Pillars of Autoimmune Treatment Part 1: Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)

This is part 1 in our series on autoimmunity. As with many of the conditions treated at Bio Energy there is not one straightforward path to wellness. Autoimmune conditions have to be managed from many angles. Over the next several months we will present these different approaches in our blog series. First in the series is a discussion about the use of Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) for autoimmunity.
 
Autoimmune conditions can manifest in many ways throughout the body. Some of the most common include - autoimmune thyroid disorders like Grave's and Hashimoto's, lupus, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Other digestive related autoimmune conditions include Celiac disease, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). This list is not inclusive of every autoimmune disorder, as there are more than 100 that have been identified[1]
 
Naltrexone was originally developed for the treatment of alcohol and opiate addiction, with doses ranging from 50mg-150mg. Dr. Bernard Bihari, MD is the physician who first started researching and prescribing Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN). He proposed adjusting the dosage of naltrexone to determine the lowest dose that would cause an endorphin stimulus, as well as upregulate the immune response.[2] This new research was a turning point in his career and directed his research towards AIDS instead of addiction.
 
LDN provides benefit by stimulating the bodies endogenous (internal) opioid system and improving immune response.  This in turn leads to a reduction in inflammation - including inflammatory blood markers, reduction in pain, improved sleep, reduction in autoimmune antibodies and improvement in neurological function - reduced anxiety, improved mobility, less brain fog, less headaches, etc. Patient response varies from experiencing all of those positive benefits, a few of the benefits, to experiencing no response at all. LDN is the type of medication that has to be trialed and if no benefit is seen, it is then discontinued.  
 
If you are interested in learning more about LDN check out the website www.lowdosenaltrexone.org. If you would like more information about incorporating this into your plan of care, feel free to make an appointment with your provider at Bio Energy. If you are not currently a patient, consider becoming an established patient to explore LDN as a treatment for your autoimmune disease.


[1] https://www.aarda.org/diseaselist/
[2] Schopick, J. (2013). Bernard Bihari, MD: Low-dose naltrexone for normalizing immune system function. Alternative Therapies Health Medicine, 19(2), 56-65.
Author
Maria L. Gahry, DNP, RN, FNP-BC Maria is a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), with board certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and graduate certificate in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. As an FNP, caring for families across the lifespan, the foundation of her practice is focused on the use of integrative and holistic methods to prevent illness and treat root causes of disease. Maria believes the relationship with her patients should be a collaborative partnership, with the goals for optimal health defined by the patient. Maria earned her Bachelors of Science in Nursing in 2009 from Wayne State University. She graduated from Wayne State University's DNP program in December 2015, joining Bio Energy Medical Center in the spring of 2016. Her doctoral research focused on the screening and treatment of thyroid disease, which she considers an often-overlooked health problem that influences the development of many other health problems.

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