Faster, Quicker, Stronger: Intravenous Nutrient Therapy for Optimal Health
As a Naturopathic Doctor, I am privileged with education and experience using a multitude of treatment options for my patients, including various natural medicines as well as conventional medicines. However, the exact therapy or “tool” used to treat patients is not as important as what the goal of treatment is…. To treat the underlying cause of disease. In the many treatment modalities I utilize, one particular therapy I find exceptionally helpful in treating both chronic and acute conditions is called Intravenous Nutrient Therapy, or IVNT. There are times when various factors inhibit the body’s usual ability to heal itself, such as exceptional stress, nutritional deficiencies, certain medical conditions, where the immune system is unable to function at its best level. In certain situations, IVNT provides the missing link in achieving optimal health benefits from natural medicine. Before continuing to explain why IVNT is so beneficial, first we need to discuss why oral supplementation and healthy diet alone may not achieve the desired result.
Nutrient Depletion Despite Super-Supplementation
In essence, a problem of Absorption…
In order to have a therapeutic effect, nutrients need to be adequately absorbed and delivered to the cell. Even with the very best, highest quality, most expensive supplements there are issues that prevent adequate absorption of nutrients derived through oral supplementation and foods. For some people, these issues can be corrected over time with natural medicine, yet for others, malabsorption may be a long-term condition.
Many factors are needed to elicit optimal absorption and delivery of nutrients, including:
- Optimal gastrointestinal health: when nutrients are taken orally, the gastrointestinal track needs to break down foods and supplements to release the core nutrients, and transport those nutrients to the blood for delivery to the cells requiring them. This requires many steps and is dependent on numerous variables to be intact, including optimal enzyme activity, proper acid production, healthy gut flora, healthy gastrointestinal lining free of inflammation and irritation, absence of “bad” bacteria, healthy parastaltic tone (pumping action of the GI tract), as others.
- Healthy liver function: after the nutrients are transported to the blood, they are then delivered to the liver for filtering and detoxification before having opportunity to reach other cells in the body. This is referred to as “first pass metabolism.” A compromised liver can make certain nutrients inactive, ineffective, or bound for excretion before given the opportunity to have their effect in the body.
- Healthy cell membranes: cell membranes contain energy requiring pumps to maintain proper levels of essential nutrients inside the cells. Often nutrients need to be in higher concentration inside the cells compared to outside the cell. In any mixture of substance, there is a natural predisposition for solutes (aka nutrients, minerals, etc) to flow from levels of high concentration to lower concentration, which is called the “concentration gradient.” This is analogous to an overcrowded train. People in the overcrowded train will tend to move to an empty train if one is available, so there is more space to breath. However, it would take a little force to squeeze in additional people into an over packed train, requiring some shoving and pushing to make room. Similarly, in order to keep higher levels of nutrients inside the cell where they can do repair and healing, the cell membrane needs to be healthy, and have enough energy (ATP) to fuel the pumps to transport the nutrients from outside the cell (the empty train) to the inside of the cell (crowded train) against the “concentration gradient.” This is called “active transport”.
Most People Have Suboptimal Absorption
Nutrient, vitamin and mineral absorption from both foods and supplements are suboptimal in most people. Many essential minerals have as little as 1% absorption, and most only have 10-25% absorbed and available to the cells in healthy adults. This is often related to suboptimal functioning of the systems involved in absorption due to various causes.
- Most people have some degree of gastrointestinal compromise, even when that is not their major complaint. As a naturopathic doctor, I always look to gastrointestinal health as an initial cause of disease. So many diseases and symptoms have direct correlation with gastrointestinal compromise because this leads to malabsorption of nutrients necessary to maintain health! If the body is starving for nutrition, it starts to decay and breakdown. There are numerous factors in modern society contributing to such widespread gastrointestinal dysfunction, which cannot always be avoided. Poor diet, inflammatory foods, processed foods, transfatty acids, environmental toxins (heavy metals, PCB’s, pesticides, dioxins, smog), chronic medication use, synthetic hormones, bacteria, viruses, Candida, fungus, chronic stress, and so on all engender decreased gastrointestinal health. With sub-par gastrointestinal function most people are unable to absorb the required nutrients.
