitamins and minerals that are found abundantly in fruits, vegetables, whole foods, and most supplements, kratom leaves have fairly low micronutrient levels overall.
However, kratom does appear to house several antioxidant compounds, including vitamins E and C, that may play supplementary roles:
- Vitamin E: 1.9 milligrams per 3-gram dose
- Vitamin C: 200 milligrams per 3-gram dose
Kratom also contains several antioxidant polyphenols and flavonoids, like epicatechin and epigallocatechin, along with small concentrations of iron, magnesium, and zinc. But for meeting any Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) values your body needs, kratom’s vitamin profile is generally insignificant. Supplementing additionally with a whole food multivitamin would be far superior if it requires vitamins.
Does Kratom Have Carbs?
Since kratom contains very minimal fats or protein while still providing around 25 calories per 3-gram dose, most of these calories would need to come from carbohydrates and plant fiber.
However, quantitative lab testing shows the actual carbohydrate level by weight is still quite low – under 2 grams per 3-gram (one teaspoon) serving . This carbohydrate content is almost entirely made up of dietary fiber, with negligible sugars.
Therefore, kratom should not have any significant impact on blood sugar control, insulin levels, ketosis, or low-carb dietary plans. At most doses, its trace carbs and calories are largely insignificant.
The Nutritional Facts of Kratom
Given the available research, we can summarize the basic nutritional facts per 3-gram (approx. 1 tsp) dose of kratom leaf powder:
- 25 calories
- 16 grams of dietary fiber (5 grams per 3-gram serving)
- Under 2 grams of carbohydrate
- 1.9 mg Vitamin E (12% DV)
- 200 mg Vitamin C (222% DV)
- Trace amounts of magnesium, iron, zinc
- No quantifiable protein or fat
As you can see, while kratom leaves are low in bioavailable protein, fats, and carbs and are not a significant source of most vitamins or minerals, they do contain a rich fiber content. Kratom also provides antioxidants, mainly vitamins E and C.
But for the average kratom users, these modest nutritional elements are not the main reason they are consuming kratom supplements or powdered leaf material.
Can Kratom Help Burn Calories?
Even though kratom itself contains very minimal calories, protein, and no fats, some interesting research shows its unique alkaloid compounds can potentially boost metabolism, fat-burning, and weight loss. A 2020 study revealed that mitragynine, one of kratom’s primary active alkaloids, can increase thermogenesis and fat browning effects in animal models. Mice given high doses of pure mitragynine gained less weight and burned more calories than control groups.
These fat oxidation and energy expenditure effects were traced back to mitochondria biogenesis triggered by mitragynine intake. The chemical compounds seem to enhance the basal metabolic rate via activation of fat browning pathways and heat production.
Through these mechanisms, researchers concluded that kratom shows promise as a supplement for boosting calorie burn, increasing metabolic rate, reducing fat synthesis, and aiding healthy weight management – which may explain why anecdotally it suppresses appetite.
More research is still needed to fully understand kratom’s effects on body weight regulation in humans. However, the early studies are intriguing for their calorie and metabolism-influencing potential.
What are the Nutritional Benefits of Kratom?
At this point, kratom’s nutritional benefits appear limited from a classic nutrition standpoint. Aside from a rich fiber load, kratom leaf powder does not significantly contribute usable macro or micronutrients to meet daily food-based needs.
However, through some of its unique alkaloids and antioxidants, kratom may offer several supplemental health and wellness benefits:
- Stimulating effect for increased energy and focus
- Relaxation and stress relief
- Appetite suppression and weight management
- Reduce insulin resistance
- Increased calorie and fat burn
- Regulation of gastrointestinal function
- Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity
The main reasons people consume kratom are to boost energy, attenuate anxiety or pain, and overall well-being – not solely for nutritional reasons. However, its fiber, metabolistic, and antioxidant properties may provide additional benefits.
