Kratom is an active botanical herb that comes from the kratom tree in southeast Asia.
Its leaves are dried, ground up, and taken as a supplement that boosts energy and relieves pain.
Kratom is not without its risks, which we’ve discussed at length in other articles on kratom.
(To recep, because of its gray-area legality, it’s not well-regulated, so make sure you buy your kratom from a reliable, third-party tested source. We recommend Viable Kratom.)
For the sake of today’s conversation, which is how it interacts with agmatine, an increasingly popular combination among recreational kratom users, it’s important to look at the two alkaloids which give kratom its effects.
Mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine (7-HMG) are alkaloids that attach to the “opioid receptors” of the brain, which are named so because opioids attach to the same receptors.
Chemically, kratom is essentially an opioid. This is controversial to say because the word ‘opioid’ is scary. Kratom, although it carries risk if abused, has a lot of potential and benefits because it’s a much less severe, less addictive version of an opioid.
It can give the energy-boosting and pain-relieving effects without the crippling, life-altering addiction. And its mechanism, acting on the opioid receptors, is how many recreational users combine it with agmatine.
We will come back to kratom in a moment, but first, what is agmatine?
Agmatine is a metabolite (a baby cousin) of the amino acid arginine. Just like kratom, it doesn’t have a ton of great research, but it’s shown promise for relieving pain, supporting drug addiction, improving cognitive health, and supporting blood flow-related health markers. For example, this study on agmatine showed it may have a neuroprotective effect and may lower the risk of strokes.
Agmatine is available from lots of supplement companies in the US, and is relatively popular as a standalone supplement for performance and as a popular nootropic, or “smart drug.” It seems to be safe at high doses, as noted in this long-term research paper.
Because of its chemical relation to arginine, which is a well-known and very popular supplement for bodybuilders and athletes, it makes sense that it has similar blood flow-boosting effects. In the gym this can translate to increased pumps.
Away from the gym, improved blood flow may enhance recovery, as well as improve heart health and blood pressure. For example, this study showed a slight but significant decrease in blood pressure.
This all brings us to the main purpose of this article: Why are so many people talking about taking kratom and agmatine together? What’s the whole idea? What are the benefits? What are the risks?
All told, there are several reasons, but they come back to how they both interact with the opioid pathways.
Agmatine seems to be effective for decreasing opioid dependence, as noted in this study. One of the major problems of opioids is that once you start taking them, even if it’s prescribed for recovery from something serious, is you need more and more (and rapidly) to get the same pain-killing and relaxing effect.
Very quickly, it can lead to opioid dependence. In the United States, in 2016 over 40,000 died from opioid overdoses, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Simply, agmatine offsets this, and helps people avoid opioid dependence or decrease their dependence if they’re already suffering from it.
Because kratom is also an opioid (we mentioned why this is important), agmatine can also offset the build-up of kratom tolerance.
Recreational kratom users, who’ve built up a tolerance and either need to turn to higher doses, or have to go on without receiving kratom’s full effect, have reported that taking a small dose of agmatine with the kratom can “make the kratom feel like new again.”
Again, physiologically, this makes a lot of sense, and it also makes the appeal of agmatine obvious for kratom users.
While it can help kratom users get stronger effects, it can also be used to help kratom users avoid withdrawal symptoms, and get the effects of kratom with a smaller dose.
Many have found agmatine to be an effective tool for decreasing kratom use safely and without experiencing withdrawals. Or, while lessening withdrawals.
Additionally, if we remember some of the other impacts of agmatine, it shares benefits with kratom. This can give a double impact on benefit factors.
For example, both kratom and agmatine play a role in pain relief.
This means if you’re taking kratom for pain relief, as many users do, you can take less and get the same pain-relieving effects with a lower dose.
Second, they both boost energy, you can heighten your focus and get the euphoric feelings with modest doses of each.
This ties into the reports that agmatine makes kratom “feel like new again.”
Note, that just like the benefits, this comes mostly from anecdotes, as well as the limited research that we have.
While agmatine seems to be very safe, even at high doses for an extended period of time, it may lower your pain threshold. This means it will take less stimulus to cause pain, which will make it more likely that you go grab another scoop of kratom, or agmatine (or both).
To minimize this risk, stick with small doses of agmatine.
Like a lot of substances, from alcohol to caffeine, the more you take it, especially consistently, the more tolerance you build to the effects. While taking agmatine at first may have been to take a lower dose of kratom, if you keep this up without stopping, you’ll have to keep raising the doses.
That’s why those who use both successfully often cycle using agmatine. Again, we don’t have good research on this, but users report taking 1 week off of agmatine each month, as well as 1-2 days off per week.
Some cycle more, and some cycle less. But this is a viable strategy.
In short, offset this by making a plan to cycle off of agmatine.
Many people take kratom daily without any problems, but can still benefit from time off so that they don’t build tolerance and can keep receiving its full benefits. So also consider cycling off (or lowering the dose) of kratom as well.
Kratom users talk frequently about how hard it can be on your stomach. It can cause an upset stomach (especially if you’re unaccustomed), and it’s just another reason to start with a modest dose.
Agmatine users (without kratom) also report gastrointestinal issues.
If you take them together, then, you could be asking for an upset stomach and digestion problems.
Start with small doses and plan your meals accordingly, especially if you know you have a weaker stomach.
While kratom (in particular red kratom) may improve sleep at higher doses, generally kratom is a stimulant and, like caffeine, negatively impacts sleep.
(We tackle this paradox in this article on kratom for sleep.)
Generally, then, avoid these in the evening, otherwise it might keep you awake or harm your sleep quality.
If you decide to try kratom and agmatine together, here are some of the guidelines that other recreational users follow.
Agmatine acts fast, but you should still take it before the kratom so that you can allow its effects to begin from the kratom. As a general guideline, take the agmatine 20 minutes before taking kratom.
As for the time of day, remember that they’re stimulants, so keep it to the morning or afternoon.
While the research looks at around 1500-3000mg, lots of people report positive effects with much lower doses, beginning as low as 100mg.
We recommend starting low. Depending on your weight and general tolerance of substances, between 100mg and 300mg.
You can always taper up.
As for kratom, we have the same recommendation. Lots of people report the benefits with just 2g.
If you’re taking agmatine to taper your kratom use, then obviously you’ll want to take less kratom than you normally do.
As mentioned, red kratom strains seem to have a less stimulating effect.
We cover the differences and why that might be the case in this article on the differences between strains of kratom (and why most of the reported differences come down to marketing.)
With that said, stick with green and white strains. White strains are usually a bit more stimulating so it depends how much of an energy boost you want.
It’s crucial to get kratom from a third-party tested, transparent source. Do NOT buy it in your local gas station. Because of its regulation rules, it’s often infected with bacteria and laced with other substances.
We believe that the company with the most transparent manufacturing out there is Viable Kratom. You can even watch their manufacturing process.
Agmatine sulfate is the simple and classic form. It’s also the least expensive.
You can get it from lots of reputable supplement vendors. For example Bulk Supplements sells agmatine in bulk for cheap. They’re a third party-tested and reputable brand.
While we’ve outlined a lot of information, and cited studies where it’s available, keep in mind that a lot of this is speculative, and most of it is anecdotal.
Fortunately, agmatine has ongoing research and because it’s classified and regulated like most supplements, it’s widely available and safe.
Kratom suffers from a lack of research because of the (we believe overblown) stigma around it which arose more out of politics than out of actual research.
That said, we’re still in an experimental era. So whatever you decide to try, buy from reputable sources, start with small doses, and try to isolate variables.
You’re your own scientist on this journey.