Some Medicinal Effects of Nutrients Only Achieved At High Levels
Though nutrients may have numerous effects in the body, some of these effects are only attained after reaching very high levels. For example, vitamin C has been demonstrated to have an antiviral effect at high serum concentrations of 10-15 mg/dL. These levels are not achievable via oral route even in a healthy individual. The highest plasma concentration achieved through oral administration of vitamin C is 9.2 mg/dL. This means that no matter how much vitamin C someone ingests, they will be unable to raise their blood levels beyond a certain point. To put that in perspective, a standard, preventative dose of 2.5 grams/day of vitamin C will only raise the serum concentration to about 1.2-1.5 mg/dl. Even if we could achieve higher and higher serum concentrations from super dosing of vitamin C, such high oral dosing often causes disagreeable gastrointestinal side effects such as diarrhea and nausea. A similar effect is found with magnesium supplementation, where oral supplementation has a peak serum concentration beyond which even super-dosing with oral magnesium cannot surpass.
Playing The Game of Nutritional “Catch-Up”
Another factor hindering fast and significant improvement from healthy diet and supplementation is that the body may be so depleted that it may take a while to “catch up”. Many people base adequate supplementation levels on the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) guidelines, which are levels intended to avoid deficiency induced diseases, but have little to do with levels promoting optimal health. In nutrient deficient individuals, higher levels of nutrients over time will allow for “catch up”. The body needs to be out of debt before it can make a nutritional profit!
Using Intravenous Nutrient Therapy: A Safe, Effective, and Natural Method To Achieve Optimal Health
With so many potential obstacles preventing us from achieving complete benefit from the vitamins and minerals we ingest it is no wonder that IVNT is so promising. Intravenous Nutrient Therapy, IVNT allows us to circumvent these obstacles.
While oral supplementation and diet requires adequate gastrointestinal absorption and “first pass metabolism” through the liver, IVNT delivers nutrients directly to the circulation and to the cells where the nutrients are needed. In addition, whereas oral absorption may be 1-25%, IVNT provides 100% of nutrients delivered to be available to cells for repair and health. This circumvents the problem of malabsorption, gastrointestinal disease, and liver dysfunction to allow the nutrients to have immediate and direct action promoting improved health and function.
IVNT provides a “kick start” by making nutrients more readily available and easier to transport inside the cells. By providing higher nutrient concentration in the blood than can be achieved with oral therapy, cells are no longer reliant on energy dependent mechanisms to transport nutrients inside. Nutrients can enter cells via “passive transport” requiring less energy than “active transport”. Using the train analogy, IVNT supersaturates the surrounding blood, so that the inside of the cell is more like the empty train, and the surrounding blood is like the overcrowded train. The nutrients require less work to travel from high concentration (packed train, or bloodstream) to lower concentration (empty train, or inside the cell). Furthermore, nutrients delivered via IVNT can provide high enough concentrations to elicit pharmacological (drug-like) effect on cells, which can only be achieved at such high levels. For example, Vitamin C can have a virus killing effect but only at very high plasma concentrations. Thus, IVNT allows for natural substances to have drug-like effect without the side effects and dangers of using synthetic and toxic drugs!
IVNT can be used as a crutch to fast track nutrient delivery, which allows the body to become healthy enough to better utilize nutrients, drugs, or other therapies. As discussed, there is a therapeutic Catch 22 in cellular health, where the cells need to be healthy enough to have enough energy to bring in the nutrients required for repair, but a sick cell may not be able to do so even if those nutrients are around. IVNT provides a method of increasing nutrient absorption so that the body can become healthy enough to heal itself. For some, it is a therapy used temporarily to accelerate the healing process. For others, IVNT should be utilized long term to overcome their health challenges.
