Overview Of LDN & Its Role in autoimmune diseases
When we combine the number of all autoimmune disease patients, we will find that the number has reached epidemic levels. According to the American Autoimmune Related Disorders Association (AARDA) fifty million Americans have an autoimmune disease and this number is increasing. Sadly, autoimmune disease complications are the leading cause of mortality in females below the age of 64.
Scientists are studying the potential benefits of LDN when used in autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, and many others. Most chronic disease patients suffer from inflammation and immune system dysfunction. LDN has a positive impact on these manifestations resulting in improvement in the quality of life and general health.
LDN Mechanism of action in various Autoimmune diseases
The treatment of autoimmune diseases with LDN has proven to be significant because LDN can:
- Decrease DNA methylation and reverse further epigenetic changes induced in autoimmune diseases.
- Act on the opioid pathway involved in the damage of the epithelial lining of the gastrointestinal tract. LDN is a cofactor that helps the GIT to heal from autoimmune disease manifestations.
- Boost the immune system’s response to infection as well as improve response to the main therapy. LDN’s positive benefits are possibly due to its immunomodulatory effects on T cells, monocytes, and macrophages.
- Decrease Inflammation that is associated with most autoimmune diseases.
LDN role in Multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common autoimmune neurodegenerative diseases with almost 2.5 million people worldwide being affected. Multiple sclerosis happens due to the destruction of the myelin sheath surrounding the nerves. This destruction causes a disturbance in the neuronal messaging within the brain and between the brain and the rest of the body.
Clinical trials have proven that LDN can help in managing MS (and also lupus) because it decreases relapses and prevents progression. There is a study that included 40 patients with primary progressive MS (PPMS), they were administrated LDN for more than six months, 39 of them had improvements in their MS symptoms.
LDN role in lupus
Lupus is a complex immunological disease in which the immune system attacks and even destroys the body’s connective tissues and segments of its DNA. It mainly affects the kidneys, joints, vasculature, and brain and it’s more prevalent in women.
LDN role in lupus disorder:
- Improves the deficient TH1 cell response and balances the TH1/TH2 irregularity of lupus.
- Has a Modulatory effect on the dendritic cells.
- Balance cytokine release, and also it decreases inflammatory cytokine production.
- Direct the immune system to a healthier pathway of healing and repairing vs destructive pathways.
- Helps in balancing hormones, which is a very big factor in lupus.
- Enables the patient to sleep better due to the balancing effect it has on the cytokines involved in sleep.
LDN role in Crohn’s disease
Research has been published in 2007 showed that LDN is valuable in adults with Crohn’s disease. This study revealed clinical response and even closure of fistulas in several patients.
Other research showed evidence for symptomatic, endoscopic, and histologic improvement compared to controls. Initial studies in children with chron disease also suggest that LDN is safe and effective in this population.
LDN promotes mucosal healing, decreased inflammation, and improves the quality of life in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
LDN role in Ulcerative Colitis
LDN has been proven clinically that it can improve Crohn’s disease, there was a justification to believe that it would also be effective in ulcerative colitis as both of them are inflammatory bowel autoimmune diseases.
A case of a female patient with Ulcerative Colitis who was becoming progressively worse with frequent diarrhea, bleeding, and cramps was treated with LDN. When LDN was added to her initial therapy she had a significant clinical improvement, which corresponded with the mucosal improvement that appeared in colonoscopy.
LDN dose in autoimmune disease
The regular dose of naltrexone used in opiate addiction or alcohol abuse is higher than (ten to forty times higher) the LDN dose used in relieving symptoms of autoimmune disease. LDN is taken daily in a dose range between 0.5 mg and 4.5 mg.
When should LDN be started?
The majority of autoimmune disease patients can begin LDN after their first visit to the clinic. No lab tests are required. Some of the patients notice improvement within the first month of starting. However, according to research and physician reports, what is common is a very slow improvement over months or even a year or more.
Can the patient use immunosuppressants with LDN?
In the beginning, scientists implied that immunosuppressants and LDN should not be combined. However, In the past few years, this approach changed as a result of time and experience. Now it’s suggested that the short-term use of immunosuppressants with LDN is acceptable.