LDN, Depression & Anxiety
Updated: Jul 14
In this article, learn about:
Symptoms of depression and anxiety
Depression/anxiety and aging
Clinical evidence for LDN's effectiveness for Depression/Anxiety
What expert doctors are saying about LDN
What real people with depression/anxiety are saying about LDN
Symptoms of depression and anxiety can occur at any age, but are more prevalent in older patients. For some patients, it can get to a point where it makes them no longer want to continue living—which is a great tragedy and, quite possibly, even avoidable given the right treatment plan.
Depression and Anxiety
Simply defined, depression and anxiety are mental health disorders characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.
Possible causes of depression and/or anxiety include a combination of biological, psychological, and social sources of distress. Increasingly, research suggests these factors may cause changes in brain function, including altered activity of certain neural circuits in the brain.
The persistent feeling of sadness, or loss of interest that characterizes major depression, can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem.
Unfortunately, not all patients respond to conventional treatments. According to the study Antidepressants versus placebo for depression in primary care, only about half of people who take antidepressants notice improvement in their symptoms within six to eight weeks.
There may be another option—LDN.
Depression and Anxiety: Age-Related Diseases?
At AgelessRx, we consider depression and anxiety to be age-related to a large degree. Why? Because symptoms of depression and anxiety are often triggered by other illnesses (such as cancer, arthritis, heart diseases), and, as we know, instances of other illnesses go up with age; therefore, so do the odds of depression and anxiety.
Recent evidence suggests underlying causes such as chronic low-level inflammation, dysregulation of the stress response, and imbalances in the gut microbiome could be important contributors to depression and anxiety conditions. What do they have in common? All of the above-mentioned ills are age-related.
Furthermore, according to Life Extension, “depression is correlated with a number of inflammatory diseases.” In fact, depression and anxiety are thought to be caused by brain inflammation and a breakdown of neurotransmitter regulation, similar to the way other diseases of aging also cause inflammation and signal and hormone dysregulation.
LDN is known to help reduce chronic inflammation, as well as upregulate endorphin production. As such, we believe LDN can make for an effective therapy to treat depression and/or anxiety—and we're not alone.
Clinical Evidence Behind LDN Efficacy for Depression/Anxiety
There are numerous anecdotal case studies and reports from patients and medical providers on the benefits of LDN when it comes to improving symptoms of mood disorders. Currently, the only published clinical study using LDN as a mental health treatment is one of a study of 15 cases by W. Pape’ and W. Wöller.
In this study, researchers concluded that LDN proved to be an effective treatment option. Specifically, 11 out of 15 patients reported immediate positive effects and 7 described lasting helpful effects. Furthermore, the researchers stated: "...patients who felt positive effects reported a clearer perception of both their surroundings and their inner life. Assessment of reality and dealing with it improved as did the perception of their own body and affects as well as self-regulation."
In addition to the above published study, a 2020 published case study from the UK highlighted that LDN use resulted in one case in “further improvements in energy, mood and pain”, and in another case “average mood improved from 13 (11–21 signifies depression) to 7 (0–7 signifies no abnormality).”
Unfortunately, there are not yet any large-scale, random controlled clinical trials of LDN for mental health issues. We have a strong feeling that will change as researchers continue to uncover LDN’s many benefits. Until then, however, we know LDN is generic and off-patent; no pharmaceutical company stands to make a profit from it, making it unlikely a pharmaceutical company will have the interest in funding the research that could shed more light on the clinical usefulness of LDN. Companies like AgelessRx will be key in advocating for such trails and promoting the benefits of LDN to the public.
How LDN Works to Combat Depression/Anxiety & Aging
LDN works to combat aging, and, as a result, helps with depression and anxiety in several ways:
There is a strong association between inflammation and many physical and mental health problems (4, 5). Depression and Anxiety symptoms are related to an inflammatory process; LDN directly reduces excess systemic inflammation by modulating the immune system and reducing multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines (6). You can read more about LDN and Inflammation here.
Depression and Anxiety are often a result of chronic disease and chronic pain. LDN can help alleviate chronic pain and, thus, indirectly help with associated depression and anxiety.
Endorphin upregulation has a mood boosting effect, as well as causes an increase in energy and modulates the immune system. LDN acts on endorphin receptors to upregulate production of endorphins. In fact, LDN stimulates the body’s own production of endorphins, even after the LDN is no longer in the system.
In a 2008 study, researchers found elevations in endorphins even 1 month after discontinuation of LDN doses of less than 5.0 mg. While some patients report benefits as soon as a few days after starting LDN, it may take some patients up to 3 months for endorphin levels to start increasing (7).
What Expert Doctors Are Saying About LDN for Mental Health
Dr. Judy Tsafrir, MD, a board certified, conventionally trained adult and child psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, as well as a Harvard Medical School faculty member, and owner of a private practice of holistic adult and child psychiatry located in Newton, Massachusetts had this to say:
“Patients consult me because they are suffering from symptoms related to brain health. Because LDN is safe, inexpensive and sometimes a game changer in my experience it's worth trying it in almost every case.”
Galyn Forster, MS, a Licensed Professional Counselor practicing in Eugene, Oregon, began working with patients prescribed low dose naltrexone (LDN) as an adjunct to psychotherapy in 2010. Here is what he had to say about LDN:
“Multiple forms of dissociation are reduced and emotional and cognitive functioning improve. LDN lacks the side effects and health risks associated with conventional first line pharmaceutical treatments. If LDN works even half as well for half as many patients as I am suggesting, would it not be worth the minimal risk and cost of an LDN trial before utilizing riskier, more expensive, and often marginally effective first line pharmaceutical MH interventions?”
What People with Depression Who Tried LDN Are Saying
Check out this interview from a patient detailing their reason for seeking LDN for Depression/Anxiety, and how it has helped them:
There are a plethora of additional testimonial videos and presentations by various doctors attesting to their experience with LDN for Depression/Anxiety on the LDN Research Trust YouTube Channel.
Conclusion Depression and anxiety can make the idea of living longer not very attractive. It stresses the need for improving health-span rather than simply living longer. LDN is generally a very safe, effective, and inexpensive drug that could go a long way in improving quality of life.
To learn more about LDN, or request a prescription, click here.
Suicide rates: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db362-h.pdf
Treating Mental Health Issues using LDN as an Adjunctive Treatment to Psychotherapy and as a Stand-alone Therapy: A Brief Introduction (Galyn Forster, M.S. L.P.C. Eugene Oregon, USA, May 30, 2016)
Lanius, U. F., Paulsen, S. L., & Corrigan, F. M. (2014). Neurobiology and Treatment of Traumatic Dissociation: Towards an Embodied Self. Springer Publishing Company.
Sperner-Unterweger, B., Kohl, C., & Fuchs, D. (2014). Immune changes and neurotransmitters: possible interactions in depression?. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 48, 268-276.
Cohen, S., Janicki-Deverts, D., Doyle, W. J., Miller, G. E., Frank, E., Rabin, B. S., & Turner, R. B. (2012). Chronic stress, glucocorticoid receptor resistance, inflammation, and disease risk. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(16), 5995-5999.
Younger J, Parkitny L, McLain D. The use of low-dose naltrexone (LDN) as a novel anti-inflammatory treatment for chronic pain. Clin Rheumatol. 2014;33(4):451-459.
Gironi M, Martinelli-Boneschi F, Sacerdote P, et al. A pilot trial of low-dose naltrexone in primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler. 2008;14(8):1076-1083.