Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) as a cancer treatment

Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) as a cancer treatment

Naltrexone: Low Dose Naltrexone, LDN, or ReVia has shown great promise with cancer as an immune activating and boosting compound and in pain relief, (being used with alpha lipoic acid and vitamin D); it can be started at 0.5 mg, rising to 4.5 mg, taken every night before bed, whilst adding alpha lipoic acid and pulsing CBD oil or Hemp oil, 3 days on, 3 off. LDN has also been shown in research to block certain cancer growth factors.

Its methodology is multifaceted and LDN is known to stimulate endorphin production enhancing immune faction, and block 'Opioid Growth Factor' restricting cancer cell growth while binding to TL4R protein and giving pain relief. This combination can have a significant healing effect. As with many of these off-patent old drugs now being repurposed for cancer use, it is cheap! 

A Summary on LDN - pain relief, immune stimulation and cancer treatment

LDN has a growing number of fans across the Internet for the treatment of cancer. 


   * it works as an anti-inflammatory.

   * It stimulates endorphin production and can enhance the immune response greatly.

   * It blocks Opioid Growth factor, present in about 90% of all cancers. This restricts cancers growing and forming new blood vessels.

   * It stimulates encephalin; and cancer cells have encephalin receptor sites. Encephalin restricts cancer growth.

   * It has been found to modify certain genes and promote cancer cell death.

   * It binds to a protein, TL4R, and provides pain relief.

Claims abound that it can block cancer in people dubbed ‘terminal’, whose cancers have failed to respond to conventional treatment.

Since the first immunotherapy findings were made back in 1985, Dr. Ian Zagon and his team at Pennsylvania State Medical School have published over 300 papers. They have shown that LDN can up-rate the production of endorphins and increase the immune response in the body, particularly the production of Natural Killer cells. Endorphins have also shown a regulatory effect on the growth of cancer cells. 

A single dose of LDN restricted ovarian cancer cell growth by 25% and tumours in mice reduced in size by 45%.

LDN has also been shown to act directly by blocking Toll-like receptors (TLRs). These produce inflammatory compounds that also stimulate cancer cells and metastases. LDN can also block cancer cell division and thus tumour growth.

It is also claimed to have benefit with diseases from Rheumatoid Arthritis to Parkinson’s and IBS to MS.

LDN is cheap at around £25 per month.

LDN is also available as the brands ReVia and LOWTREX.

Endorphins, opioids and the immune system

It would also be useful, upfront, to explain endorphins and opioids briefly. 

Endorphins (endogenous - you produce it yourself - morphine), are often called ’happy hormones’ typically produced after exercise and, particularly, yoga. They provide pain relief and a slight feeling of euphoria. They also have strong immuno-modulating properties and are thus valuable in the field of immunotherapy. Endorphins are opioid neuropeptides produced by the nervous system and the pituitary gland. Opioids (substances with properties similar to opium) have morphine-like properties. You can stimulate opioid production through meditation. Receptors for opiates have been found in many different types of immune cells.

Naltrexone is an proven opiate antagonist - it blocks certain neurotransmitters and hormones in the body. It was licensed as a treatment for drug and alcohol addiction in 1985. It is primarily used for mental problems and given at doses between 20mg and 300mg.

According to the LDN Research Trust in the UK (ldnresearchtrust.org) Naltrexone is used primarily to block opiate receptors and thus to treat addictions. However, in low dose it is an immuno-modulator and was originally used with MS. This has been extended to diseases such as Parkinson’s and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and M.E. When LDN binds to opiate receptors, it causes more endorphins to be produced, increases the sensitivity of existing opiate and endorphin receptors and causes more opiate receptors to be produced in order to capture the extra endorphins. 

The LDN Research Trust talk of LDN dampening down inflammation by blocking Toll-Like Receptors and at the same time increasing immune NK and T cells. This, they say, from phase I and Phase II clinical trials, has been shown to prompt tissue healing, while directly inhibiting tumour growth. 

American review concludes LDN shows great potential against cancer

“The State of the Science of Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) plus Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) for the Treatment of Cancer” was the subject of a meeting hosted by the National Cancer Institute in America in 2012. You can read more about the research presented HERE.

At the time, there were two NIH-supported clinical trials of naltrexone in cancer patients: One at the University of Minnesota for patients with breast cancer (1) (now terminated) and the other at Duke University with glioma patients (2) which showed that LDN improved sleep.

The meeting also heard from Dr. Burton Berkson, an Adjunct Professor at New Mexico State University on his research with patients and Dr. Renee N. Donahue, Research Fellow in the Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology at the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research, about her pre-clinical research on the efficacy and proposed mechanism of action of LDN for the treatment of cancer

Dr. Berkson, (Burt Berkson), originally used ALA to treat people with liver damage resulting from Hepatitis C. He presented 7 case studies of his own where he had used both Intravenous and oral ALA plus oral LDN along with an alkaline diet, supplements and lifestyle programs plus a number of studies from Europe.

