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Ask Dr. Nandi: Herbal supplement Kratom linked to salmonella outbreak

Posted at 6:04 PM, Feb 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-21 18:04:59-05

Kratom is back in the headlines again. First we heard how this controversial herbal supplement may act like an opioid drug. Now it’s linked to a salmonella outbreak in 20 States.

This is more bad news for Kratom supporters.  Twenty-eight people have been sick with Salmonella and the CDC believes it’s the same strain as genetic testing have linked the reported cases.  

Luckily no one has died and only 11 people have needed to be hospitalized so far. 

The CDC is telling us to avoid them all because they haven’t identified a particular brand as the salmonella source. And they don’t know yet how this supplement became infected.  

Now you’ve heard me talk about salmonella plenty of times and likely remember you usually get it when you eat foods contaminated with animal feces that contain the bacteria.  It’s not usually life-threatening but older adults, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems can develop dangerous complications. 

I’m very concerned - Kratom definitely has a lot of red flags including forty-four deaths connected to it  since 2011.  

I recommend you avoid it until the DEA completes its analysis on whether or not this herbal supplement is dangerous and addictive.

  1. Please avoid kratom in any form. It’s sold as powders, pills, capsules and tea.  You can even find it in some energy drinks. 
  2. Be sure to check labels.  Kratom goes by other names like Thang, Thom, Kakuam, Ketom and Biak.
  3. Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps.  If you get sick be sure to drink fluids to avoid getting dehydrated.
  4. Your body has natural defenses to protect you against salmonella.  But please know you can weaken these if you take antacids, antibiotics or have inflammatory bowel disease.