Can LDN help with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)?

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Leonard Weinstock, MD
Dr Leonard Weinstock
Specialists in Gastroenterology

Can LDN help with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)?

This is Dr Weinstock, the question was; “Can LDN help Mast Cell Activation Syndrome” (MCAS)?

I treat many patients with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, or MCAS, and a group of us study MCAS online with 160 physicians and the overwhelming number of us find that there is benefit for these patients because  it’s commonly overlapping syndromes which are basically part and parcel of MCAS that often respond; such as Fibromyalgia like Syndrome symptoms,  or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome like symptoms, or even Irritable Bowel Syndrome. So I actually looked at my ability to treat Mast Cell Activation Syndrome in 116 patients and 60% said that they had actually felt improvements in a variety of parts of their body and 20% had no impact and another 20% had to stop the medication because they were having side effects from it. Mast Cell Activation Syndrome patients often have symptoms related to intolerance to medications, so that’s not a big surprise.

So were did people find improvements?  Well in the 70 patients of the 116 patients who found improvement there was a wide array of things; so when you think about the head down to the feet – depression, brain fog, anxiety, nausea, insomnia were improved. In 4, 3, 2, 2 patients respectively fatigue was improved in 11 patients, headache 4 patients, dizziness 1 and Autism 1 patient.

Abdominal pain was improved in 15 of the 70 patients, hives were improved in 2, rash improved in 2 and itch improved in 2. Just reducing Mast Cell Activation flares were improved in 4 patients. Allergies in 1, difficulty breathing in 1. Gastrointestinal symptoms also improved in the area of diarrhoea in 6, constipation in 5, bloating in 4 and stabilising the weight in 2.  Restless Leg Syndrome improved in 5 of the 70 patients and joint pain improved in 11, patients muscle pain improved in 9, nerve pain improved in 2 and then finally when we get down to the feet; oedema improved in 1 and an inflammatory condition called erythromelalgia improved in 1. And that actually is reported in a recent publication.

So can LDN work for MCAS? Absolutely. And how does it work? Well, it’s thought that T-cell microparticles activate mast cells and we do know that LDN will reduce excessive T-cell dysfunction.  There may be opioid nerve receptors on the mast cell, although that’s not clear. So you you can see that there’s another way for LDN to help MCAS.