Eat Up! IV Nutritional Therapy for the Masses
If you’ve been paying attention to the latest trends in healthcare and restorative medicine you’ve likely encountered the growing topic of intravenous vitamin therapy. Recently popularized by celebrities such as Adele, Chrissy Teigen and numerous professional athletes, IV vitamin and nutrient drips are being used with increasing popularity to both proactively maintain optimal wellness as well as to treat chronic and acute illness. In hospitals, over 80 percent of patients admitted will be given an IV as a way to more effectively and efficiently address their chief complaint. We unquestioningly accept this rationale for life saving interventions such as severe dehydration, invasive infection or acute trauma, yet the concept of using IV’s to support or restore health is still a little understood concept for most people.
The most common questions I get around this topic is, “Why should I get vitamins and nutrients through an IV?” and “Why can’t I just get what I need from eating healthy and taking my supplements?” My answer is that, just like antibiotics and pain medications from the hospital, administering vitamins, nutrients and minerals directly into the bloodstream provides a quicker and more efficient way to address a breakdown in health. Even if we assume that a person eats high quality, organic food, takes the time to chew slowly, has a healthy GI tract and manages to minimize stress, it is still only possible to absorb about 20-30 percent of the vitamins we ingest. In real life, however, things like work, relationships, financial stressors, poor sleep, environmental toxicity, inflammation, processed foods and being constantly rushed all deplete our body’s reserves while compromising our ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. Ailments such as fatigue, headaches, GI problems, insomnia, frequent or persistent infections, mood instability, chronic pain and arguably any other symptom cluster is ultimately due in part to some nutritional deficiency.
The advantage of intravenous therapy is that higher and more concentrated doses of nutrients can be introduced into the body than would be possible orally, allowing cells to gain rapid access to the very nutrients they require for healing. Necessary cofactors are provided to restore energy production from mitochondria, provide balance to brain chemistry, detoxify the body, reduce inflammation and improve immune function and response. Nutrients such as Vitamin C can be raised 50 – 100 times higher than what is possible orally without causing diarrhea; allowing for effective treatment of bacterial and viral infections in higher doses as well as supporting safe, adjunctive treatment of cancer, allergic and immune disorders. Similarly, while oral supplementation with magnesium produces little to no change in serum magnesium concentrations, IV administration can double or triple both serum and intracellular levels; thereby, supporting heart and other cardiovascular conditions.
Everyone can ultimately benefit from periodic IV nutritional therapy for wellness, weight loss, athletic performance, hangover relief and beauty. Other conditions will see the most benefit from either a series of treatments or regular treatment. These include chronic infections, addiction recovery, burn-out, cancer, heavy metals, immune dysfunction, mold illness, headaches, wound healing, surgery preparation, coronary artery disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and others. Examples of nutrients commonly used in IV therapy include vitamin C, EDTA, DMPS, phosphatidlycholine, folate, ozone, vitamin B12, B complex, magnesium, calcium, zinc, trace minerals, iron, vitamin D, NAD, carnitine, amino acids, inositol, taurine, selenium, molybdenum, germanium, alpha lipoic acid, and glutathione.
With the most significant advances coming over the last 10 to 20 years, clinicians trained in functional medicine now have the ability to target specific cells, tissues, organ systems or conditions with nutritional or restorative components that can allow a person to progressively regain their health. Cutting edge therapies like stem cells and exosomes are paving the way for even better and more sustainable results. That being said, I would absolutely encourage anyone who is just feeling run down, frazzled or achy to try a Myers’ “Wellness” Cocktail which has been shown to provide a feeling of rejuvenation and symptom relief with as little as a single treatment!