Health and Wellness Blog

Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) as an Adjunct Treatment for Autoimmunity


Over the last year or so, Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) has received a lot of press. From an NPR story asserting in tiny doses, LDN — traditionally thought of as an addiction medication — is now moonlighting as a treatment for chronic pain, to an article appearing on suggesting LDN may be an affordable medicine for many chronic health conditions, there’s no shortage of thoughts about the potential LDN holds for those suffering from chronic illness and pain.

Low-Dose Naltrexone

So what is Naltrexone and what do we here at BioDesign Wellness, a Tampa Functional Medicine practice, think about the possibility of this medication playing a role in your battle to overcome chronic illness? Well for starters, naltrexone, which was synthesized and patented in 1961, is an opioid antagonist that was first used about 10 years later primarily to prevent relapse into opioid abuse. But we mentioned above, naltrexone has generated interest lately in the treatment of other diseases, including disorders related to immune system dysfunction, such as the following:

  • Autism
  • Celiac disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Lupus
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Scleroderma
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis

In this post, we explain how naltrexone may help to prevent relapse into opioid abuse and how it may be helpful, at significantly lower doses, to restore healthy immune function, at least temporarily while the underlying causes of immune system dysfunction are identified and treated.

Historically Speaking — Naltrexone in the Treatment of Opioid Abuse

Classified as an opioid antagonist, naltrexone blocks opioid receptors on cells in the brain, spinal cord, and other parts of the body. If you’re unfamiliar, opioids are a class of drugs including heroin (which is illegal); synthetic opioids such as fentanyl; and prescription pain relievers, including oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine, and others. These drugs bind to and activate opioid receptors throughout the body to alleviate pain, slow breathing, and calm the mind and body, but as you probably already know, they are highly addictive.

Imagine opioid receptors as parking spaces in a parking lot. Naltrexone takes up all the parking spaces, so the opioid molecules have no place to park. While on naltrexone, someone taking an opioid won’t feel the continue reading

Testing for Micronutrient Deficiencies


Nutrients are often divided into two groups. There are macronutrients, which the body needs in large quantities, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. On food labels, these macronutrients are measured in grams (g). And then there are micronutrients — vitamins and minerals that the body needs in much smaller quantities, for normal growth, development, and function. Quantities of micronutrients are given in milligrams (mg).

While macronutrients get the most press — in the context of diets to lose weight, reduce fat, increase muscle mass, and increase energy — it is often micronutrients that steal the headlines in news stories related to illness and preventing infection.

Take, for example, the recent worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. Many articles, as well as published reports, highlight the potential benefits of vitamins C and D and the mineral zinc in boosting the body’s immune system to fight this deadly virus and other disease-causing microbes.

However, micronutrients are also important for supporting the health and function of not only the immune system but other systems in the body, including the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, endocrine, nervous, muscular, skeletal, and reproductive systems.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the major micronutrient issues affecting populations in developed and developing countries are shown in the following table: continue reading

Restoring Health Through the Use of Therapeutic Peptides


For thousands of years, people have been searching for the mythical fountain of youth — a spring that purportedly adds years or even decades to the lives of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters. Spanish conquistador Ponce de León has long been the poster child for allegedly stumbling across this mystical water feature in the 16th century. But even as early as the fourth century B.C., Alexander the Great is claimed to have found a healing “river of paradise.”

In many ways, we are still on a quest to discover the fountain of youth, though now the search has turned to science — medications, supplements, or therapies that hold some promise of turning back the hands of time and restoring our health and vigor. Today, more and more evidence points to peptides as the anti-aging solution we have long been seeking.

(Copyright: Dan Cojocari ✉·✍· / CC BY-SA via

Peptides are short chains of amino acids (between two and 50) that signal the release of other substances the body needs for healthy function. You may already know that amino acids are also the building blocks of proteins, but proteins contain far more amino acids and a more complex structure than peptides.

Your body contains a variety of peptides that work on different areas of the body, typically acting as highly specific messengers in many crucial functions, including the release of human growth hormone (HGH). By using different peptides, potentially we can restore healthy cell function and communication to treat a variety of illnesses and maybe even make you look and feel younger.

But restoring health is a more complicated process than simply supplementing with the right peptides in the right amounts. Here at BioDesign Wellness Center, a Tampa functional medicine practice, we follow a three-step approach tailored to each patient: continue reading

Detoxing with Cholestyramine and Natural Binders


Have you ever paused to consider the contaminants that you’re exposed to each and every day? The simple fact is, we live in an increasingly toxic world. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, we’re exposed to high levels of environmental toxins.

These come in the form of biotoxins (such as mold toxins); toxins from bacterial, fungal, and viral infections; toxic chemicals such as pesticides; heavy metals; air pollution (smog); and dust and other irritants. Harmful chemicals can also be found in food, beverages, clothing, cleaning products, home construction materials and furnishings, and electronics and electronic emissions.

When the toxins in our bodies exceed the body’s innate ability to detox, we are at an increased risk of developing one or more of the following environmentally acquired illnesses (EAIs):

  • Allergies
  • Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases
  • Asthma
  • Autistic spectrum disorders
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cancer
  • Chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Depression, anxiety, and other neuropsychiatric disorders
  • Dysbiosis/leaky gut syndrome
  • Gluten, casein, and other food sensitivities
  • Infections
  • Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS)
  • Multiple chemical sensitivities
  • Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)
  • Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)

The first two steps to treating any environmentally acquired illnesses are: continue reading

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