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“LDN is a drug that implements the biotherapy approach to 21st century medicine which is all about artificially stimulating the body’s own defences and systems in order to restore control over chronic and systemic diseases.  LDN has a demonstrable safety record with no toxicity issues, is orally delivered, making it an attractive therapy for many diseases” - LDNNow.

First off, it always helps to have an understanding of the disease we have been diagnosed with and how this disease affects our bodies. Once we understand this, can we start researching therapies gaining an insight as to how various treatments work. Then, we can make an informed decision with the therapy of our choice as to how we wish to manage our diseases.

When anyone asks ‘what is LDN?’ it is important to understand that LDN is a ‘cell growth regulator’ and through its actions we are able to tap into our body’s own chemistry to help control pain, inflammation and disease progression in a non-toxic manner.  

The evidence that the body’s own chemistry can be used to heal itself introduces an entirely new paradigm and a breakthrough in understanding the pathophysiology of diseases. It also provides the opportunity for a biological-based strategy in the restoration of homeostasis.  This discovery has already shown the capability to transition from bench to bedside, and the clinical studies to date provide exciting and provocative results that promise even greater rewards.

So how does LDN work

By regulating and controlling errant cell proliferation we are able to exert a modifying influence on the immune system and control inflammation. If it weren’t for the immune system – which is the human body’s natural defence against outside invaders – we would be sick all the time. This complex network of cells, organs and molecules (immune system) fights off things like hostile bacteria and viruses 24 hours a day. The immune system is a powerful protection when it’s working for us, but can also be a powerful threat when it turns against us.

Among the key players in the immune system are special white blood cells called B cells, which produce antibodies to coordinate the attack, and T cells, which carry out the attack – and, importantly, also signal when the attack should stop.  When the immune system launches an aggressive attack on infected cells, healthy tissues and cells can be mistakenly killed or damaged in the process as it fails to shut off that attack. The type of disease that is diagnosed depends on the type of body tissue or organ that is affected. The more dysfunctional and out of balance the immune system is, the more voraciously it will attack the body’s tissues

When cells of the body at a particular site start to grow out of control, they may become cancerous.  Cancer cell growth is different from normal cell growth.  Cancer cells continue to grow and form new, abnormal cells.  In addition, these cells can also invade other tissues.  Large numbers of cancer cells build up because they multiply (proliferate) out of control, or because they live much longer than normal cells, or both.

For anyone living with a disease, our goal is to quench the inflammation of the autoimmune reaction – to allow the immune system to do its job while keeping it from doing further damage – and to “reset” the immune system so that it will work normally on its own. 

This is where Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) becomes relevant.

As Naltrexone is a cell growth regulator, research has shown that by taking a very low dose of Naltrexone and benefitting from the rebound effect (the upregulation and improved interaction between OGF - Opioid Growth Factor, chemically termed met-5-enkephalin and its receptor OGFr), we are able to control inflammation and repress the proliferation of these cells. The rebound effect is what happens when the medicine you have taken clears your system leaving you with the benefit of its action.

This action is dependent on the OGF-OGFr axis which serves to promote homeostasis. The OGF-OGFr axis is a biological system and operates as a tonically active negative regulator of cell proliferation. By taking LDN, we are able to modulate the OGF-OGFr axis allowing us to harness the body’s own chemistry to manipulate the immune-system response (improved cell interaction and immune function). Bringing our ‘systems’ back into balance by controlling inflammation and slowing down errant cell proliferation can only be beneficial to anyone living with chronic sickness.

LDN blocks your opioid receptors for a period of roughly 4 hours. During this time it tricks your body into believing it is not producing endorphins and enkephalins, specifically met-5-enkephalin known as Opioid Growth Factor, (OGF). As a result, the body compensates by stimulating an enhanced production of these opioids along with their receptors. Only when LDN has cleared your system does the rebound effect come into play where we are able to repress the proliferation of these cells in a non-toxic manner

The rebound effect continues long after LDN is no longer in your system i.e. 1-5 days. The mechanism of action works just the same regardless of the time of day LDN is taken for the simple reason this effect acts for this amount of time. Dosing is very individual depending on how quick a patient metabolizes LDN and the length of time the rebound effect lasts.  These are open questions.

In addition to repressing the proliferation of T cells, B cells, and some types of cancer cells from the rebound effect, an upregulation of OGF has also been found to regulate the growth of astrocytes that form scar tissue in neurological damage, suppress the action of microglia in neurodegenerative disorders, repress the ability of viruses and bacteria type infections to multiply quickly, and inhibit angiogenesis (blood vessel growth) in cancer. This is important for tumour control because tumours need to develop blood vessels fast to stay alive, so inhibiting this will block tumour growth and even cause parts of the tumour to die off if they outgrow their blood supply. OGF is often described as ‘cytostatic’ (cyto = cellular growth, static = halt).

Research has also shown that by combining LDN with standard-of-care chemotherapeutic agents, an enhanced anticancer action has been observed where, LDN may also serve as a protector of any possible adverse effects from chemotherapy. Clinical trials have also shown that LDN can be used as an adjunct therapy to the more conventional medicines.

There is also exciting new research being done with LDN to treat pain looking at a different mechanism.  Dr Jarred Younger and colleagues at Stanford are reviewing the evidence that LDN may operate as a novel anti-inflammatory agent in the central nervous system via the Toll Like Receptor 4’s (TLR4’s) action on microglial cells.  This may represent LDN as being one of the first glial cell modulators to be used for the management of chronic pain disorders

Having the ability to take a medication that inhibits cell proliferation for those cells that have only been activated to proliferate through the disease process, yet leaves the healthy cells alone is rapidly gaining the recognition it deserves.

It is simple to see why so many Drs and patients are opting for this affordable non-toxic biotherapy approach to medicine when treating ‘cell proliferative related diseases’ which are driven by inflammation, making it an attractive therapy for cancer, autoimmune, neurological and infectious disorders.

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