Naltrexone has been used in 50 mg doses for decades to help patients recover from addiction to alcohol, heroin and other opiate drugs. 20 years ago it was discovered that very small doses of this drug—3 to 4.5 mg—have profound effects on the immune system, which is extremely beneficial for people with conditions marked by immune system dysfunction (autoimmune).
Low dose naltrexone works by boosting levels of endorphins (peptides produced in the brain and adrenal glands) that are best known for relieving pain and enhancing your sense of well-being. Endorphins are responsible for the “runner’s high” brought on by strenuous exercise. These natural peptides are also powerful modulators of the immune system, by preventing immune system overactivity, the crux of autoimmune disorders, and blunts the release of inflammatory and neurotoxic chemicals in the brain.
Just A Few Conditions Low Dose Naltrexone Is Good For
Sound too good to be true?, well here’s the disclaimer. Theoretically it should work great, but there are always exceptions that prevent it from working for some individuals, and the same for some conditions, just like any medication.
What is the usual dosage
The usual adult dosage is 4.5mg taken once daily at night. Because of the rhythms of the body’s production of master hormones, LDN is best taken between 9pm and 3am. Most patients take it at bedtime.
People who have multiple sclerosis that has led to muscle spasms are advised to use only 3 mg. daily and to maintain that dosage.
For initial dosage of LDN in those patients who have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis with hypothyroidism and who are taking thyroid hormone replacement medication, there are cautionary warnings.
The therapeutic dosage range for LDN is from 1.5mg to 4.5mg every night. Dosages below this range are likely to have no effect at all, and dosages above this range are likely to block endorphins for too long a period of time and interfere with its effectiveness.
The only contraindication is narcotic drugs. Low-dose naltrexone blocks the effects of narcotics and could cause withdrawal symptoms, so it should be started only after those drugs are completely out of your system.
LDN is safe and well tolerated. You may have vivid dreams at first, but sleep disturbances are rare. To avoid this, start with a dose of 1.5 mg and build up slowly over two months.
LDN has been an FDA-approved drug for over two decades, conventionally used to treat drug- and alcohol addiction at doses of 50mg to 300mg. Much lower doses (3 to 4.5 mg) are used for LDN's immune-modulating properties as discussed above, but it has not yet been submitted for FDA approval at this low dose. None of the pharmaceutical giants back it, as at an average price of $25 to $60 for a month's supply, the income potential isn't very promising.
CAUTION: Important LDN Points to Consider if You Use It
Avoid slow-release (SR) or timed-release naltrexone. You want the LDN you receive is in unaltered form, that allows you to receive the full dose quickly. Slow-release formulas may not give you the full therapeutic effects.
Be aware of inactive fillers, as some of the LDN capsule will contain a "neutral" filler material. There is some evidence to suggest that calcium carbonate as a filler could interfere with the absorption of LDN, so avoid using LDN with this filler.