Anti-Inflammatory Diet

All health care starts with diet. My recommendations for a healthy diet are here:
Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle.
There are over 190 articles on diet, inflammation and disease on this blog
(find topics using search [upper left] or index [lower right]), and
more articles by Prof. Ayers on Suite101 .

Monday, August 29, 2011

Baldness Cure: Low Dose Naltrexone?

Naltrexone can be used to block opioids and provide the basis for treatment for drug abuse, but in low doses (LDN) it provides a paradoxical increase in natural endorphins that reverses inflammation and provides an effective treatment for autoimmune diseases, e.g. MS.

Receptors
A recent anonymous post brought the role of cannabinoid and opioid receptors in baldness to my attention. The relationship between these receptors, inflammation and autoimmunity is very complex. The heat and cold sensors, which also bind capsaicin and menthol, appear to be mediated by endorphins. Acupuncture also seems to function by similar mechanisms and is inhibited by high dose Naltrexone.

Low Dose Naltrexone
A side effect of high dose Naltrexone (e.g. 50 mg/d) is hair loss. Low dose Naltrexone (e.g. 1 mg/day, taken at night) appears to stimulate hair production and it may reverse the effects of Finasteride, since LDN improves libido.

Endorphin-Suppressed Inflammation
I would expect hair loss to be prevented/reversed by topical treatments that block inflammation and autoimmune attack on hair follicles. Curcumin, from turmeric, blocks NFkB and appears to help hair loss. Capsaicin can block inflammation via endorphin production and also helps hair loss. I would also expect that topical menthol and castor oil would reduce hair loss.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet
The anti-inflammatory diet that I recommend, may not be sufficient to block hair loss, but it may provide a good foundation for other anti-inflammatory treatments. In fact, other topical treatments may not be effective unless chronic, diet-based inflammation is eliminated. It may also be important to reduce oxidative stress by optimizing glutathione and vitamin C.

I would appreciate comments by others who may have experience with LDN and balding.

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

My husband tried LDN for psoriasis on his scalp and found that a side effect was insomnia so he had to discontinue it.

Anonymous said...

I have experimented with LDN for use in joint inflammation stemming from food allergies / intolerances. I tried an initial dose of 4.5 mg but due to severe insomnia coupled with bizarre and exceptionally vivid dreams I had to discontinue the medication. I then lowered the dose to 3 mg but the side effects were still too prevalent. I then tried taking half a capsule for a while to see if that might lessen the effects, but dividing the capsule became too cumbersome and the sleep disturbances were still present - albeit greatly reduced. I may try to see if the compounding pharmacy will produce a 1 mg capsule for me.
Jeff

Anonymous said...

For most people insomnia can be avoided when taken AM or at noon.
It does so for my husband too.
He has been taken LDN for about a year now and it hasn't made any difference for his hair - he is not bald though.
It is best to start on a low dose (0.5 mg or less) and to slowly increase.
If you dilute a 50 mg pill in 50 ml water it is very easy to increase or decrease dose.

Gavin said...

Dr Ayers,

Is there any relationship between grey hair and inflammation?

Thanks

Dale said...

I tried LDN a couple of years ago for severe fatigue with body and joint aches, which now is likely due to refractory celiac. I became extremely nauseated on a 4.5 mg dose and had to discontinue it. I was surprised to see your recommended 1 mg dose. Perhaps I might not have reacted so badly had I started with that. I'm a female who also has thinning hair due to malnutrition/malabsorption, so I'd be willing to give it another go.

BTW, I just found your site a couple of days ago. Fabulously helpful, thank you.

Antonio said...

I don't have the full study, but LDN for Crohn's disease seems to work.

NIH gave Dr Smith, Professor of Medicine Penn State $500,000.00 to study LDN and Crohn’s disease. Dr. Jill Smith’s recently completed low dose Naltrexone trial with Crohn’s patients in 2010

1. 45% of the 40 patients achieved remission inside 12 weeks.
2. Healing was shown in colonoscopies.

