That’s a great question! Low dose naltrexone has many benefits and can be helpful for a multitude of symptoms and conditions. So, what is low dose naltrexone? Naltrexone is a drug that in the traditional medical system, is used for opioid addiction and overdoses. At very low doses that are compounded in a special pharmacy, that same medication acts differently in the body. Low dose naltrexone (LDN) can be used for many different things, ranging from Parkinson’s disease to hormone balance.
LDN works by covering up the opioid, or endorphin, receptors in the body. It covers them up so that opioids cannot hook onto those receptors. After about four hours, the LDN leaves those receptors. In the meantime, the body has compensated by increasing endorphin production. Increased endorphins make us feel good! Let’s talk some more about the benefits of LDN.
Low Dose Naltrexone Benefits
At very low doses, naltrexone is what we call an immunomodulator, meaning that it helps our own immune systems to work better. It is great for those who have autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s or Graves’ disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and many others. When we give LDN to people with these conditions it helps the body to stop attacking itself and can improve a multitude of symptoms.
Since LDN helps the immune system, people with long term or chronic infections like Lyme disease, mycotoxins, or other infections can really benefit from it. It assists the immune system and helps to bump up the body’s immune fighting cells so the body has a better chance of fighting whatever the invader is.
It is also really beneficial for chronic pain. Whether the pain is nerve related, from an injury, or is muscle pain, LDN can help. It can even be used by people who have been on opioids for many years. Some of those people are even able to get off the opioids with the help of a prescriber who is knowledgeable about prescribing LDN.
Conditions Low Dose Naltrexone Could be Beneficial for
Low dose naltrexone can treat a variety of medical conditions and help a multitude of symptoms. Below is a list of conditions that low dose naltrexone can help. Go to ldnresearchtrust.org to learn more about how LDN works and also see a much more inclusive list of conditions it can treat.
- PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Sleep Issues
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS)
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Celiac disease
- Epstein Barr Virus
- Lyme Disease
- Graves’ disease
- Brain Fog
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Crohn’s disease
- Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS)
- …so much more!
As mentioned above, this list is not all inclusive. To learn whether LDN may be beneficial for you, read more on the ldnresearchtrust.org website, then find a prescribing practitioner, such as Julian Healthcare, who can discuss the benefits and possible side effects with you.
Is Low Dose Naltrexone Safe?
LDN is very safe to use in most populations, including breastfeeding women and children. It also has a low side effect profile. One of the most common side effects is having vivid dreams. Not necessarily nightmares, just really vivid dreams. A couple of the other side effects I have heard of happening are nausea and increased anxiety. I have not personally experienced this with my patients but this is something to look out for and bring to the attention of the prescribing provider if you experience nausea or anxiety as a side effect.
LDN is not a magic miracle worker pill, although it does seem that way based on the way that it positively affects people’s lives. As a functional medicine provider, it is just one more tool in my fairly large toolbox of things to use to help people to get back on track to meet their health goals. I use it for a lot of different conditions including balancing hormones.
If you want to discuss if low dose naltrexone might be a good option for you, schedule an appointment with Julian Healthcare. We would love to talk it over with you!