Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
What is Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)?
Originally, full-strength Naltrexone was used to treat addictions (and still is, in some settings). At high doses it binds to opioid receptors in the body and prevents the “high” usually associated with the addictive substance or behavior. Along the way, someone brilliant figured out that if a tiny dose of Naltrexone was given once/day, some of the same opioid receptors are blocked but for a short amount of time (~ 4-6 hours). Your body senses this opioid blockade and actually INCREASES overall opioid and endorphin production, the number of endorphin receptors, and their sensitivity – this makes you feel good and have less pain. LDN also modulates the immune system, decreasing inflammation, autoimmunity, and tumor growth and increases the parts of the immune system that target infection and cancer.
Sound too good to be true?
It gets better: LDN is widely available by compounding pharmacies, has very few interactions (the most important one being long-acting opioid medications like Oxycontin and Fentanyl), and minimal (if any) side effects. It is safe long-term and is non-habit-forming. It is recommended that you continue LDN for 6-12 months before determining full benefit.
What/Who can LDN be helpful for?
The following list is just a glimpse of the many symptoms or diagnoses in which LDN has provided (sometimes dramatic) benefits in peer-reviewed research as well as anecdotal experience gathered from all over the world.
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Lyme Disease
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
- Pain syndromes
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Women’s Health issues including PMS, PCOS, infertility, endometriosis
- Various forms of cancer
- ANY autoimmune or autoimmune-like illness (e.g., Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Type 1 Diabetes, Sjogren’s, Psoriasis, Celiac, Graves, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, etc.)
Why haven’t you heard about it before and where can you find out more information?
One word that won’t surprise you: money. Because Naltrexone is available generically there is no incentive for pharmaceutical companies to expand its use. There is also very little money available to further research and disseminate findings about LDN. The LDN Research Trust is a wonderful collection of resources about LDN that is completely staffed and funded by volunteers/donations. I went to their international conference in 2017 and 2019 and was blown away by the passion and dedication of the speakers and organization itself. Everyone there chose to participate on their own dime and the enthusiasm was palpable.
Here is a wonderful 2018 review of LDN in the published medical literature.
Schedule an appointment if you would like to discuss whether LDN might be beneficial to your Journey to Wellness!
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