Low Dose Immunotherapy (LDI):
LDI is a form of immune desensitization that works by restoring TOLERANCE for various things. Tolerance is actively learned by the immune system. In LDI, this effect is accomplished by combining an enzyme called “beta glucuronidase” with antigens that are relevant to a patients particular medical issues. It was pioneered by Alaskan MD, Ty Vincent. It is based on the foundational work of EPD (Enzyme Potentiated Desensitization), which goes back to the 1960's and was developed by Dr. Leonard M. McEwen, M.D. EPD is an immunotherapy that supported many different types of allergies and in America it evolved into LDA (Low Dose Allergen) immunotherapy with the work of W.A. Shrader, Jr., MD in New Mexico.
The Antigens or Antigen Mixtures used in this therapy (majority prepared from clinical experience by Dr. Ty Vincent, MD) are mixed together with sterile water, and then combined with the beta-glucuronidase enzyme just prior to administration (the majority of the time). When they are given to the patient, they are in highly diluted concentrations, and different concentrations are given depending on the sensitivity of the patient. To give you a sense of how dilute they are, a typical strong dilution of 6C would be a 1,000,000,000,000 dilution of the antigen itself. That being said, some patients have to start at a weaker dilution of 25C, which means the original antigen mixture was diluted 10^50 times.
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The possible theory in using LDI for autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue or pain conditions, and many other inflammatory disorders, is that these conditions and their symptoms are initially triggered by something that is not “you”; but it results in your own immune system causing tissue inflammation and potential damage in some way. If we can find the right trigger and restore TOLERANCE, we may help slow down the disease process. Only one of the antigens used needs to work (even of thousands) to have a positive response.
Disease conditions that can be supported with LDI based on Dr. Ty Vincent MD experience’s (and other doctors using this therapy) include: Allergies of all types, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, endometriosis, sarcoidosis, autism, myositis, autoimmune hepatitis, some forms of psoriasis, and others.
Procedure: Involves sublingual delivery of small amounts of fluid containing relevant antigens and a proportional amount of the enzyme needed [but not necessary].
Antigens: Can include dead bacteria, fungi, foods, chemicals, plants, samples of tissue or bodily substances from you yourself, or various other things.
Doses: Are so small they have not resulted in life-threatening reactions. The antigens are diluted often a trillion to one or further. They are sterilized.
Frequency: Depends upon response.
Long Term: Doses are spaced further as benefits last longer. Some can even stop.
IMPORTANT: The starting dose/dilution is literally a “guess”, because it can be different for everyone, even using the same antigens for the same disease / symptoms.
Initial Dose Titration: We can most safely and efficiently find the proper effective dose by starting at a very weak dosage and waiting 7-10 days to assess response, then giving the next stronger dose if nothing happens. This way we can greatly minimize the chance of flaring from too strong a dose; and we can find the target dilution sooner than later in most cases.
YOUR JOB is to tell your ND how you’ve responded ONE WEEK (7-10 days) after the dose.
If your symptoms flared, the next dose must be diluted even further. HOW BADLY you flared, and HOW LONG you flared are critically important to determining your next dose.
A flare is still GOOD NEWS – because it means the therapy will possibly be supportive for you, just at a weaker dilution. It can take several doses (six-plus months) to find the supportive dose. However, this means that we have to wait at least 7 weeks before we give the next weaker dose (if we try to give another dose earlier it can cause another flare). We wait 7 weeks because it takes around that much time in simple terms to reset the immune system’s response to the antigen mixture (new line of Regulator T cells are produced around every 7 weeks).
If you GET BETTER, report how much better and for how long. We can give another dose whenever symptoms return, at a variable fraction of the effective treatment dose depending upon how long the benefits lasted (called “Booster Dosing”).
IF NOTHING HAPPENS you will need a stronger dilution next time. If the strongest dilutions for a given mixture still don’t support / relieve symptoms; then we try a different antigen or mixture of antigens.
LDI can be a wonderful and supportive part of your individualized treatment plan, however, what it needs from both the ND and the patient is patience and good communication in order to find the remedy (more importantly, the dosage) that might work best for the patient to help support / ameliorate some or the majority of their complaints/symptoms.