What is it? Naltrexone is an opioid receptor antagonist used primarily in the management of alcohol dependence and opioid dependence. This means it works AGAINST narcotics and opioids. It blocks the narcotic receptors on the cells. It should not be confused with naloxone (which is used in emergency cases of overdose rather than for longer-term dependence control) nor nalorphine. If administered to a person who is using a narcotic, they will experience a dramatically reduced effect from the narcotic.
The Commercially Available Product.
Let’s understand that the usual doses of commercial naltrexone are in the hundreds of milligrams per day. We are concerned about using the drug in very low amounts, 1.5mg to 4.5mg. The LDN doses are about 99% lower than the standard. We are talking aboud Low Dose Naltrexone, or LDN.
How Does It Work?
There are numerous theories about how it works, but nothing has been demonstrated true in all cases. There is evidence that using low doses once daily will do something to activate or stimulate the endorphin system in the body. Endorphins (which are like morphine we make in our own bodies) are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters. They are produced during exercise, excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm, and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being.
So, from one perspective, the LDN may cause a good feeling. Like all feelings, this one should dissipate over time, or we become immune to it. Addicted people usually need more and more of their drugs to obtain the same highs. Peoople who take LDN are maintained on a small, single daily dose, usually taken at bedtime. While there may be something about the release of endorphins at work, it is unlikely that the endorphin levels are enough to make a person feel better while they still have their condition.
Another popular theroy is that the endorphins released – see above – somehow modulate or regulate the activity of the immune system.
No, there isn’t evidence that it strengthens the immune system.
Yes, it’s probably a fine semantic point, but it is important to recognize that I am not suggesting that naltrexone in any dose improves immune strength. It’s enough to say that LDN seems to help the immune system work more efficiently.
How Did This Start?
The low doses were initially prescribed to people with cancer and AIDS. Observations by the innovator (Dr. Bernard Bhari) led him to think he would be successful prescribing LDN for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Yes, it worked. Many thousands of people all over the world take a tiny dose of naltrexone every day at bedtime. They’ve been doing so for well over a decade. While there is no guarantee it will always work for every case, there is enough anecdotal evidence that it can help many; more than half according to my observations.
What Can it Help?
MS, Cancer, and AIDS were the first conditions to benefit from LDN. Over the years we’ve seen it prescribed for IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), arthritis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, eczema, and a host of conditions commonly referred to as autoimmune diseases or immune diseases.
Do you suffer from a chronic condition? Have you tried numerous treatments and drugs to no avail? Has your doctor(s) basically given up and suggested you learn to live with it? You don’t have to give in, you could try one more thing, LDN.