Call (503)408-0790

To schedule an appointment

Lee Dennis, ND

Naturopathic Physician

Call (503)408-0790

To schedule an appointment

Location

Namaste Natural Healing Center
12616 SE Stark St
Portland, OR 97233

Low-Dose Naltrexone

Naltrexone is a pharmaceutical drug that was first approved by the FDA in 1984 for the purpose of treating addiction to opiate drugs and medications - drugs such as heroine, morphine, oxycodone, etc. It works by blocking opioid receptors in the body and thereby blocking the effects of opiate medications.

Because of it's ability to block opioid receptors, it also incidentally blocks the action of naturally occuring opioids in the body, such as endorphins. As it turns out, endorphins and similar naturally occuring opioids are used by the body, in part, as immune signaling molecules. Beta-endorphin, for example, has been found to stimulate certain cells in the immune system in low concentrations and suppress the action or production of the those same cells in higher concentrations. This is known as a biphasic response.

In 1985, Bernard Bihari, MD discovered that low doses of naltrexone have a modulating effect, or balancing effect, on the immune system. He first discovered this in treating HIV patients. He found that low-dose naltrexone (LDN) enhanced their immune response to the HIV virus. Over the years, research and clinical evidence has found that LDN can be used with positive benefit to patients with many immune related conditions, such as autoimmune diseases and cancer.

But, how does it work? Well, as previously mentioned naltrexone blocks opioid receptors, including those used by naturally ocurring endorphins and enkephalins. Research has shown that in low doses, naltrexone stimulates the body to increase production of certain natural opioids, like beta-endorphin. It is thought, that the increase in these natural opioids leads to positive changes and a balancing effect in the immune system and, in turn, a positive response in immune related conditions.

LDN has proven beneficial in treating many autoimmune conditions such as Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis as well as certain types of cancer. What's perhaps even more important, though, is that in low doses, naltrexone does this with minimal side effects. In fact, the most common side effects of LDN are vivid dreams and either drowsiness or insomnia, though many experience no side effects at all.

It is important to remember, however, that even if LDN is effective for a given disease, it is not necessarily a cure. Though it can lead to remission in some instances, this is not the same as a cure. For autoimmune diseases, finding a cure will often require the identification and removal of the trigger. In some cases this may be a food, while in others it may be some other environmental exposure. For more information on this see my article on autoimmune conditions. LDN can be used, however, and often with great benefit, before a trigger is identified or if a triggering substance cannot be identified.

It's important to remember that everyone is unique and that no one treatment will work for everyone. LDN is simply another tool that can be used to address certain immune mediated diseases as part of a holistic approach.





For more information on LDN, visit http://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org

Herbal Medicine

Plants have been used for thousands of years by various cultures across the world to combat illness and improve health. In fact, many pharmaceutical drugs are derived from plant constituents. Naturopaths are trained in the Western herbal tradition, though some may also employ the use of other herbal traditions such as Chinese medicine or the Indian tradition of Ayurveda. Many of the traditional uses of herbs are being confirmed by modern scientific studies, while new uses are often being found as well... - read more -


Nutrition

Optimal nutrition and a balanced diet is a necessary component of any healthy lifestyle. Food, however, not only provides the building blocks of our body, but can also modulate inflammation, alter immune function and affect a multitude of other biological processes as well. Naturopathic physicians are trained to use food and nutrients as medicine. As such, a visit with a naturopath will most certainly involve some aspect of nutrition -- either dietary changes or... - read more -


Homeopathy

Homeopathy was first developed by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, in the late 18th century. Homeopathy is based on the principle that "like cures like". Hahnemann first observed this principle with the use of cinchona bark to treat malaria. Hahnemann discovered that when cinchona was given to healthy individuals, it caused symptoms similar to those seen in malaria patients. Through experimentation, Hahnemann found that by using small doses of a substance he could avoid the toxic side... - read more -