Title: Naltrexone Therapy Improves Activity and Promotes Mucosal Healing in Active Crohn’S Disease: a Placebo-Controlled Trial

Link to abstract: http://download.abstractcentral.com/DDW2010/myddw/646.html

Dr. Curmudgeon Gee said...

thanks for the article!

a colleague of mine is taking LDN for prostate cancer.

but had to order from a compound pharmacy.

Tom said...

Is this a prescription or controlled drug? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

@Tom

LDN requires a prescription which you can get from a Naturopath (aka Nurse Practioner), but LDN itself is not covered by insurance so the cost is out-of-pocket. LDN is generally made up by a compounding pharmacy.

Stephen Boulet said...

As the third anonymous said, diluting a pill in water and then dosing with a dropper gives you fine control over the dose. A lot of the insomnia issues can be solved by building up over time or taking in the AM. I've taken it for about a year and still have my hair. ;) I don't know what would have happened had I not though.

Anonymous said...

cannaboid receptors? Does this mean that marajuana applied topically would also have an effect to reverse balding?

Kelly B said...

I've been taking LDN for Multiple Sclerosis, but had to stop due to severe nausea caused by the filler in the tablets. I will now have to get pure LDN from a compounding pharmacy. It did help a great deal, helped with sleep issues, neuropathy, and many other symptoms from the MS, I took it in the morning.

Gavin said...

Art, you may find this interesting:

http://inhumanexperiment.blogspot.com/2009/09/two-brave-men-who-ate-nothing-but-meat.html

Most importantly, the mention of their hair getting thicker.

Perhaps an experiment with only two subjects is not valid data but it's interesting.

Gavin said...

... in addition to the above comment...

Given that meat contains both cholesterol and tryptophan, both of which increase serotonin levels, I wonder if that has any play in what Stefansson and Andersen experienced?

What are your thoughts?

golf said...

People from propeciahelp.com have tried LDN and it has not helped with their side effects.

In addition, people who experience the intense level of lasting side effects from propecia even after stopping the medication do not care about balding.

We are simply looking for somthing to help the body return to its pre-finasteride state, and I am open the possibility of it being an inflammatory condition, but unsure of that possibility.

Do you find that it could possibly be an androgen receptor issue - unrelated to inflammation? or do androgen receptors have some type of relationship to the inflammatory process?

Thank you for blogging on this.

Cat said...

Unrelated to inflammation (AFAICT) but on the topic of baldness cures:

http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/008277.html

Anonymous said...

Been on ldn for almost 2 years. FANTASTIC! Took it for IBS and that was gone within a week. The surprise was it cured my scalp and facial psoriasis. That was unexpected and wonderful. Then, about 2 months later I noticed my pubic hair grew back to its youthful levels. Damn this stuff is great! I feel younger and more active than ever. The first 2 weeks were vivid dreams at 3 mg. then it ended. Now I am at 4.5 and few dreams and deep sleep. Just keeps getting better and better.

Anonymous said...

I have been on 1.5Mg. LDN for 7wks. In 2008 I began to lose my hair. Panicked I saw a dermatologist who said that because of my recent hospital espisodes that created trauma to my scalp as well. I had him test for alopecia and it came back positive. I saw my internist and she put me on minoxidil, two fold, I need a beta blocker for my heart and the side affects are hair regrowth. Then after 2.1/2 yrs on minoxidl I began having rapid heart rate, dizziness my internist said it was side affects of minoxidl and took me off and suggested the LDN. I am gluten intolerant and LDN has relieved me of stomach pain. Stabilized moods and no more achiness and tremendous energy. But now my hair is falling out at rapid pace. I am very concerned. HELP!

Bill said...

I've been on an anti inflammatory diet for 5 years now and totally grains free for 4 years.
My alopecia areata has totally cleared up for the past 2 years, it took around 3 years to slowly recover.
I have been using turmeric in my daily diet for 4 years. I'm currently and will continue consuming 4 grams of powdered and fresh turmeric a day.
My hair is now stronger, thicker and less grey than 10 years ago.
At 57 I'm happy to continue with the diet.
I know this only anecdotal, but I'm convinced it's the dietary changes that have made the difference.
My eyesight has also improved, I no longer need to use reading glasses.

