Low dose naltrexone or LDN is the prescription medication that every doctor has heard of, but never prescribes. Regular naltrexone (not low dose) is used for heroin addicts, alcoholics and opiate withdrawal. I think that’s why doctors don’t really think about it, it’s for people with drug addiction. That said, the low dose version of the same drug has undeniable applications for autoimmune conditions, chronic infections and pain syndromes. Consider it an affordable adjunct especially because Remicade, Imuran, prednisone and other immune drugs come with hefty side effects and outrageous price tags.
LDN has two functions in your body:
1) It helps you tolerate your self.
2) Reduces inflammation in your nervous system.
Let’s start with number 1, tolerating yourself. Even if you can’t tolerate your annoying brother, you still need to tolerate yourself! I’m being facetious, but seriously, you must have the ability to tolerate your self, otherwise your immune cells attack your self. We call that an autoimmune disorder, and it means you’ve lost self tolerance. Think of rheumatoid, Hashimoto’s, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, and others. When you take LDN, you better tolerate “self.” It happens because LDN turns on “T regulatory” cells and those smack down your immune system. So yeah, forget everyone else, tolerate your self first, if you want to have good health. Your T reg cells help you do that.
T reg cells have their own job which is to make sure that inflammatory chemicals are secreted appropriately to help you when injured, and then to stop that inflammation after you’re healed. If you don’t stop production of inflammatory chemicals (termed cytokines), then your body starts attacking everything in sight, pollen, dander, mold, dust mites (then you lose self tolerance) now it’s attacking your thyroid, your joints, adrenals, heart or myelin sheath around nerve endings. Again, LDN acts like a referee and blows the whistle on this attack.
Now, number 2 on my list is how LDN reduces inflammation in your nervous system. This is a huge advantage if you suffer with thyroid disease, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, Lyme or neuropathic pain. Several papers written on this topic have shown that LDN blocks microglia in your central nervous system. These microglia are just immune cells in your brain and spinal cord that, when hyperactive, produce pain-causing chemicals, fatigue, unstable mood, insomnia and cognitive dysfunction. To your microglia, LDN feels like a cold compress does to a sunburn.
If you have any of the following conditions, I urge you to ask your physician if you can try some LDN for a few months at a very low dose, and gauge response:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Crohn’s disease
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Graves’ hyperthyroidism
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Lupus (SLE systemic lupus erethematosus)
- Ménière’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease.
LDN works by blocking receptors on your cells that allow natural endorphins in. Endorphins are compounds you make when you feel good, eat chocolate, experience a runner’s high or have sex. Endorphins increase your pain threshold. You want them inside the cell. With LDN blocking the cells, they become short on endorphins and send a chemical signal to your brain to say, “Hey, crank out more endorphins because I have none!” Your body generates more endorphins in response to the perceived deficiency.
You probably get more endorphins in that moment, than a Black Friday sale at DSW! Emerging studies regarding dosage suggest that lower is better, such as 1 to 3mg at bedtime. Side effects are minimal and may include vivid dreaming or sleep disturbance which improves if you reduce dose or take during the day. As a pharmacist, this medicine is one of my all-time favorite drugs because it has few if any serious side effects. Remember, it is a prescription so your doctor has to call it in to a compounding pharmacy, I get notes all the time from irritated people who say “My doctor called Walnuts pharmacy and they said they don’t have it” or “Have Suzy call me and explain how to get 1.5mg out of a 50mg tablet!”
Right, lol, that would be a big mistake! I’m not recommending you ever have a conventional pharmacy attempt to make this for you out of their 50mg tablets (standard for people using it for narcotic withdrawal) or from their injectable suspensions. No, I’m referring to the type of LOW DOSE naltrexone that is mixed up at professional, inspected awesome compounding pharmacies every day!
LDN is compounded all the time, every day at pharmacies who specialize in making teeny weeny doses of it (and those are the types of doses you want since you are a not a crack addict!)
Of course retail pharmacies don’t have it! I said this has to be called into a compounding pharmacy, so look in your phone book (do they even print those anymore?) or Google it online. Do like I do, and ask Siri she’ll find you a compounding pharmacy. I just tried it on my iPhone and she found 3 of them near Denver and Boulder. Many compounding pharmacies can ship LDN to you home, so if there isn’t one in your city don’t give up. LDN is shipped all over the country, every day!
That’s a great site with more answers to all your questions since I can’t answer all of you personally. It’s impossible for me to teach one doctor at a time as this will eat up hours of my day, each day. Please understand I get hundreds of emails a day, into the thousands if you count all the different places people can ‘talk’ to me via social media, my newspapers, and so forth.
The dosage starts around 1.5mg taken once at bedtime. Vivid dreams can occur as you titrate upwards to 3 or 4.5mg. While some disagree with me, I feel that taking it in the daytime is okay if you can’t tolerate it at night, like … if you get nightmares or insomnia. Then in that case I would definitely take it in the morning, and also I recommend you stay at the lower dose, like approximately 1.5 milligrams.