Kratom’s Alkaloid and Pharmacological Profile
Now that we’ve covered the basic nutritional aspects, to fully appreciate why kratom is used as a supplement, we should also understand its complex alkaloid and phytochemical makeup.
Kratom’s pharmacological effects stem from several potent indole and oxindole alkaloid compounds found in abundance in its leaves, which grow naturally thanks to evolutionary pressures.
Over 25 unique alkaloids have been isolated within Mitragyna speciosa leaves thus far. However the most dominant stimulant alkaloid is mitragynine, making up roughly 66% of total alkaloid content.
As an indole alkaloid compound, mitragynine is structurally similar to yohimbine and voacangine found in other plant species. But mitragynine appears more potent than these compounds, able to provide significant psychotropic effects.
In lower doses between 2-5 grams, mitragynine mainly acts as an adenosine receptor antagonist – leading to central nervous system stimulation analogous to caffeine. However, at higher doses, it starts binding to opioid receptors as an agonist, producing analgesia and mood-boosting effects seen with opioids.
The other key alkaloid is 7-hydroxymitragynine, making up just 2% of the total alkaloid content. But this oxindole compound is considered far more potent than mitragynine, binding more avidly to mu-opioid receptors – contributing to kratom’s pain-killing attributes.
Most other minor alkaloids within kratom are still being studied for their synergistic or standalone effects. However extensive research continues on how kratom’s rich pharmacological profile provides its supplemental therapeutic potential.
However, alkaloids don’t contribute to nutritional value. So while essential for kratom’s effects, they shouldn’t be evaluated from a food-based nutritional perspective.
To wrap up, while kratom leaves are not very nutrient-dense for key compounds like protein, vitamins or minerals from a nutritional standpoint, their unique alkaloid makeup provides the intriguing supplement effects that users seek out.
The main nutritional elements within kratom powder include a rich supply of fiber, trace carbs, antioxidants like Vitamins C and E, and negligible calories. Some exciting research also shows it can help increase calorie and fat burn.
But no one is using kratom to hit their nutritional recommendations or as a staple food. Kratom is intended as a botanical supplement. And thanks to its one-of-a-kind alkaloid profile, mainly consisting of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, it offers stimulant and relaxation properties that many find beneficial.
Understanding the nutritional aspects simply provides deeper context around kratom’s compound makeup and biological activity in the human body. But its true purpose is as a stimulating or relaxing botanical supplement, not a nutrient-dense food.
So while not a complete nutritional powerhouse, kratom does appear to offer some complementary nutritional activity, on top of its psychoactive alkaloid effects that make it so popular.
Q: Is kratom itself nutritious?
Aside from a rich fiber content and traces of antioxidants, kratom leaves are not considered very nutritious from a classic nutritional standpoint regarding protein, fats, carbs, vitamins or mineral content.
Q: Can kratom help you lose weight?
Some emerging research shows kratom’s main alkaloids may be able to increase fat oxidation, thermogenesis, and weight loss effects.
Q: Does kratom count as a carbohydrate?
No. Despite having around 25 calories per 3 grams of leaf material, only trace amounts come from carbohydrates – under 2 grams, mostly fiber. Kratom consumption has negligible effects on blood sugar control and ketosis.
Q: Can kratom help you gain muscle?
No research exists showing kratom itself can lead to increased muscle protein synthesis required for building muscle mass. As a stimulant at lower doses, it may provide a pre-workout energy boost but doesn’t substitute for protein intake and weight training.
Q: Are kratom alkaloids bioavailable nutrients?
No. While kratom contains over 25 unique alkaloids that provide effects on mood, pain, and relaxation, these compounds do not offer vitamins, minerals, or other classically defined ‘nutrients’. Alkaloids shouldn’t be evaluated from a nutritional perspective.
So in summary – enjoy kratom appropriately for its intended stimulating and relaxing properties, but even at higher doses, it does not contribute significantly as far as complete or balanced macro/micronutrient intake is concerned.