I've been supplementing with 4mg of astaxanthin for the past 4 months.
Dr. Ayers, have you any views on this antioxidant?

Anonymous said...

My doctor put me on LDN almost 2 weeks ago. I have an auto-immune hair disease called 'Brocq, pseudopellade' and leaky gut. I'm taking 1,5 mg. a day at 22.00 hours. I have no problems sleeping because I'm spraying Magnesium oil before bed as well. Bill.... a question: are you on a GAPS/Paleo/SCD diet? I'm doing GAPS for almost 1 year now. I'm 53 and the progress is soooooo slow! But there's hope for me now! Thank you for your story! I'll let you all know if the LDN is helping with my hairproblems! 13 Years ago, as the disease started, I got the Minoxidil as well, but it did nothing for me.

Mrs. Ed said...

Here is a fascinating study that just came out called:
Impaired Carbohydrate Digestion and Transport and Mucosal Dysbiosis in the Intestines of Children with Autism and Gastrointestinal Disturbances

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0024585
I don't know if you take requests, but I would love to hear your take on it.

Bill said...

@ Anonymous with 'Brocq, pseudopellade' and leaky gut.

I essentially follow Kurt Harris's Archevore.com diet and guidelines in conjunction with Dr. Ayers recommendations.

I also have with the turmeric fresh chopped ginger, chillies and black pepper. Plus lots of garlic, a big bulb a day including 2 or 3 cloves freshly crushed and chopped in probiotic yoghurt mainly with chopped beetroot as a side dish. Goes well with my very spicy food.
I'm not concerned that I smell of garlic most of the time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill, here's the woman with Brocq again. I googled Kurt Harris and his diet (I live in the Netherlands). What about potatoes and sweet potatoes? Are you eating those? And saturated fats like clarified butter and lard? I appear to have a dairy allergy, so no yoghurt for me... yet! That's a lot of garlic you're having! I know it's very good for us but... well, I do worry about the smell! My scalp is a mess. I'm losing my hair with pieces of white skin attached to them.

Mary said...

@Anon w/Brocq

My husband "cured" his scalp psoriasis (all inflammation is the same imo whatever the name) by NOT eating nuts including coconuts when all else failed. My advise would be to NOT eat your favorite foods for a week and see if you get relief. The foods you love and feel you can't quit eating for numerous reasons are usually the ones causing the inflammation. Worth a try anyway & good luck!

BTW Kurt Harris does stipulate "if you are not diabetic" in many of his recommendations of foods that I would not eat (because I'm elderly and we all become diabetic if we live long enough not to mention the fact that Alzheimer's is thought to be related to diabetes).

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mary!

I used to love dairy products. Especially thick yoghurt. And peanut butter too. At the moment I have a real craving for... nothing! I eat a lot of soups.

Brocq.

Anonymous said...

I started my LDN 1,5 mg a day treatment two weeks ago and my scalp already feels much better! Smoother, calmer. I hope I'm not saying this too soon... I'll keep you all informed!

Mrs. Brocq

kimmyk47 said...

Dr ayers,
Hello , I had a couple question for you to consider. I was recently diagnosed with Lyme disease. I have been nursing my 5 month old daughter until now.my doctor says that the spirochetes can pass thru my breast milk and possibly infect her and I need to stop. I obviously don't want her to get sick And I am well ware of the importance of nursing as I nursed my other 4 children fir two years each. What would you advise given your knowledge if spirochete bActeria? If I have to formula fed her what can you recommend to keep her inflammation as low as possible?

My second question is regarding Lyme treatment and the cytokine storm as bacteria die off. My first round of antibiotics resulted in an extreme reaction of my throat swelling so much I went to the hospital. I need to find ways to manage this die off Nd inflammation in addition to my diet. Can you suggest anything? Do you think the Marshall protocol really works and what about the drastic reduction in vitamin d? Are there any other promising ways/treatments to help rid my body of these pathogens?

Thank you so very much for your response!

Best,
Kim

Anonymous said...

