LDN still remains as another set of mysteries in the MS hype. You might have overheard people ranting about it, also you might have caught doctors hesitating from prescribing it. Who is right then?
Low Dose Naltrexone is more than ten times the reduced dosage of FDA-approved medicine – Naltrexone – 50 mg per day, which is given for opioid and alcohol dependence. Naltrexone works by obstructing toxic chemicals like heroin from exciting their response in the brain.
How does LDN treat diseases like MS?
In several regions of the human body, particularly the brain, the opioid receptors do not only relieve pain. Principally, these receptors connect with endogenous pain-relieving substances, like endorphins. Semi-synthetic elements, such as heroin, incite these receptors. This function surfaces as a feedback loop, where obstructing these receptors slightly might create a rise in the production of endorphins.
Some people consider that these endorphins lessen the indications of autoimmune diseases like MS and also transform other chronic diseases. Endorphins appear to support healing too, and the restoration of cells as well as produce a positive impact on immune cells. Opioid receptors are located on these immune cells as well as some cancer cells. Exciting the opioid receptors might induce programmed cell death, known as apoptosis, of cancer cells.
One problem in knowing the consequences of LDN is that it both obstructs and excites the opioid receptors. This contradiction is comparable to what occurs in the immune system because of MS, so it can be challenging to understand because some elements that excite the immune system can cause it to become more vulnerable. This happens because the immune system is partially stimulated in MS, already. Due to these factors, comprehensive Low Dose Naltrexone research is required.
Some hope from Research
In the 1980s, physicians started prescribing Naltrexone at very lower doses, normally 3 to 4.5 mg, for autoimmune diseases, HIV, and cancer. Though, the scientific investigation did not start till 2006 when a clinical trial of Low Dose Naltrexone was carried in 17 people having Crohn’s disease. While LDN proved safe and efficient in this small research, it remained open-label, which means there was no comparison made with placebo or other randomization.
In 2008, experts in Italy announced outcomes of an LDN’s Phase II trial conducted on 40 people encountering primary-progressive MS. LDN was discovered to be ordinarily safe and decreased spasticity.
In 2010, scientists at the University of California along with Dr. Bruce Cree issued a placebo-controlled, crossover research on LDN including 80 patients of MS. In this controlled study, every person acted as their own “control” due to the crossover, implying that every participant got eight weeks of LDN treatment and eight weeks of placebo treatment. But, they were not told which treatment they were being given at any time.
LDN proved to be well-tolerated. No serious side effects were reported and quality of life was enhanced.
Although these outcomes are all interesting unless one study undertaken in 2007 in Ohio gave negative results. This research of LDN concerning MS symptoms closed in 2008 stating no difference was observed between being treated with placebo or LDN. It is still unclear why that proved to be a negative study, it would have been associated with problems concerning the design of the study, the patient group, or the number of subjects involved.
Side Effects of LDN
The most frequently reported side effects of LDN are sleep disruptions. This normally improves with time. However it has not been confirmed, it is apparently better to administer Low Dose Naltrexone before sleep time because there is a slight blockage of opioid receptors within 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. This is supposed to deliver a continued “up-regulation” of essential elements of the immune system through endorphin release.
It is commonly suggested that people using opiates for pain relief be detached from them following the advice of their doctor before starting LDN. This occurs because Naltrexone obstructs opioid receptors, and Low Dose Naltrexone might shift some of the influences. Additionally, LDN delivers extra endorphins release, which alone produces some pain relief.
High doses of Naltrexone can result in liver problems and must not be given to people having liver diseases. It is not clear if such low doses of Naltrexone can induce liver issues, too, although the investigation has shown that LDN is usually safe.
People undergoing thyroid replacement medicine for an autoimmune disease named Hashimoto’s thyroiditis must begin taking LDN at lower doses. If the Low Dose Naltrexone serves to prevent the autoimmune system from attacking the thyroid, a chance remains that the thyroid hormone levels might rise too high. Thyroid hormone levels need to be checked regularly and LDN must particularly be taken under the attentive supervision of a trained physician.
If LDN remarkably produces a profound impact on the immune system, it is then possible that it can generate a damaging consequence on specific types of immune system disorders. This is why people using chemotherapies and immunosuppressive medicines should stay cautious regarding the usage of LDN.
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