Nutrition for cancer patients

Nutrition for Autoimmune Disease patients

Low Dose Naltrexone ("LDN")

LDN has shown effectiveness in Autoimmune Diseases such as Crohn's, MS, Lupus, Autoimmune Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Psoriasis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Sjogrens, etc. but also a number of non-autoimmune conditions such as some cancers (not all respond) as well as some neuro-degenerative conditions (Alzheimers, Parkinsons, ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease, ...). Click here for summary list of conditions where LDN has been shown effective.

In the UK, Low Dose Naltrexone can be prescribed as an off-label treatment. This can be done by your GP or treatment team, or by a specialist LDN team working in the UK.

LDN was originally developed 50+ years ago as "Naltrexone" an Opioid Antagonist and used in Opioid addiction. Naltrexone blocks Opioid Growth Factor and for this use it is prescribed in doses of 50-200mg daily.

However, in the 1980s, Doctor Bernard Bhairi found that when he gave Naltrexone to patients in much smaller amounts (10 times or more less than the minimum 50mg a day), the drug had unexpected beneficial effects on the immune system. Dosages start at 1.5mg and reach up to 4.5mg for LDN. 

LDN for Autoimmune Disease

Sadly, despite fact that LDN has proven so successful for many autoimmune and other conditions, it is by and large ignored by conventional medicine. Yet by all accounts it is safe, it is inexpensive and it has shown benefit in a great many different conditions, ranging from MS to cancer and much further afield for patients with such diverse conditions as Fibromyalgia, Autism, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) and many more.

The low-dose version of this drug works by acting on endorphins - naturally occurring chemical messengers which are in structure very similar to morphine and other opioid drugs. You may have heard of endorphins as those 'happy chemicals' released post-exercise - they give your mood a boost after exercise whilst at the same time lowering the experience of pain. Endorphins are active in almost every cell in the human body. LDN binds to one particular endorphin by the name of "opioid growth factor" or OGF, an endorphin which regulates our body's immune system. 

Once LDN binds to an OGF receptor, it temporarily blocks the utilisation of OGF on this receptor. This in itself has no direct implication on the body: the actual benefit of LDN is caused by the body's reaction to a perceived shortage of OGF: there is a rebound effect where cells dramatically increase production of OGF and the sensitivity of OGF receptors to it. So the result of LDN is an overproduction of OGF - which helps regulate the immune system - and once the effect of the LDN has worn off (2-3 hours only, since the dose is so low), the OGF receptors are able to utilise all this newly manufactured OGF which now circulates in the blood stream. This has a number of regulatory effects on several aspects of our body's immune response: 

  1. It slows out-of-control, undifferentiated cell growth
  2. It slows and on occasions halts the immune system overactivity associated with autoimmune disorders
  3. It slows the release of inflammatory / toxic neurochemicals in the brain
  4. In conditions associated with lowered levels of OGF, LDN restores these the OGF back to optimal levels.

LDN for Cancer

There are now quite a number of practitioners who use LDN with their cancer patients. Burt Berkson MD developed a protocol (now named after him the Berkson protocol) in which his team treated patients with advanced metastatic pancreatic cancer using LDN alongside intravenous alpha lipoic acid. "Two of the patients Dr. Berkson reported on, each with well-documented pancreatic cancer that had metastasized to the liver, were alive and well 78 and 39 months after presenting for treatment. A third patient who had the same diagnosis was disease-free, as evidenced by a PET scan, five months after beginning LDN/alpha lipoic acid therapy. The final patient had a history of B-cell lymphoma and prostate adenocarcinoma in addition to metastatic pancreatic cancer. After four months of treatment, his PET scan demonstrated no signs of cancer."(1)

Dr Cowan reports a case of AML form Leukaemia in remission after many years.(2) Others have reported good results in patients with melanoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and cancer of the breast, lung, prostate, kidney, and colon.



1 - quoted from The Whitaker Wellness Institute's website at

2 - Youtube interview of Dr Cowan by Dr Mercola here