Dr Ayers,

I read your recommandation to eat lots of raw vegetables. I have leaky gut, I am constipated and I've been following a GAPS diet for one year now. But only with a little fermented foods. No raw foods because it's supposed to be bad for you if your enterocytes and villi are damaged. What's your opinion on eating raw vegetables with this condition of mine?
Thanks for answering Me!

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Kimmyk47,
My wife, a lactation consultant provided, the following info from Mohrbacher's "Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple":
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases: "No evidence exists that Lyme disease can be transmitted via human milk." (AAP, 2009b, p.431). According to the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "There are no reports of Lyme disease transmission from breast milk (CDC, 2007).

Typical antibiotics used to treat Lyme, doxycycline, amoxicillin and ceforoxime axetil, are compatible with breastfeeding (Hale, 2008).

In general, I would estimate that the damage caused by use of even a couple of bottles of formula, via long term disruption of gut flora, would be much greater than the low risk of Lyme infection. It is ludicrous to me that formula use is condoned, when the routine associated lowering of IQ approximates high exposure to environmental toxins, such as pesticides.

I think that you should look into low dose Naltrexone to reduce the inflammation associated with antibiotic therapy for Lyme. I think that the Marshall protocol has been discredited and it would be more likely that high vit.D would be helpful.

Let me now how you do.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Anonymous with leaky gut on GAPS diet,
It sounds like you have a very dysfunctional gut flora, which results in poor digestion of soluble fiber, resulting in food Intolerances and constipation. Constipation is nothing more than a lack of bacteria in stools, resulting in compacted fiber.

You have killed off most of the bacteria species needed for you gut flora to function normally. Where do you plan on getting those missing bacteria, if you don't eat them in the form of soil clinging to uncooked vegetables? The natural cure would be to solve the problem the way toddlers do, by sticking everything in your mouth.

I think that it is silly to think that your gut will be protected from bacteria by not overtly eating any. Your gut is far from sterile. It just does not have the healthy bacteria that are needed. The quick solution would be a fecal transplant and a shift to the Anti-inflammatory Diet that I recommend on this site. The GAPS diet will eventually lead back to health, but only if you are in contact with a healthy source of the ca. 150 different species of bacteria needed for healthy gut flora.

Let me know what you do.

Anonymous said...

Well... I planned on getting those missing bacteria from probiotics and fermented vegetables, I guess... I never really thought about where they'll come from! But now I'm doubting if I will ever heal that way! I haven't had much raw vegetables (that I love) since one year! I will start with the introduction of raw vegetables as soon as possible. I guess they'll constipate me at first? But I'll have to persist? Thank you so much for your advice!

Anonymous said...

I have been on LDN for 18 months. The side effects of insomnia and weird dreams pass in 2 nights, though if you do what I did and increase your dose slowly, you will have a night of it each time. The other nights you WILL sleep like a baby.. just got back to sleep if you wake up and break your insomniac habits.

As for hairloss due to malabsorption/malnutrition, LDN has not helped that..

I have lived with refractory CD for 25 years, not one dug worked for me. I've a few Crohn's symptoms occasionally../ no pain, bloating (except when I ate something I should not have, or cramping.

My eczema might show a few bubbles, but that's effectively treated and it's not the gloves of eczema on my hands that was torturing me.

I was originally Rx'd LDN due to CD related tendinitis. My right shoulder was frozen and tearing daily. The pain so bad I could not lay down for more than 3 hours. I started at 1.5 mg and within days the pain had stopped radiating.. within a month it was gone.

Bonus is improved mood.

I recommend this drug to everyone, and will continue to do so.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ayers,

What about eating anti bacterial foods/substances when someone has normal gut bacteria? Are vinegar or raw carrots good for gut bacteria in the long run?

Melchebo said...

Don't forget Inositol, formerly known as vitamin B8.

Anonymous said...

Bill,

"I essentially follow Kurt Harris's Archevore.com diet and guidelines in conjunction with Dr. Ayers recommendations."

What do you do with starch then?

Bill said...

I eat about 90 grams of basmati rice per day. That's my only starch source.

Anonymous said...

Bill,

In a previous post you told us you were totally grain free! And now you're saying you're having 90 grams Basmati rice a day....What do you mean? Have you been grain free for the past 4 years and just recently started eating rice again or have you been eating rice all the time? Is this still possible when trying to heal your gut/get your hair back?

mrs. Brocq.

