Low Dose Naltrexone and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

As a natural healthcare professional, my goal is to help people with autoimmune thyroid conditions such as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis restore their health back to normal using natural treatment methods. However, there are times when conventional medical treatment can help, and so I wanted to write an article that discusses the benefits of low dose naltrexone (LDN), and how it can benefit people with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.

What is naltrexone? This is an FDA-approved prescription medication that blocks the effects of drugs such as heroin and opium. However, in 1985 it was discovered that lower dosages of this medication can modulate a person's immune system, and thus can help people with autoimmune disorders, as well as other chronic conditions.

How Does Taking Low Dose Naltrexone Help With Hashimoto's Thyroiditis?

The way that this drug works is by blocking the opiate receptors. This in turn will increase the levels of endorphins, which will modulate the immune system. So for someone with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, this should help to reduce the elevated thyroid antibodies. So what Low Dose Naltrexone is essentially doing is suppressing the autoimmune component of the condition. So while it is a prescription drug, it isn't just managing the thyroid symptoms like synthetic natural thyroid hormone does.
With that being said, taking LDN won't do anything to address other compromised areas of the body. So if someone has weak adrenal glands, or a condition such as leaky gut which is triggering the autoimmune response, then taking this medication won't address these and other compromised areas of the body. So for those who choose to take Low Dose Naltrexone, it still would be beneficial to see a holistic doctor who focuses on endocrine disorders to help address other problems that might be triggering the autoimmune response.

Other Pros And Cons About Low Dose Naltrexone

In addition to having the ability to suppress the autoimmune response, there are a few other benefits of low dose naltrexone. One huge benefit is that it is inexpensive. Another benefit is that side effects are rare. One of the main reasons for this is because the dosage is very small.

This doesn't mean that there aren't any disadvantages of receiving LDN, as there are a few of them. First of all, while this medication does seem to help a decent number of people who take it, it doesn't always help to lower the thyroid antibodies. In other words, it's not effective in everyone with an autoimmune thyroid condition such as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. A second disadvantage is that it doesn't cure the condition, which means that the person is meant to take this drug for the rest of their life. As I mentioned earlier, for anyone who is looking to restore their health back to normal, the goal should be to take this drug on a temporary basis, while at the same time restoring the health of any compromised areas of the body.

So for example, if someone has weak adrenals that is causing or contributing to the autoimmune response, then combining LDN with adrenal support, along with eating well and other lifestyle factors, can help to restore the person's health back to normal so that they won't have to take this medication on a permanent basis. Similarly, if leaky gut is triggering the autoimmune response, the goal should be to heal the damage done to the intestinal lining and restore the person's digestive health back to normal, which essentially will remove the trigger. Of course in these two examples one would also need to address the factors which lead to the weakened adrenals and the leaky gut condition so that they don't reoccur. But the point is that LDN might not have to be taken on a permanent basis if the underlying cause of the condition is corrected. So ideally the goal is to combine LDN with a natural treatment protocol for optimal results.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the pros and cons of low dose naltrexone. I obviously prefer for people to take a natural approach and not have to rely on any medication, but if LDN can help to suppress the autoimmune component of the condition then I'm all for it. While it might not help everyone with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, and it definitely won't address other compromised areas of the body, for some people it is an option to consider.

(Posted by Dr. Eric Osansky at http://ezinearticles.com/?Low-Dose-Naltrexone-and-Hashimotos-Thyroiditis&id=7260062)