I have gotten the feeling that people think I'm a hypochondriac, too--not a good feeling when you're really suffering.
Before I go into the whole LDN (low dose naltrexone) "thing", I want to address something else I've been reading about, and that's low stomach acid as a precursor to some autoimmune conditions.
Apparently many of us are walking around with low stomach acid, often caused by too many carbs in our diets, even though there are other causes. Paradoxically, if you listen to most doctors (even gastroenterologists), they will prescribe an acid-lowering medicine if you have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), when the real problem is low stomach acid, not an excess.
This low stomach acid causes undigested food to travel to the small intestine, where unbroken-down food was not meant to travel. The purpose of the small intestine is to facillitate the transport of nutrients (broken-down food) to our cells. Instead, larger, more complex particles are making their way to our bloodstream, where they are not recognized as clumps of nutrients, but are seen by the immune system as foreign invaders.
This is what's called "leaky gut syndrome", and it's responsible for some autoimmune processes, RA among them. In addition to initiating an autoimmune response, the undigested food ferments in our gut, making gas and bloating common. This gas and bloating causes upward pressure on the stomach, pushing acid up into the esophagus, creating GERD.
So all of these docs prescribing these acid-lowering meds and all the over-the-counter stuff is simply making a bad problem worse, and with continued use, will eventually make your stomach stop producing acid. This, of course, worsens the existing problem, and can even leave people open to food poisoning, etc., because one of stomach acid's main roles is to kill food-borne pathogens before they can fully enter the system.
Years ago I had read that people with RA are more prone to food poisoning, and I guess this explains it!
What I'm getting at with this long-winded explanation is that many people with RA and other autoimmune conditions have food sensitivities and allergies because of this low stomach acid/leaky gut thing, and it's linked to the bacterial infection theory of RA (as the bacteria some believe causes RA could enter through the low-acid stomach). In addition, I'm reading that there are ways to heal leaky gut by going on a very restrictive diet (like GAPS) for a period of time (until the gut heals), and then slowly adding back foods to see if they still present a problem.
I'm reading a very good book on that subject right now called Conquering Arthritis: What Doctors Don't Tell You Because They Don't Know. I'm also going to include a link here (hope that's ok) to an article that will get your toes wet on the subject if you don't want to commit to a book: www.chriskresser.com/9-steps-to-perfect-health-5-heal-your-gut
Anyway, on to the low-dose naltrexone (LDN). This drug has been around for around thirty years, and was originally prescribed (in doses between 50 mg. and 300 mg.) to help people addicted to opiate drugs like heroin--when it was taken daily, it blocked the receptors that made addicts feel good when they took the drug.
Then someone noticed that if these people had an autoimmune disease (or any of a lot of other things...some cancers, many conditions), they got better. It was then learned that only a very small dose (3-4.5 mg.) would work for this.
The problem is that, as previously mentioned, the smallest dose the drug came in is 50 mg., so if you could find a doctor to prescribe LDN, the prescription had to be sent to a "compounding pharmacy"--basically a pharmacy that makes up personalized doses of medications, and they aren't that hard to find--you can find lists of them on the internet on LDN sites.
Anyway, many doctors are hesitant to prescribe this because it's not a well-known off-label use, and up till recently, no large studies had been done that would prove this drug's worth to your doctor. (As of late 2012, a larger-scale study had finally been started--prior to this, there had been a small study or two, funded by donations.) If these studies prove effectiveness (safety's already been proven at the much higher dosage), then a series of low-dose pills will be made, and patients could bypass the compounding pharmacy step.
This drug is not a cure (unlike the gut-healing I mentioned above, along with--in some people--avoidance of certain foods). It needs to be taken daily, or symptoms will return.
I've seen the list of conditions LDN is supposed to help, and it includes type 1 diabetes, but I haven't yet researched it regarding that autoimmune condition. I'm not sure what that would mean...since the drug's not a cure, I don't know what effect it could have, since the beta cells in our pancreas are (as I understand it) gone, or at least irreparably damaged.
One thing to note is that to use LDN, a person needs to go off of all immunosuppressive drugs. Because each dose of LDN works by "fooling" the body into thinking it's immune system is normal, drugs with immunosuppressive activites are contraindicated.
Anyway, I'd be happy to share specific websites on LDN, but this just gives you an overview. I've already written the world's longest post! Hope you're still awake!
Keep in touch!
"Life is not about
waiting for the storm to pass; it's about
learning to dance in the rain."
Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Type 1 Diabetes, Grave's Disease, GAD, migraines, panic attacks, chronic hangnails (just seeing if you're paying attention!) : )
Post Edited (kimliz59) : 2/25/2013 4:29:40 AM (GMT-7)