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How Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) Can Treat Hashimoto’s

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This is a guest post from The National Academy of Hypothyroidism.

Immunity is a complex topic that is closely associated with thyroid function.

The two collide in the form of autoimmune disorders such as Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Autoimmune thyroid disorders such as these are recognized for being difficult to diagnose and challenging to treat.

They frequently cause systemic damage and a wide range of symptoms that tend to be the primary focus of treatment rather than the underlying issue. Unfortunately, this leaves many patients to suffer continually from their condition with little hope of resolution.

However, there is a promising treatment method known as Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) that can support both immune and thyroid function. For those with Hashimoto’s or other immune dysfunction, LDN may provide an effective path to recovery.

A Basic Brief of Hashimoto’s

Thyroid-related immune disorders are commonly triggered by an overactive immune response. Hashimoto’s specifically involves the overproduction of thyroid antibodies that attack and destroy the thyroid ultimately resulting in a deficiency.

Typically, the body protects the thyroid from infection and potential threats by releasing antibodies to repel or destroy harmful substances. However, if the immune system overreacts and misidentifies the threat, it can attack the thyroid itself rather than the source of the infection.

In the case of Hashimoto’s, the thyroid becomes so damaged that it cannot properly produce the volume of thyroid hormones necessary to sustain proper bodily function. Unfortunately, this condition is frequently misdiagnosed and subsequently mistreated.

Rather than resolving the primary issue of immune dysfunction, the symptoms of fatigue, depression, weight gain, and mental sluggishness are the primary focus of treatment. To resolve Hashimoto’s the immune system must be considered and optimized.

The Importance of Immune Balance

The immune system is an intricate collection of factors that protect vital systems and overall health. However, when not functioning properly it can cause serious issues.

One aspect of immunity that is a prevailing factor in Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune disorders is the balance of Th1 and Th2. These factors dictate the type of response produced by the immune system. Th1 is active within cells while Th2 functions outside the cell.

A primarily Th2 immune response requires more energy and induces more inflammation in the body than is typically necessary. Whereas a balance of Th1 and Th2 properly combats infection without causing greater damage. Therefore, maintaining an appropriate value of both Th1 and Th2 is optimal regarding immune response and autoimmune disorders.

If the immune system is continuously triggered, it begins to malfunction and chronic autoimmune disorders may develop. Typically, this type of scenario is caused by chronic infections resulting in an extended Th2 immune response.

Approximately 90% of autoimmune disease is sustained by untreated chronic infection. Those suffering from an autoimmune disorder such as Hashimoto’s will not recover fully until immunity is optimized.

Treating immune dysfunction can be challenging but through the utilization of Low Dose Naltrexone, multiple aspects of dysfunction can be resolved.

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) and the Immune System

LDN is a prescribed treatment that reactivates cells to normalize immune function. Originally, naltrexone was used as a treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. However, it was soon discovered that at lower doses, naltrexone helps regulate immune function and alleviates immunodeficiency. These aspects support the body’s defenses and gives it greater ability and opportunity to fend off chronic or infectious disease.

When administered at low doses, naltrexone acts as an immune modulator to balance Th1 and Th2. This is hugely beneficial when treating autoimmune disorders in the central nervous system, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, and thyroid conditions like Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Excess inflammation is a leading contributor of autoimmune dysfunction and by reducing its occurrence through regulating Th1 and Th2, LDN limits the development of autoimmune dysfunction and in some cases may even reverse damage. Interestingly, LDN is capable of establishing an equilibrium of Th1 and Th2 regardless of which side the imbalance rests.

The most impactful component of LDN is its ability to negate the effect of cells that would harm the immune system.

This effectively inhibits the release of inflammatory chemicals and neurotoxins. Furthermore, LDN has been shown to combat reduced tissue T3 levels commonly seen in hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s patients.

This treatment may also improve other areas related to autoimmune-thyroid disorders such as thyroid resistance, thyroid transport, and leptin resistance. Resolving these contributing factors further promotes the healing and optimization of the immune system and the thyroid.

Is LDN an Effective Treatment for Hashimoto’s?

Some believe that because LDN boosts immunity, it may actually worsen Hashimoto’s. However, LDN does not actually increase immune activity but rather balances levels of Th1 and Th2 to facilitate a more effective Th1 response. LDN also regulates antibody production, which is a primary Hashimoto’s contributor.

By reducing the release and production of thyroid antibodies, LDN limits damage and may cease further harm to the thyroid.

The result of LDN treatment for Hashimoto’s patients typically includes a cessation of autoimmune symptom progression, limiting of inflammation, and a reduced volume of thyroid antibodies. These aspects support healthy immune activity and allow for restoration and protection of the thyroid gland.

Resolving Dysfunction with LDN

Even though immunity and thyroid function are complex issues that are highly interconnected, there are effective methods to restore and regulate these important systems. Low Dose Naltrexone is one of the most effective ways of treating thyroid-related immune disorders such as Hashimoto’s. This is because LDN effectively balances immune response while also supporting various aspects of thyroid wellness such as hormone transport and receptivity.

Maintaining healthy immune and thyroid activity with LDN treatments may lead to improvement or complete resolution of Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune conditions.

Support thyroid wellness and healthy immunity by talking to your doctor about incorporating LDN into your Hashimoto’s or autoimmune treatment plan.

Resources

Low Dose Naltrexone. Holtorf Medical Group. https://www.holtorfmed.com/low-dose-naltrexone-ldn/

Treating Autoimmune Thyroid Disease with LDN. The National Academy of Hypothyroidism. https://www.nahypothyroidism.org/treating-autoimmune-thyroid-disease-with-ldn/

Low Dose Naltrexone for Autoimmune Diseases. Hypothyroid Mom. http://hypothyroidmom.com/most-doctors-dont-know-about-low-dose-naltrexone-for-autoimmune-diseases/

Conditions Treated by LDN. LDN Research Trust. https://www.ldnresearchtrust.org/conditions

Interview with Dr. Kent Holtorf on the Treatment of Hashimoto’s. YouTube. https://youtu.be/6ZzqI3OPyZc


About Dr. Kent Holtorf

Kent Holtorf, MD is an American physician, entrepreneur, and a board examiner of the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine (ABAAM).

Dr. Holtorf is the founder and medical director of the non-profit, multidisciplinary medical society, The National Academy of Hypothyroidism (NAH), which is dedicated to the dissemination of new information on the diagnosis and treatment of hypothyroidism. The goal of NAH is to improve physician, endocrinologist, healthcare provider and patient understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disease.

Dr. Holtorf is also the founder of Holtorf Medical Group, a practice of five centers that specializes in the treatment and management of medical conditions and disorders including adrenal fatigue, complex endocrine dysfunction, hypothyroidism, and more. His practice was founded on the belief that every patient deserves to have the highest quality of care, compassion, and understanding when striving for a better quality of life.

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