Bill said...

I don't consider rice to be a grain as wheat, barley, etc. that contain gluten, gliadin and phytates.
That's my take on it.
It seems to have worked for me. Throughout, I have consumed basmati rice.
Probably potatoes would be OK, but rice is cheap and can be bought in bulk and stays fresh for cooking and is very easy to prepare.

Anonymous said...

Bill,

Thank you very much for this valuable information! I think it's better for the adrenals to eat a little bit of gluten free grains. But the GAPS diet forbids it so I never knew what to do. It's very hopefull to hear that it is possible to heal with a little bit of certain grains. Why 90 grams? Any particular reason? I'm sorry I'm off-topic but this is so interesting....

mrs. Brocq

Bill said...

Mrs. Brocq, email me and I'll provide you with any information you require.
I don't want to clog up the good Doctor's blog with off topic dialogue.
bill(@)stubbinsvillage.co.uk
Remove the brackets.

Anonymous said...

And at 1-3 mg doses, pre- it enhances substantially the effect of E cause it clears the deck first.

john said...

Hi Art,

A few posts back you mentioned gut flora digesting meat "fibers" and some fat. Can you expand on which bacteria or point me in the right direction for some information on that? All I could find on pubmed was a paper that showed a b12, chicken bone, and meat trimmings medium getting good bifidobacterium growth--I don't know how that related to one eating those things though.

dextery said...

No LDN for this physician in hairloss. http://jackkruse.com/the-not-so-hard-truth-about-hair-loss/#comments

Anonymous said...

I have been drinking tea made out of a local mushroom called Chaga. I've drank it daily for 2 years and have noticed many good changes. I'm hesitant to recommend it to others since many are leery of mushrooms in general. Just wondered if you've ever come across this mushroom and your thoughts on it's health benefits.

Here is a brief description:

"In nature, Chaga grows in very cold habitats and is exposed to regular seasonal environmental stresses....In response to these, Chaga has evolved a complex series of integrated defense systems. These include the massive production of antioxidant melanins that form a thick layer
outside the woody texture of Chaga, enhanced expression
of antioxidant enzymes to create a reduced environment for mycelial growth, and accumulation of a plethora of metabolites that assists in competing successfully the invasion of pathogenic organisms. Chemical investigations have showed that Chaga produces a diverse variety of bioactive
metabolites including triterpenoids, ergosterol and its peroxide, sesquiterpene,
benzoic acid derivatives, hispidin analogs, melanins, and polysaccharides including β-glucans and heteroglucans."

Solution for balding said...

Hair Extra is exactly as the name says, it is an excellent solution for the hair problem as Hair thinning, fuller hair, Hair loss, Hair loss conceal, Thicker hair . adding more hair to your head naturally and effortlessly, it is a superlative hair loss products. perfect Solution For Balding.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ayers, thank you for posting this interesting article. Have you tried LDN for hair loss, or know anyone who has? Sorry for the personal question, just curious.

Also, what are your thoughts on side effects of long term LDN use? If these are unreasonable questions I certainly understand.

Thanks, Steve

Nopalea said...

What an interesting discussion! I didn't see an answer to Gavin's earlier comment on whether there is a relationship between grey hair and inflammation, but isn't it true that stress has ties to both inflammation and grey hair development? If so, perhaps they are related?

Eirik G said...

Fantastic website!

I'm a 22 year old male who got very sick a couple of years ago. Tired, food intolerances, leaky gut, acne and more.

Understanding the importance of gut flora, diet changes and more has been vital for me in the recovery process.

Keep up the good work and hopefully one day we will be able to change the "conventional" wisdom regarding diet, gut health and more!

Thomas said...

Art-A fascinating documentary made in Canada about links between autism and gut bacteria. The program is called The Nature of things with David Suzuki.

Thanks,
Sandy

http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Shows/1221254309/ID=2175032196

Gabriel said...

Thomas, the video is not available.

Mary said...

