As a tropical evergreen tree indigenous to Southeast Asia, kratom was traditionally used to combat fatigue and spike productivity. Local manual labourers chewed kratom leaves, fresh and dried, or prepared it as a tea. In Thailand, kratom was popularized for treating morphine dependency. Kratom breached western culture as a natural alternative health product for pain relief and as a treatment for opiate addiction and withdrawal. Others have found it useful as an alternative to caffeine and will sometimes use kratom potentiators to enhance its benefits.
The effects of kratom are dependent on the dosage. In general, lower doses are stimulating whereas higher doses are sedating. The usual effects of kratom are as follows:
- Lower doses (1-4 grams) provide increased focus, energy, alertness, and sociability.
- Higher doses (5 grams or more) provide pain relief, relaxation, sedation, and reduced anxiety.
Anecdotal evidence has revealed kratom to be anti-inflammatory (reduces swelling), antitussive (cough preventive), antihypertensive (lowers blood pressure) and antipyretic (reduces fever) with additional benefits being explored.
What is a Kratom Potentiator?
Kratom potentiators are substances combined with kratom to enhance the outcome. The effects become more pronounced, the absorption of alkaloids occurs at a slower rate and the duration of effects extended.
Why Use A Kratom Potentiator?
Potentiation results in the usage of smaller doses, thus regulating tolerance. This can provide relief when the system becomes accustomed to a substance after regular use. You can achieve the same effects without increasing your dose. If your reason for use is pain relief, these aspects can contribute greatly. With a potentiator, one may feel the desired effects sooner with the same dose. At times, the effects may last longer and feel more intense. As an added benefit, this will reduce the financial cost of consuming kratom.
How Does Potentiation Work?
Potentiation usually occurs through the slowing down of metabolism. By acting on the enzyme cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4), which contributes to the breakdown of alkaloids in kratom, some potentiating substances inhibit the metabolic process. Accessing CYP3A4 impedes the removal of these alkaloids from your system and offers prolonged effects.
Potentiation can also occur when a potentiator interacts with the body by inhibiting substance P, a neuropeptide that acts as a mediator of pain transmission. Substance P functions as a neurotransmitter and neuromodulator. It activates a group of neurons to convey messages of pain to the brain. Substance P also activates neuronal reflexes that initiate physical and autonomic reactions to pain. The brain responds by releasing endorphins.
Understanding the way kratom and potentiators affect your body is vital. Substances can interact with kratom in a beneficial or harmful way and it is important to recognize this before selecting a potentiator.
What Are The Best Natural Kratom Potentiators?
1. GRAPEFRUIT (Citrus × paradisi)
As the most popular potentiator of kratom, grapefruit juice offers a two-fold solution: your kratom becomes more palatable – the texture of kratom powder is disguised along with the bitter taste – and grapefruit juice decreases the activity of CYP3A4.
Once kratom is ingested, it enters the bloodstream through the cell wall of your gastrointestinal tract and metabolized by CYP3A4. Grapefruit contains furanocoumarins that inhibit this enzyme which can result in more kratom entering your bloodstream. This act is irreversible. It takes 24 hours for enzyme activity to return to 50%. It can take 72 hours to return to its regular baseline. Consequently, a bite of grapefruit can affect your system for an extended duration.
The Health Benefits of Grapefruit
Grapefruit also offers essential benefits:
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid; induces growth, development and repair of the body)
- Vitamin A (improves vision and immunity)
- Lycopene (improves heart health)
- Magnesium (regulates muscle and nerve function, creates energy)
- Potassium (regulates blood pressure)
Grapefruit has a high concentration of polyphenols – micronutrients available in certain plant-based foods. Packed with antioxidants, polyphenols have preventive properties, defending against aggressive pathogens. Epidemiological studies strongly suggest the role of polyphenols in the prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, and osteoporosis.
2. TURMERIC (Curcuma longa)
The chemical curcumin found in turmeric contributes to the metabolization of kratom. Curcumin also accesses CYP3A4’s metabolic process and increases the duration of kratom in the body, extending desired effects.
