Naltrexone is a medicine that antagonizes/blocks various opioid receptors on cells. Naltrexone belongs to a family of opioid like compounds called endorphins. In large doses, it has been used to treat alcohol and opioid dependency.
The immune system is regulated by endorphins such as naltrexone. Naltrexone used in low doses balances the immune system. Immune system disorders such as autoimmune diseases usually have low endorphin levels. Endorphins/opioid like compounds are produced by most cells and regulate cell growth.
Naltrexone behaves as an external endorphin that binds to opioid receptors and displaces naturally produced opioid growth factor. This transient block of opioid receptors causes a positive feedback mechanism to increase endogenous opioids.
Low dose naltrexone increases endogenous opioids which promotes healing, inhibits cell growth, and decreases inflammation. Low dose naltrexone modulates the immune system i.e. it suppresses an overactive immune response and increases an underactive immune response.
The Physiology of Low Dose Naltrexone therapy
1. Down regulates inflammatory cytokines
2. Reduces inflammation and oxidative stress
3. Facilitates tissue repair and wound healing
4. Restores T helper cells/CD4 levels in HIV patients
5. Restores the balance between TH1/TH2 lymphocytes
6. Increases cytotoxic T cells and NK cells
7. Regulates cell growth and inhibits tumour growth
8. Reduces excitatory and microglial activation
9. Stimulates mucosal healing, 89% positive response in Crohn’s disease and 67% remission
Who Can Benefit from Low Dose Naltrexone
1. Cancer Patients
c. Colon and rectal
e. Liver cancer
f. Lung cancer (non-small cell)
2. Autoimmune Disease
b. Alzheimer’s Disease
d. Multiple Sclerosis
g. Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, Am J Gastroenterol 2007;102(4):820-8)
3. Other Diseases
a. common cold
c. emphysema (COPD)
Low dose naltrexone is a prescriptive drug and as such should be prescribed by a physician knowledgeable in the use of low dose naltrexone. Call or email Dr. Jeffrey J. Hunt for an appointment to assess whether low dose naltrexone might be a treatment for your health condition.