I have been asked many times to provide information regarding Low Dose Naltrexone for treating autoimmune disorders like Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s and specifically for lowering the thyroid antibodies which cause these disorders. So far, I didn’t know any reliable method for decreasing these antibodies. I knew only about Aloe Vera that it modifies the immune system response through an active substance called acemannan and acts as an immune system modulator.
I personally never had experience with Low dose Naltrexone and to the best I know it is used for treatment of substance abuse disorders like alcoholism and opiate dependence. However, I decided to research this question in details and this is what I came up with:
Naltrexone is an opiate antagonist developed in 1970s and approved by FDA back in 1985 for the treatment of alcohol and opiate dependence. “Antagonist” means that it is blocking the effect of a specific substance. In general it helps people to stay off drugs and alcohol by reducing the body craving for alcohol; it helps people to maintain abstinence once they have quit the alcohol or opiates. The other brand names that it could be found under are Revia and Vivitrol. Usually, for the above purposes, 50 mg or higher of Naltrexone are prescribed by physicians to treat these conditions. This is not the “low dosage” recommended for autoimmune disorders. Of course, the drug itself will not cure the addiction but accompanied with psychotherapy and counseling it brings very satisfactory results.
However, recently there were some pilot studies suggesting that low dose Naltrexone (by low dose I mean between 1 mg and 4.5 mg, taken before bed) can be used for treating different autoimmune and other disorders, including but not limited to HIV/AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s disease, Croh’s disease, fibromyalgia, arthritis, autism, Parkinson disease, Lupus, Hepatitis and many more. I will not go in details about these pilot studies; a pretty long list of all of them is presented on the following website: www.lowdosenaltrexone.org.
It looks to me that “one drug can cure all”. Have in mind that most of the listed studies are placebo controlled and clinical trials, and to the best I know this drug is not officially approved by FDA to treat the above mentioned conditions. But, I was advised by some clients, their doctors prescribed them LDN for the treatment of their autoimmune disorder, specifically Graves’ disease.
I believe that more research is needed to make such high claims, especially as we know that any drug, regardless of the dose, has certain side effects. The typical side effects for Naltrexone are troubles sleeping (which may increase for Graves’ disease patients who suffer anyway from insomnia); it may affect the liver function, it may cause chest pain, confusion, blurred vision (for those who have Thyroid eye disease as well), itching and shortness of breath, to name a few. I don’t know if the low doses cause such side effects.
How this medication works? Practically, it increases the endorphins, which are responsible for the “feeling of happiness” and are natural pain reducers. Endorphins, to my humble opinion, can be increased by few other means, they just don’t come in pills: meditation, sex, spicy foods, exercise, good music, laughing, and let’s not forget the chocolate and glass of good wine, and not in that particular order.
While I know how difficult could be to battle with any autoimmune disease, not just Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s disease, and how many people are desperate to find that cure, I would suggest considering other options as well (see below). But by all means, if you consult your doctor and he agrees to put you on a Low Dose Naltrexone, why not consider it? I have to be honest that some of my subscribers and Facebook members report some good results. But as a “naturalist”, I just can’t dismiss that feeling that this is another campaign of the Big Pharma to promote more and more drugs. So, proceed with caution…
Colostrum: The Natural Healing Medicine
While writing about the benefits of one medication, I just cannot avoid giving you some equally important information about a natural product, about which I was advised by one of my subscribers, and accordingly conducted my very diligent research. It’s called Colostrum (well known as beestings or first milk), or Bovine Colostrum (which is the same, but from cows and totally acceptable to be used by humans). Recent research show that some substances, found in the Colostrum may benefit people suffering from different autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, Addison’s disease and diabetes Type 1. While Graves’ disease is not specifically mentioned, it falls in the same group of autoimmune diseases. Since this is the “first milk”, it contains immune components that strengthen the immune system of the newborns, reduces the inflammation responses and have anti-inflammatory properties. The main components immunoglobulin and lactoferin are found to help viruses and bacteria in the body and restore the human immune system (disoriented or insufficient with many autoimmune disorders).
Colostrum is also found by researchers to naturally help the growth and repair of intestinal tissue, as with leaky gut syndrome and celiac disease. Colostrum seems to be the “Nature’s Healing Miracle”, according to medical doctor Donald Henderson. This is one reason that you may consider it, if you have this type of problems.
Contraindications: none, to the best of my knowledge and unless you are allergic to lactose or milk protein. Hyperimmune bovine colostrum has FDA “orphan drug status”, but it is widely available on Internet as a supplement. You can check the product below that page which I found on Amazon. It’s also a pretty cheap “medication”, compared to other similar chemical immune boosters on the market. More information on this product, with all the research done in this aspect and real stories from real people and cases you can find on the website of Center for Nutritional Research.
and here: http://www.dravard.com/colostrum.htm
While I am not advocating for either one of the above methods, use your own judgement when trying different products, pharmaceutical or natural.
I’ll also appreciate if any has an experience with any of the above mentioned products to leave a comment either on my blog or on my Facebook page so other people can read it as well.
Or my Blog:
Jarrow FORMULAS Colostrum Prime Life contains a minimum of 35% immunoglobulins; double the strength of typical colostrum products; because it comes from the first milking. Colostrum Prime Life colostrum is collected within 12 hours of calving from American; pasture-fed cows. The colostrum undergoes low-temperature processing along with testing to ensure that the different colostrum immunoglobulin fractions retain their biological activity and are not denatured.Colostrum Prime Life also contains proline-rich polypeptides (PRPs); a special class of polypeptides shown to have immune-modulating and gastrointestinal health-promoting properties.Colostrum Prime Life contains lactoferrin; an important iron-binding glycoprotein found naturally in tears and saliva that supports immune function and promotes the growth of the good bacteria. Colostrum Prime Life is free of the hormone rBGH; antibiotics; pesticides; and is F.D.A. certified for sale in the USA.Keep out of the reach of children.