While research suggests the limited bioavailability of curcumin, turmeric can be potentiated as well. Bioavailability refers to the proportion of the substance which enters the bloodstream and, therefore, available to be used by the body. Studies have found that paired with Bioperine, an alkaloid found in black pepper, the absorption of curcumin in turmeric is increased by 80%.
The Health Benefits of Tumeric
Turmeric also offers essential benefits:
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid; induces growth, development and repair of the body)
- Vitamin B6 (serotonin – regulates mood, norepinephrine – regulates stress)
- Potassium (lowers blood pressure)
- Trace amounts of Vitamin E and Vitamin K (fight free radical molecules, regulate blood calcium levels)
Turmeric is rich in antioxidants, which help alleviate oxidative stress. Ayurvedic medicine made use of turmeric as an antiviral, antibacterial and antiparasitic remedy. Research shows a boost in the body’s resistance to damage, infection and inflammation.
3. CAYENNE PEPPER (Capsicum annuum)
Capsaicin is a compound found in cayenne and other chilli peppers and is known for providing spice and heat. It utilizes the second method of potentiation noted above by inhibiting substance P and releasing endorphins, enhancing the experience. Additionally, capsaicin can interfere with ACE inhibitors, enzymes that increase the amount of blood pumped by your heart while lowering blood pressure. By this action, there is a dilation of the arteries with an increase in absorption, becoming a therapeutic application for pain relief.
The Health Benefits of Cayenne
Cayenne also offers essential benefits:
- Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K, Potassium
- Dietary carotenoids (improves eye and brain health)
- Manganese (improves bone health)
- Riboflavin (maintains energy supply)
Cayenne is known to modulate metabolism and promote vascular health. Studies provide evidence of capsaicin relieving coughs, congestion, and cold symptoms. A specific study involving 46 participants focused on a capsaicin nasal spray with relief and improvement after 10 minutes post use. Capsaicin creams and ointments can also reduce pain for circulatory problems, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and sports or stress injuries.
Potentiate With Cell Lysis
Lysis means to unbind and it is the action of breaking down the membrane of a cell. When this occurs, you are left with a lysate, which refers to the fluid containing the contents of the original cell.
Freezing kratom puts this process in motion, breaking down the plant’s cell walls, resulting in a lysate of your favourite alkaloids. The opening of these cells contributes to maximizing alkaloid absorption. This process can be time-consuming (freezing then thawing) but outweighed by the obtainable benefits.
How To Safely Use Kratom Potentiators
Potentiation requires experimentation. When altering the way a substance interacts with the body, the results can be unpredictable. Here are a few key tips you may wish to keep in mind:
Be Aware of Risk Factors:
Individual responses to these methods may vary as many factors can contribute to the experience, including dosage, digestion, timing, and individual biological factors. Unwanted results may occur, especially if in combination with other supplements or prescription drugs. Potentiating with substances such as alcohol can be dangerous.
Consult With a Licensed Medical Professional:
Herbal medicine acts on the same pathways as pharmaceuticals but it is still important to seek guidance from your healthcare provider. For example, a whole grapefruit or 200 millilitres of grapefruit juice can block the enzyme CY3PA4, rather than inhibit it. This will result in a flood into your bloodstream – an overload of alkaloids – with increased side effects.
Grapefruit juice interferes with several over-the-counter prescriptions. For example, Allegra (an allergy medicine), if taken with kratom, will block certain transporters in the body. Even a small amount of the drug can cause the drug to work inefficiently, if at all.
There is no substitute for the advice of a medical professional when determining which potentiator is best for you.
Research Your Vendor:
- Openly explain their lab testing policies
- Offer access to their ongoing test results
- Provide details regarding their sources and growers
You may wish to look for a vendor with a dedicated and vocal customer base. Search forums and reviews to see how other customers feel. When you decide on a vendor you trust, join the community and help others find a reliable vendor as you did.
Are Kratom Potentiators For You?
Trial and error, rotating strains and testing dosages are all part of the kratom experience. Is your typical dose providing unsatisfactory effects? Try pairing it with a selected potentiator. If you are happy with your current dose, we recommend lowering the amount and pairing it with one of the options we have discussed. You may find these methods complement, or elevate, your experience. Level up with natural potentiators and enjoy all the health benefits of your chosen herb, spice or fruit.