Got Inflammation? How LDN can help.
You may have heard about a drug called naltrexone that is having major success helping addicts get off opiods, at a high dosage of 50 mg per day.
LOW DOSE Naltrexone is prescribed at a dosage of under 5.0 mg. That means the dosage is 45–49.5 mg less than naltrexone used for treating addiction.
LDN, or low dose naltrexone, is not for addicts. It is used to relieve people from chronic, non-responsive pain that results from inflammation. It helps people like me- and maybe you.
LDN was discovered at Penn State University in 1980 and was found to slow down the growth of cancer, as well as to help treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, and chronic pain.
I hemmed and hawed for two years before I recently starting taking it. It doesn’t work for everyone and it often takes months before symptoms are relieved. Some people immediately feel happier and healthier. So its a gamble.I desperately didn’t want to be one of the ones it did not work for after so many years of trying so many things.
So I justified my indecisiveness by spending time learning more about LDN and how it works (check out ldnresearchtrust.org and ldnscience.org). I learned that it is used by more and more people every day; approximately 500,000 people worldwide as of 2019 numbers, with 100+ published studies citing its efficacy for more than 60 medical conditions.
I have Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease of the thyroid. Some of the disease’s symptoms are extreme fatigue, sleep disorders, brain fog and memory problems, thinning hair and dry skin, depression and anxiety, chronic muscle and joint pain, digestive and elimination problems, insulin and weight loss resistance, hormonal imbalance, and sensitivity to cold, to name a few. People carry around the burden of feeling a generalized crappiness. Through years of diligent healing with my Functional Medicine doctor, I had gotten through the fatigue, insomnia, memory problems, depression, muscle and joint pain, hormonal imbalance, but still struggled with others. And since people with Hashimoto’s often have a second autoimmune disease or chronic infection like Epstein-Barr Virus, interstitial cystitis, systemic candida, I also had interstitial cystitis and candida. Inflammation is the gift that keeps on giving.
Within the first week of taking it at a very, very low dose of 1.5 mg, I had a delightful feeling of enhanced well being. Sweet! It was subtle but it was undeniable. I surmised that the reason it didn’t help my low back pain was that my back pain was not inflammation based, but it was sure doing something for the autoimmunity-related symptoms.
LDN works by staying in the body for a very short time, supporting the body’s ability to produce endorphins and to kick start the immune system into gear. (High dose naltrexone does not work in the body the same way.)
The LDNscience.com website states that “LDN goes into the body and essentially tricks the body by forcing it to double and triple its output of endorphins and metenkephalin, also known as opioid growth factor (OGF). Those endorphins and metenkephalin, in turn, cause the immune system to [balance itself]. A nice way to think about LDN is that it is not like any other medication whatsoever. It is a way to strengthen (in the sense of regulate/modulate/normalize) the immune system.”
Conventional medicine has been such a huge part of the reason why autoimmune diseases have proliferated wildly the last few decades. So, being skeptical of a new drug is reasonable for those of us who are weary of the health care system. However, I am totally excited by this drug which houses a new approach to improving the immune system.
There is hope for those of us who do all the right things but have not been able to fully resolve the symptoms that come along with having our body mistakenly identifying our own cells as foreign invaders and going on the attack. “When immune cells are being produced in excess (leading to autoimmune conditions), OGF acts to slow down their proliferation.” Brilliant! Wonderful! You go, LDN! Reduce that inflammation!
I am slowly titrating up, meaning my dosage started out very low at 1.5 mg and will go up to near its max daily dosage of 5.0 mg. I am in my second month and my dosage is at 2.5. The body needs to slowly adapt to it because it is stimulating very complex processes to occur internally.
And from Dr. Tom Gilhooy: “…Reducing cytokines is thought by many to be the dominant effect of LDN. Until we have more research on the subject the debate about how LDN works will continue, but it does appear that it may have two anti-inflammatory mechanisms…”
If you have inflammation- whether autoimmune, cancer or diabetes 2- you might want to try LDN. Your conventional doc probably won’t know about it, but you can try. LDN is available online through reputable pharmacies or telemedicine companies whose doctors can prescribe it.