Naltrexone itself was approved by the FDA in 1984 in a 50mg dose for the purpose of helping heroin or opium addicts, by blocking the effect of such drugs. By blocking opioid receptors, naltrexone also blocks the reception of the opioid hormones that our brain and adrenal glands produce: beta-endorphin and metenkephalin. Many body tissues have receptors for these endorphins and enkephalins, including virtually every cell of the body's immune system.
It is one medication that according to Dr. William Shaw Ph.D should be added to the anti-yeast and free of casein and gluten diet and Nystatin protocol for children with autism. Naltrexone blocks opioids in the brain. The opioids from milk and wheat may slow the brain down.
At low doses, naltrexone may help clear the brain of opioids which have already gotten into the brain. In the past studies of this protocol have been done using doses that were to high and therefore showed that sometimes naltrexone has the opposite effect of what is intended. The doses used were 25 to 50 milligrams per day, which can cause pain. These studies failed to include the combination of the elimination of dairy and wheat products.
In autistic children where immune deficiencies are present, naltrexone can boost the immune system and given in low doses.
Reicheit KI et al. Gluten, milk proteins and autism: Results of dietary intervention on behavior and urinary peptide secretion. J. Applied Nutrition 42: 1-11, 1990.
Bovard, et al. Low-dose naltrexone effects on plasma chemistries and clinical symptoms in autism: a double-blind-placebo controlled study Psychiatry
Research 58: 191-20, 1995
Roy S, Loh HH. Effects of opioids on the immune system. Neurochem Res 1996;21:1375-1386