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Monday, November 17, 2014

Is Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) really the cure-all for autoimmune diseases?

One of my clients sent me a copy of this email broadcast from a well known paleo advocate and holistic practitioner, Chris Kresser:

"Those of you who’ve been following my work for some time may know that my wife Elanne and I struggled to conceive for almost two years after we first decided to start a family. During that process we discovered that Elanne was suffering from autoimmune hyperthyroidism (i.e. Graves’ disease).

The endocrinologist we saw wanted to put her on PTU, a toxic drug that suppresses thyroid function. Not surprisingly, neither of us were in favor of that, so I did what I do in these situations—I read everything I could get my hands on in the scientific literature about Graves’, autoimmunity, and emerging treatments.

One of the treatments I came across was low-dose naltrexone (LDN). And after researching it thoroughly, and talking with some physicians who had experience working with it, both Elanne and I were convinced that it was worth a try.

In just two months after starting LDN (along with some other supportive changes), there were no signs that Elanne had ever suffered from hyperthyroidism. And about a month after that, Elanne was pregnant with our daughter Sylvie.

Today, Sylvie is 3.5 years old and one of the healthiest and most vibrant kids I’ve ever met. Elanne is still taking LDN, and is still completely free of hyperthyroid symptoms. She never had to take PTU or other toxic drugs, and unlike many hyperthyroid patients, she didn't have to have her thyroid gland surgically removed.

Since then I have seen LDN work similar miracles in many of my patients with autoimmune diseases ranging from rheumatoid arthritis, to Crohn’s disease, to Hashimoto’s. It’s not a panacea, and it doesn’t work for everyone, but when it works it is extremely effective (not to mention safe and well-tolerated)."

Very interesting, especially when coming from a "Holistic Practitioner"!

I've been reading about Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) for a few years; but am not keen on it despite some well known authorities advocating it.  

The problem I have is it merely suppresses the symptoms of disease and therefore lulls a person into a false sense of security while the disease continues to percolate away, now unseen.  Its a bit like rust in the chassis of your car, or rot in your house: you can't see it, but it is there quietly doing irreparable damage.  Merely painting over the visible expressions of the rust or rot does not get rid of the problem.

The absence of symptoms does not necessarily mean the absence of disease

I am interested in identifying and dealing with the ROOT CAUSES of disease and not being distracted with chasing symptoms.  Treating symptoms with a drug is easy while finding and dealing with root causes can be expensive and frustrating.  But the rewards are amazing when eventually discovered and remedied - and worth every cent and every minute:

Autoimmune conditions such as Crohn's, Hashimoto's and rheumatoid arthritis are symptoms of something being seriously amiss deep within the body.  These are not diseases caused by a deficiency in Naltrexone.  There is something fundamental at play.  For example; there is a close link between rheumatoid inflammations and chronic, subclinical infection that may have been going on for years and years.  The same goes with Hashimoto's or Graves.  Have you ever wondered what causes all of those terrible ulcerations in the gut of a person suffering Crohn's or similar diseases of the digestive tract?  Infection, including parasites?  Then there are chronic nutritional deficiencies such as the lack zinc and selenium, sometimes complicated by the presence of heavy metals such as mercury and lead.  Problems with zinc and selenium result in poor healing, inflammation and ulcerations.  Most people are iodine deficient and iodine is essential for health, including the thyroid.  

One of the consequences of chronic physical, infectious or psychological stress is immune dysfunction and the adrenals and thyroid are right in the firing line.  With the eventual onset of adrenal and thyroid exhaustion, the body may flick into a desperate state of hyperthyroidism, as if desperately making a final lunge for the finish line.  And have you ever wondered why autoimmune conditions are much more prevalent in women than men?  That's all to do with hormones.  Contraceptives and HRT can throw a woman's hormones into complete disarray.  

Naltrexone, or any other drug, for that matter, will not "cure" any of these root causes and may actually make matters worse over the long term.  

All drugs, low dose or high dose, come with long lists of nasty side effects.  The longer one is on the drugs, the greater the odds are that one or more of these side effects will be expressed.  Once expressed, getting better may be all the more difficult.  

Don't get me wrong - I'm not all against drug use - Drugs - yes - in certain cases and with due care and judicious application.  

While it may be necessary to take a drug to rescue an acute or intolerable situation, the search for and elimination of the root causes of the distress remains all important, if not even more so.

Health Warning! 

Non drugs remedies that are directed at root causes have two major side effects - Looking good and feeling great!


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The advice in these articles is given freely without promise or obligation. Its all about giving you and your family the tools and information to take control of your health and fitness.
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