@Thomas/Gabrielle et al

Pity about the video, but here's a fascinating autism article out of Canada that I found interesting for similar reasons:

http://www.ediblecommunities.com/toronto/winter-2011/autism-spectrum-disorders.htm

Tomjeffy said...

Wow! What a great informative collection, I really enjoyed. Also i would like to ask other users to see it, if they have a time.Tca peel

nkelmers said...

Dr. Ayers,

Why exactly would an anti-inflammatory agent have a positive effect on someone suffering from post-Finasteride syndrome?

Could it be because Finasteride is highly fat-soluble? I feel like I have heard that chronic, systemic inflammation inhibits the natural recycling of fat on the body (I am not exactly sure where or how I heard this, and I could be wrong).

In a more directed manner:

What are your thoughts on the idea that all-things which are anti-chronic-inflammation, when coupled with weight loss, could have a significantly positive effect on a post-Finasteride syndrome sufferer?

Thanks,

Nate

James Mckey said...

Great tips. Thank you for sharing. Really appreciate all the useful info here.

Armi Legge said...

Great post Art,

Are you interested in doing an interview on our podcast?

http://www.bulletproofexec.com/category/podcasts/

I don't see an email to reach you, but my email is army@bulletproofexec.com. We'd love to have you on!

Thanks for your excellent work,

-Armi

Anonymous said...

Hi Art!

Is raw cabbage something you would recommend? I have trouble finding organic vegetables and cabbage I can get organic and somewhat cheap:)

Thanks

The Hair and Laser Clinic said...

Sometimes along with all these treatments, it is also necessary to take anti-inflammatory prescription drugs. It alleviates inflammation of the scalp which regularly takes place along with hair loss. Folligen is one example, but one particular relief which you may find more experienced with, and is also quite effective, is the medicated Nizoral shampoo.

Antiaging said...

I don't have the enough study on naltrexone. But LDN therapy is used for crohns disease treatment and works across many auto immune diseases. Naltrexone anti aging is an effective treatment for multiple sclerosis.

Anonymous said...

people, take a sleep aid with your LDN! Or lower the dosage. start at 1.5 mg or even lower and slowly work your way up by 0.5 mg at a time. Also, immune modulation can kick up yeast big time, and stress the adrenal glands. I found this out especially with my autistic son who also has PANDAS, and takes LDN. Take a daily natural antifungal like Oil of Oregano (rotate antifungals every few months for optimum effect), get on adrenal support like Ashawagandha or vitamin C, and avoid gluten and casein as much as possible, as these proteins contain opiods (LDN is an opiod antagonist). You will have a little detox period once in awhile, but otherwise you should be fine. I take LDN for hashimotos s thyroiditis, and have two boys with PANDAS on it as well (one with autism also). It is a god-send, but you have to know how to use it, side effects, etc.

Amelia Davis said...

Very Useful Information Regarding Various Treatment relates to Skin, Health, Alergy, Acne and many more. I am really appreciate. All the stuff and information which you have provided is extremely correct. Thanks for the sharing and keep it up. I will awaiting for latest updates.
acne treatment clinic in nagpur | acne clinic in nagpur | lichen planus treatment in nagpur | asthma treatment in nagpur | nasal polyps treatment nagpur | tonsillitis treatment in nagpur | piles treatment in nagpur | sinus treatment in nagpur | White patches treatment | White patches treatment in nagpur | total hair growth treatment nagpur | Warts treatment nagpur | Urticaria treatment nagpur | Psoriasis treatment nagpur | hair loss total clinic | Allergy total clinic | hair loss total clinic | Allergy clinic in nagpur | hair loss clinic in nagpur | skin clinic in nagpur | hair loss center in nagpur | hair loss centers in nagpur | laryngitis treatment in nagpur | pharyngitis treatment in nagpur | Fibroadenoma treatment in nagpur | weight loss centers in nagpur | weight loss clinic in nagpur | total clinic in nagpur | total hair clinic | hair clinic nagpur | total skin clinic .

Alex Cray said...

Alex Cray
Revita Shampoo is amongthe most beneficial growth of hair rousing hair shampoo on the market today.
Contains valuable resources specially created to keep head vitality along with act in hair follicle complications.