Column: Low Dose Naltexone – Another Protocol to Consider
By Julia Chiappetta
Naltrexone was approved by the FDA in 1984 to help combat opium addicts but in 1985, Bernard Bihari, MD, a physician with a clinical practice in New York City, discovered the effects of a much smaller dose of naltrexone.
He found that low doses of 1- 4.5 mg, taken at bedtime could benefit patients in his practice with autoimmune diseases.
When I first heard about LDN, it was from Dr. Burt Berkson, from Los Cruces, New Mexico. He was presenting at The Annie Appleseed Conference in West Palm Beach in 2015. I found his slides of clinical studies quite encouraging. In my pursuit of natural therapies to keep my body healthy from my autoimmune challenges, I implemented this protocol.
LDN boosts the immune system and activates the body’s own natural defenses. Research over the past two decades has pointed repeatedly to one’s own endorphin secretions (our internal opioids) as playing the central role in the beneficial orchestration of the immune system, and recognition of this is growing.
See what some medical experts are saying on LDN.
A review article of medical progress in the November 13, 2003 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine states “Opioid-Induced Immune Modulation: Preclinical evidence indicates overwhelmingly that opioids alter the development, differentiation, and function of immune cells, and that both innate and adaptive systems are affected. Bone marrow progenitor cells, macrophages, natural killer cells, immature thymocytes and T cells, and B cells are all involved. The relatively recent identification of opioid-related receptors on immune cells makes it even more likely that opioids have direct effects on the immune system.”
Other research cites “the brief blockade of opioid receptors between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. that is caused by taking LDN at bedtime each night is believed to produce a prolonged up-regulation of vital elements of the immune system by causing an increase in endorphin and enkephalin production. Normal volunteers who have taken LDN in this fashion have been found to have much higher levels of beta-endorphins circulating in their blood in the following days”.
Animal research by I. Zagon, PhD and his colleagues has shown a marked increase in metenkephalin levels as well. Human cancer research by Zagon, over many years has demonstrated inhibition of a number of different human tumors in laboratory studies by using endorphins and low dose naltrexone. It is suggested that the increased endorphin and enkephalin levels, induced by LDN, work directly on the tumors’ opioid receptors and, perhaps, induce cancer cell death (apoptosis). In addition, it is believed that they act to increase natural killer cells and other healthy immune defenses against cancer.
Dr. Jill Smith’s original article, “Low-Dose Naltrexone Therapy Improves Active Crohn’s Disease,” in the January issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology (2007;102:1–9), officially presents LDN to the world of scientific medicine. Smith, Professor of Gastroenterology at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine, found that two-thirds of the patients in her pilot study went into remission and fully 89% of the group responded to treatment to some degree. She concluded that “LDN therapy appears effective and safe in subjects with active Crohn’s disease.”
David Gluck, MD cited “Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) may well be the most important therapeutic breakthrough in over fifty years. It provides a new, safe and inexpensive method of medical treatment by mobilizing the natural defenses of one’s own immune system. LDN substantially reduces health care costs and improves treatment of a wide array of diseases. Unfortunately, because naltrexone has been without patent protection for many years, no pharmaceutical company will bear the expense of the large clinical trials necessary for FDA approval of LDN’s new special uses. It is now up to public institutions to seize the opportunity that LDN offers.”
LDN is worth being considered in your research, starting with a consult an expert. Prescriptions are easily filled by a number of good compounding pharmacies. One such is Skip’s Pharmacy in Deerfield Beach, Florida. They will grind up the naltrexone to prepare it for capsules and ship it to you for very little cost. It may not be for everyone, but if offers another healing option to check out.
As always, please have yourself a nice, yummy, organic green drink to help your immune system blossom like the spring flowers popping up everywhere. Recently I found myself at a red light marveling at the crocuses growing wild at Post Road & North Maple. Wow, these colorful, cheerful flowers were beckoning me to stop and reflect, as they do year after year in the early spring. They are truly a gift from God, as they poke their little heads through the dirt creating a tapestry of art. I am so grateful for those little flowers and for the gift of each day where opportunities for learning, sharing and giving are present. Let’s make a difference and be on a quest for goodness, kindness and faithfulness, as we celebrate Springtime!