Intravenous (IV) nutritional therapy is used to administer vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other nutrients directly into the bloodstream. This is a very effective way of quickly improving nutritional status. Because this method bypasses the need for nutrients having to be absorbed through the gut, nutrients are better able to be delivered directly to the tissues in need. The IV route allows for a higher concentration of nutrients to be delivered to the tissues than does oral supplementation. IV therapy can be looked as using pharmacological doses of nutrients to drive blocked or impaired metabolic reactions.
IV therapy can be of benefit in a variety of conditions:
- Chronic fatigue
- Both acute and chronic infections
- Improve athletic performance
- Immune system support and balance
- Migraine headaches
- Detoxification from toxic metals
- General "toxicity"
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Chronic digestive disorders
- Adverse reactions from toxic chemicals
- Support during chemotherapy for cancer
Advantages of IV Therapy
IV therapy can be more effective than taking supplements orally for correcting intracellular nutrient deficits. The intravenous methods targets nutrients directly to where they are needed. IVs bypass the digestive system which sometimes blocks the absorption of nutrients. If you are lacking sufficient hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes, for example, you may not absorb all the benefits of oral supplements.
IV nutrients are given in therapeutic doses greater than the minimal requirements of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), which are only intended to avoid deficiency states. Because vitamins and minerals are normal cellular constituents, IV administration has an exceedingly high safety profile.
The amount of vitamin C that can be taken orally can be quite limited due to "bowel intolerance," which causes diarrhea. When vitamin C is administered intravenously to combat flu or chronic disease, typically 10,000 – 50,000 mg is injected Therapeutic doses can be administered intravenously at this level and bypass the problem of bowel intolerance.
What Nutrients Are Typically Administered IV?
All IVs are prepared specifically for your particular health needs. Treatments vary in length, but typically take 45-75 minutes. All patients need to have an initial visit with the physician before their first IV. Lab work within the past 3 months may be required prior to your visit with the physician. Most treatments plans entail 1-10 IV therapy sessions. Patients with chronic illnesses often benefit from regular IV treatments. Athletes may find that on-going sessions are of great benefit, especially during their competitive season.
Standard IV products often have preservatives. We use only preservative-free nutrients. If needed we filter these with a 0.2 micron filter, a tiny filter that filters out bacteria, fungi and particulate matter.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and reducing substance, which has several activities in nature. In humans, it is known to affect several components of the immune system, such as improving leukocyte and lymphocyte functions. These cells can act against the invading virus. High doses of vitamin C are anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and greatly promote healing of tissues. Since many of our patients our allergic to corn we only use vitamin C made from cassava, which is about three times more expensive as the IV preparation derived from corn.
B vitamins are routinely included in the IV treatments, including B-complex, B6, B12 and pantothenic acid. These B-complex vitamins and their mineral co-factors are essential in restoring and improving cellular metabolism.
Magnesium, calcium and trace minerals are almost always injected. Frequently glutathione 1000-2000 mg is given in cases of both acute and chronic infections, chemical toxicity and neurodegenerative conditions. There are numerous anecdotal reports of IV glutathione slowing the progression of Parkinson's disease.
A popular IV is the so-called Myers Cocktail, an intravenous vitamin and mineral protocol developed by Dr. John Myers at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. This treatment is given by "IV push" over a 5-15 minutes rather than a one-hour long IV drip.
Building on the work of the late Dr. Myers Alan Gaby, M.D. developed and improved an intravenous vitamin-and-mineral formula for the treatment of a wide range of clinical conditions. The modified "Myers' cocktail," which consists of magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin C, has been found to be effective treatment for a wide variety of clinical conditions. This type of treatment is given by a slow intravenous "push" taking anywhere from 5-15 minutes, which may vary among individual practitioners.
Over an 11-year period, approximately 15,000 injections were administered in Dr. Gaby's outpatient setting to an estimated 800-1,000 different patients. Conditions that frequently responded included asthma attacks, acute migraines, fatigue (including chronic fatigue syndrome), fibromyalgia, acute muscle spasm, upper respiratory tract infections, chronic sinusitis, and seasonal allergic rhinitis. A small number of patients with congestive heart failure, angina, chronic urticaria, hyperthyroidism, dysmenorrhea, or other conditions were also treated with the Myers' protocol and most showed marked improvement. Many relatively healthy patients chose to receive periodic injections because it enhanced their overall wellbeing for periods of a week to several months.
Today, many doctors (probably more than 1,000 in the United States) use the Myers'. Some have made further modifications according to their own preferences. Dr. Buscher has been using his modified Myers cocktail for over 30 years now and getting similar positive clinical outcomes.
Despite the many positive anecdotal reports, there is only a small amount of published research supporting the use of this treatment. There is one uncontrolled trial in which the Myers' was beneficial in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain syndromes, including fibromyalgia. Intravenous magnesium alone has been reported, mainly in open trials, to be effective against angina, acute migraines, cluster headaches, depression, and chronic pain. In recent years, double-blind trials have shown IV magnesium can rapidly abort acute asthma attacks. There are also several published case reports in which IV calcium provided rapid relief from asthma or anaphylactic reactions.