DETROIT – Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) can most appropriately be described as a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disorder with joint pain and swelling as its most prominent symptoms. RA develops when our own immune system starts attacking our joints, and while it can develop at any age, the condition is rampant primarily in people aged between 20 and 80 years.
In today’s post, we will be diving into:
- Warning Signs & Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
- How Inflammation, Aging, & RA Are Linked
- Available Treatment Options for RA (including LDN)
- What Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Have To Say About LDN
RA does not discriminate between males and females. Both genders face a significant risk of developing RA in the later years of their lives. It is suggested that 1 in 20 men, and 1 in 12 women will most likely develop an inflammatory autoimmune rheumatic disease at some point during the course of their life.
The Connection Between Aging, Inflammation & Rheumatoid Arthritis
With age, all the cells in our body get slower and are unable to divide and grow as efficiently as they did before. This is known as Cellular Senescence, considered as one of the 9 Hallmarks of Aging. Our Immune system’s cells are no different. A process called Immunosenescence takes place when our bodies experience three key events:
- A steady decline in T-Cell Levels
- the shrinking of T-cells
- a chronically low level of inflammation.
The development of Rheumatoid Arthritis usually takes place as a result of these three key changes in cellular composition and function.
While the latest research developments have linked Rheumatoid Arthritis to all 9 Hallmarks of Aging, there is a more prominent link associated with chronic inflammation.
We will be exploring this aspect further in our upcoming posts.
Treatment Options for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Reports from 23andme/CureTogether suggest that LDN is proving to be among the most effective and potent treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis.
A 3-year study on over 1,000 RA patients, and how their experience was with different treatment types, was published by a website called CureTogether.
As reflected on the chart above, Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) was ranked as the most effective, however, not very widely known (the higher the treatment shows up on the graph the more effective it was ranked).
As echoed by longevity experts worldwide, LDN is a generic drug, and this has been reinforced by longevity specialists across the globe. Therefore, there aren’t any pharmaceutical companies that can profit off of its sales, which explains why they aren’t inclined towards educating the general public and healthcare professionals on the astonishing benefits of LDN.
Inflammation, LDN & Rheumatoid Arthritis
As discussed above, chronic inflammation is the bane of Rheumatoid Arthritis’s existence. —which keeps increasing with age as our cells lose their ability to repair and regenerate themselves. Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) has exhibited great potential in reducing chronic inflammation, which can help address the root cause of the illness.
Cytokines belong to a broad group of signaling proteins that help dictate and optimize the functioning of individual cells. Because this is linked so closely to the immune system, our immune cells secrete inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α and some other interleukins such as IL-1 and IL-6. These cytokines play a crucial role in stimulating immune responses, like inflammation. Elevated cytokine levels often serve as an indicator of an inflammatory condition. Usually, in the case of Rheumatoid Arthritis, these increased cytokine levels can suggest the presence of this disease.
Rheumatoid Arthritis has a very close-knit relationship with chronic inflammation. Due to this, Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) inhibitors are often considered as a treatment option. Prescription medications such as adalimumab (Humira), etanercept (Enbrel), and infliximab (Remicade) all play TNF Inhibitor roles and are frequently used in Rheumatoid Arthritis treatments.
These inhibitors do a very good job of halting and reducing inflammation but come with their own set of risky and undesirable side effects. Some alternative treatment options for addressing Rheumatoid Arthritis include the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Aspirin, Naproxen, and Ibuprofen. However, these drugs can be risky and dangerous for some patients who suffer from other serious health conditions and can even increase the risk of heart and kidney disease, as well as stomach ulcers and bleeding.
Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) can effectively reduce chronic pain, has been shown to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines (including TNF-a, IL-1, and IL-6), and is available as a prescription drug. This makes it a less risky and viable treatment option for those suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis. LDN has lesser side effects as compared to other treatments like NSAIDS and does not pose any long-term health risks. In fact, consistent use of LDN as a treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis can even provide side-benefits.
Ground-breaking Norwegian LDN Study
In an astonishing study, Norwegian researchers observed Rheumatoid Arthritis patients who were prescribed LDN and discovered those with consistent and long-term LDN usage had a 15% reduced dependence on non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (so-called DMARDs). DMARDs (Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) comprise a diverse group consisting of methotrexate, antimalarial and biological immunomodulating drugs, such as TNF-alpha antagonists.
A prominent expert overseeing this study, Dr. Raknes, suggested that regular and consistent consumption of LDN significantly reduced the need to use other painkillers and disease modifying drugs among Rheumatoid Arthritis patients.
This guest column was Hannah Madison.