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FDA: Kratom Products Have High Levels of Heavy Metals

New concern added to list of the agency's warnings about the herbal supplement

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WEDNESDAY, Nov. 28, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- In addition to many other health risks, kratom products can have high levels of heavy metals, according to Scott Gottlieb, M.D., commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA has issued a number of warnings about the health risks posed by the herbal supplement products, which have become increasingly popular in recent years and are used recreationally and by people trying to self-medicate for pain or to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms. Some kratom products have been found to contain Salmonella and to cause infections. FDA scientists recently tested 26 separate kratom products and found levels of lead and nickel unsafe for human consumption.

"While the levels of the specific products we've tested so far are not likely to result in immediate acute heavy metal poisoning from a single use, some of these products included levels that, with chronic use, could cause some people to suffer from heavy metal poisoning," Gottlieb said in a statement. "We are concerned that there may be other kratom products on the market that also contain heavy metals."

The FDA is notifying companies that market these kratom products to make them aware of the heavy metal testing results.

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