Dr. Donahue was part of a team at Pennsylvania State College of Medicine, where she worked with Doctors Ian Zagon and Patricia McLaughlin. Their main focus was the role of a peptide called Opioid Growth Factor which is known to stimulate growth in cancer and auto-immune disease. LDN blocked this and DNA synthesis. Her work was done in vitro and with mice, where the tumours treated with LDN also had less blood vessels. LDN causes an endorphin/encephalin blockade, which is released as a flood in the morning after sleep. Cancer cells have encephalin receptors which block growth. 

LDN - stabilising and fighting cancers

Dr. Bernard Bihari used LDN with cancer patients as long ago as 1999. Although he claimed that he had treated over 450 patients, all of whom had completed the available orthodox treatment and were then deemed ‘terminal’, he had seen a positive and long-term benefit in about two thirds of cases. Unfortunately, his paper work and record keeping did not pass rigorous scientific scrutiny as is used by Pharmaceutical companies.

In a 2013 presentation Dr Batter and Dr. Burton Berkson said that “Low dose Naltrexone and ALA was not a cure for cancer, but some people did very well on it for a considerable period of time. Some tumours stop progressing, while others go dormant and stop appearing on PET scans years after a terminal diagnosis by conventional oncologists”.

LDN and cancer cell death

In the UK at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, a team under Professor Angus Dalgleish has been both researching LDN and using it in real-life situations with various cancer patients. They have seen it stimulate the immune system, provide increased survival times and even become a cancer cure. Dr. Wai M. Liu, one of the team there, describes it as a ’fantastic immune system stimulator’. This allows LDN to be used along-side conventional cancer-cell killing agents.

In 2016 research(1), Liu and Dalgleish have found that LDN can alter certain genes and even change how a cancer cell behaves. LDN can reactivate genes that promote cancer cell killing and others that modify the immune system making it more aggressive to cancer cells.

Apparently, Low Dose Naltexone dose this, but high dose (normal level) doesn’t. Liu added, "Rather than stopping cancer cells from growing, patients want to be rid of them. We saw that by giving LDN for two days then withdrawing it for two, cancer cells would stop cycling and undergo cancer cell death".

Dr. Dalgleish talks of first using LDN with a melanoma patient and seeing her skin break out into white blotches within just 4 days. This was evidence that natural killer cells were attacking melanin a component in melanoma, something orthodox medicine had never achieved.

He has seen LDN work to stabilise liver cancers, prostate, breast and even glioma patients, in some cases in the long-term and even rendering some patients ’disease-free - that’s a cancer cure to you and me.

Dalgleish conducted research in 2021 showing the half life of LDN was only 5 hours, so it needs to be taken daily, not pulsed as previously thought. The CBD performs better if it is pulsed 3 days on, 3 off, with the LDN. Large uplifts in immune response were seen.

Similar results have been obtained by Dr. Akbar Khan of the Medicor Center in Toronto, who believes vitamin D is important in obtaining results.

American Dr. Paul Anderson of AMSA Seattle has similar views that LDN is an important anti-cancer weapon. 

Both use it in treating cancer patients because it has proven to be one of the ’most impressive factors’ in stabilising cancers in recent years. Both talk of it being an integrative treatment, a ’top treatment’ and stabilising cancers frequently.

LDN can be used with chemotherapy

Work has taken place with pancreatic, ovarian and other cancers. And with chemotherapy drugs such as Taxol and Cisplatin. It is believed that no conflict occurs with such drugs and there may even be some enhancement of activity.

Go to: Using repurposed old, safe drugs to fight cancer

The non-cancer benefits of LDN

The opioid benefits of LDN - used with or without Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) - have been shown to have varying, but positive, effects with diseases such as MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, IBS, Crohn’s and Parkinson’s. It seems to work poorly if vitamin D levels are low.

LDN also binds to an inflammatory protein TLR4 blocking inflammation and pain.This makes it useful in chronic Lyme Disease.

Go to: LDN and Lyme Disease

Dosage and usage of LDN with cancer and cannabis

A small dose - just 4.5 mg of Naltrexone - is recommended at bedtime. You start at 0.5 though and gradulally increase. Although St George’s Hospital, Tooting  now suggest that the best results seem to come where it is taken continuously, the LDN Research Trust in the UK recommends 3 days on, 3 days off.

A frequently asked question is ’Can I take LDN with Cannabis or CBD oil?’ According to the LDN Research Trust, ’Combining a cannabinoid (CBD) or Sativex (CBD/THC) on the 3 days off seems to enhance the anti-tumour effect.’

Chemo can follow several of these rounds of treatment and there are no know conflicts, according to the Trust. They do say that LDN should not be taken during treatment with Keytruda, Opdivo or PD-1 immunotherapy drugs.

LDN is available as capsules, a liquid or as oral drops for use under the tongue. It costs about £25 - £30 a month.

In the UK, you can contact Dickson, a chemist in Glasgow, [email protected] who can supply you with the product. You will need a prescription and they can direct you to a Doctor. Mention Chris Woollams as where you read this - it seems to help!

LDN is an unlicensed medicine for use with cancer. In the UK, the least expensive brand is called LOWTREX.



1. https://www.sgul.ac.uk/research/research-news/addiction-drug-cancer

Dr. Burt Berkson now practices with his son, Dr. Arthur Berkson at the New Mexico Integrative Medical Centre.

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