It’s been two months since I decided to start taking low dose naltrexone (LDN) and I wanted to open up about WHY I decided to take it and how it works to address autoimmune conditions like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, Celiac, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and much more.
Earlier this year, I partnered with a compounding pharmacy in Connecticut, Pioneer Health Center, and since then, I’ve learned a lot about the way in which low dose naltrexone works, which was the main reason why I decided to take the medication. They were one of the very first compounding pharmacies in the country and have been researching LDN since its very early days and are an incredible wealth of information about it.
For those of you who know me, you know I’m 1000% in on natural, herbal medications, not pharmaceuticals. But I don’t put LDN in the pharmaceutical category because rather than masking a symptom, it actually addresses a major root cause behind autoimmunity: immune overactivation.
In short, LDN is designed to support immune function by upregulating the opioid system in the body. When this happens, endorphin, or the “feel good” hormone, production safely increases, which can in turn block inflammatory messengers in the body, thus having a positive influence on immune function and decreasing inflammation.
So, rather than suppressing immune function (which is what most medications for ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, and the like do) it actually helps balance the immune system by teaching it how to behave normally. Put simply, it works WITH the body, not against it.
Specifically, it acts on glial cells, which, as we explain in this post, are the immune cells in your central nervous system that are involved in the dysregulation of pain, brain inflammation, and neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, Autism, ALS, etc. By calming down over-activation of glial cells, LDN can stop the inflammatory cascade from the immune system from persisting.
Because of the unique way in which low dose naltrexone aids the immune system to restore normal function, it has been used in, but not limited to, addressing the following conditions:
Since taking low dose naltrexone, I’ve had dozens of conversations with others who have started to hear about LDN, curious about how it works, and who want to know if it truly helps. In short, I feel GREAT on it! (Note: My experience may not be the same as yours so this is not validation that it will work for everyone). And, of course, I do dozens of things each day to maintain my health, keep my immune functioning well, and inflammation at bay, but I have noticed a big difference since taking LDN.
I haven’t gotten bloated once since taking it, and that’s something that used to happen even when I was eating the cleanest of foods. I’ve been much more “regular” and not seeing the effects of inflammation on my stool anymore (not well formed, fall apart easily, etc.) and overall I feel slimmer and less inflamed.
Many of you know that my ulcerative colitis is in complete remission, in fact, in November 2017, I was pretty much cleared of the disease. But that’s not to say the disease isn’t still in me, because autoimmune conditions don’t really go away. There’s still a lot more we don’t understand about autoimmunity because it is THAT complex, but what we do know is these diseases are sporadic and there is no true treatment (yet…).
So, I had a frank discussion with my functional medicine doctor (yes, I see one!) and we decided it’d be a great way to really keep my UC at bay (hopefully for good – I’m going on 5 years without a flare!). Another reason why I felt compelled to start taking LDN was because earlier this year I experienced some pretty crazy histamine and mast cell activation flare-ups. I have another post coming out soon about that whole episode, but that was most certainly my immune system acting up and I couldn’t get ahold of it any other way. Among other things I did to address that issue (vitamin C, zinc, quercetin, anti-histamine diet, etc.) I decided to take the plunge and get LDN on board. That histamine flare went away as quickly as it came on and my digestion normalized quickly. I even went on a 10-day trip across the whole east coast of the U.S. and had not one issue!
Now, if you’re like me, the moment you read someone have success with something, you want to jump on it and hope it’ll be your next magic pill. So, I have to say that results with anything – including LDN – are very individualistic. What works for me may not work for you, and because LDN requires a prescription, you’ll need to have a conversation with your doctor first about if it’s right for you. Of note, most conventional doctors do not yet know about LDN, so you may need to seek out a functional medicine doctor or integrative doctor.
And even iflow dose naltrexone isn’t right for you now, or you can’t find someone that could prescribe it to you, know that it’s not the only option for you to have a chance at getting better. In fact, LDN came to me VERY late in my health journey – I had already gotten my UC under control through diet and strategic supplementation (as well as a lot of stress relief work!).
There are so many incredible and powerful ways to help support your immune system and digestion and I’m happy to talk to you about how I can help create a unique plan for you, too. If you’d like to have a conversation with me about working together, the first call is on me, and you can book that right here.
Both the folks at Pioneer Health Center and I feel quite hopeful about the future of autoimmunity, what with the amount of research being poured into it and treatments like LDN and natural herbs and foods that can do the body a lot of good. If you’re reading this post, you’re on the cutting edge of learning the latest ways of addressing autoimmunity, and I’m committed to continuing sharing the latest research and options with you.
If you’re not already a part of my FREE private Facebook group, the Thrive by Food Tribe, I’d love to have you – we discuss everything from LDN to daily digestion tools to thyroid health, hormones, and much more! Request to join the group and I’ll get you in ASAP!
P.S. Don’t forget to read the full writeup about LDN and autoimmunity in this post.
Kristin Thomas is a health coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner specialized in helping women with hormone, digestion, and autoimmune health concerns. Having gone through these health challenges herself, she now helps clients find their own path to complete wellness through practical and natural diet and lifestyle changes.
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