Conditions Treated with IVNT (v, vi, vii)
IVNT is a safe and effective therapy using natural substances in high quantities, which enables accelerated healing for optimal health. Most any condition can benefit from high dose nutrient therapy, from general health optimization, acute cold symptoms, to caner, migraines, and viral infections. The many conditions, which benefit from IVNT include:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Parkinson's Disease
- Migraine Headaches
- Macular degeneration, Cataracts and certain Retinopathies
- Autoimmune conditions
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
- Lyme Disease and other chronic infections
- Herpes Virus
- Environmental Toxicity
- Malabsorption problems (i.e. gastritis, ulcers, IBS, Crohn’s, colitis, diverticulits)
- Flu symptoms
- Peripheral Artery Disease
- Macular Degeneration
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Post traumatic/post operative wound healing
- Heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
Therapeutic Effect of IVNT
Benefits seen by patients vary and depend on the severity of the illness and individual response to treatment. The desired goals expected include:
- Stimulates and increases immune system function
- Encourages cellular repair and regeneration
- Accelerates the process of recovery
- Provides preventative immune support
- Inhibits disease progression
- Enhances treatment efficacy
- Bolsters cancer-fighting capacity
- Increases energy
- Improves circulation
- Increases cellular detoxification
- Enhances sense of wellbeing
- Decreases symptoms related to chronic or acute illness
- Alleviates nutritional deficiencies
- Hydrates the body
- Increases body’s ability to heal
Natural Substances Used in IVNT
Amino Acids, Glutathione, Vitamin C, Meyer's Cocktail (B complex,Vitamin C,Magnesium,Dexpenthanol B5, Calcium,B12,B6), Phosphatidylcholine, Chelating agents, Sodium Bicarbonate, Minerals, Multi-vitamins, Antioxidants, Herbal and homeopathic medicines.
Complications/side effects and safety
Intravenous delivery of nutrients, when administered by a trained and qualified doctor, is extremely safe and efficacious. Some potential short-term side effects include a warm sensation due to some of the minerals, hypotension (lowered blood pressure), and changes in blood sugar. There are some rare but potential side effects that occur with any time of IV administration, such as phlebitis (inflammation of the vein), allergic reaction (rare), or minor discomfort. Overall, IVNT is a very safe therapy. It is essential to let the doctor know if you are taking any medications or have any additional health complaints that were not discussed during the office visit to rule out any possible contraindications to treatment.
How To Find Out If IVNT Is Right For You
At Portal To Healing, we provide comprehensive holistic medical care, including thorough evaluation of each patient’s symptoms, health, and needs. During our evaluation, we can determine if IVNT will be beneficial to your health goals. After consultation, we can schedule IV treatments to be performed in the office by one of our fully trained Naturopathic Doctors. Feel free to call the office at (949) 722-6797 to schedule an appointment.
Intravenous infusions of certain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, homeopathics, botanicals and other nutrients can often be the missing link in achieving optimal health. It can be used as a short-term accelerator towards therapeutic goals, or longer term to provide more efficient delivery of needed substances for maximal effect. It is one treatment amongst many within the realm of natural medicine, and when used appropriately, can provide astonishing result
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ii.  Schumann K, et al. Bioavailability of oral vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals in perspective. Arzneimittelforshcung
iii. Harakeh S, Jariwalla RJ, Pauling L. Suppression of human immunodeficiency virus replication by ascorbate in chronically and acutely infected cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1990;87:7245-7249
iv. Blanchard J, Tozer TN, Rowland M. Pharmacokinetic perspectives on megadoses of ascorbic acid. Am J Clin Nutr 1997;66:1165-1171
v. Gaby A (2002). "Intravenous nutrient therapy: the "Myers' cocktail"". Altern Med Rev
vi. Shrader W (2004). "Short and long term treatment of asthma with intravenous nutrients". Nutr J 3: 6.
vii. Massey, Patrick B. (May/June 2007). "Reduction of fibromyalgia symptoms through intravenous nutrient therapy: Results of a pilot clinical trial". Alternative Therapies 13 (3): 32-34.