Integrative medicine approaches health holistically and looks for root causes of symptoms but offers many therapies as well to speed up the healing process and to kick start a new healthy lifestyle.
In this article, we examine IV therapy in terms of its nature, benefits, and risks. After reading this article, you know what is good for your health.
What is IV therapy?
Intravenous therapy (IV) is a naturopathic treatment for infusing essential nutrients into a vein in high doses to overcome nutritional deficiencies.
It should not replace a balanced diet and lifestyle, but under the supervision of an integrative medicine practitioner, it can complement your healthy food choices.
The process is as simple as a traditional IV treatment where a trained health professional, put an IV by sticking a catheter in a vein inside your arm or hand to allow certain fluid flow into your vein through a tube but the difference is in the fluid itself.
Your integrative practitioner will design a formula unique for you and your needs based on the initial consultation and lab test results; therefore, you only receive chemicals that needed in your body. The repetition of IV therapy will be determined by your first IV therapy feedback and factors such as your health status, age, weight, genetics, physical and mental activities, eating and sleeping pattern, and lifestyle but in general, people can benefit from one IV therapy every 3 months.
You must inform your doctor about any medication you are taking because some drugs can interfere with vitamin and mineral absorption.
IV therapy is typically painless and immediately after the treatment, you can back into your daily routine.
The IV vitamin and mineral therapy is based on good science and was first popularized by Dr. John Myers in the 70s. His research led to the famous Myers’ Cocktail, which consists of high doses of magnesium, vitamin B, and vitamin C.
IV therapy is equivalent of a multivitamin and mineral pill in mega doses, which bypasses your GI tract to directly enter your bloodstream and absorb quickly. Digestion through GI tract takes a few hours and requires certain chemicals produced inside the body to help convert and absorb nutrients, but due to the fact that production of these chemicals is generally disturbed by internal and external factors such as stress, bad food selection, sleeping issues, medications, and air pollution, not all nutrients absorbed and many discharged from your body undigested.
Gut microbiome, which is a community of bacteria inside intestines and responsible for vitamin production is heavily affected by above-mentioned stresses leaving you unnourished and deficient. Also, vitamins and minerals compete for absorption in the digestive system and since some minerals like calcium are stronger and will always suppress other chemicals, the deficiency is always likely. Bypassing digestive tract gives all vitamins and minerals the chance to be absorbed.
What benefits and risks are associated with IV therapy?
Bioavailability: nutrients immediately can be used without any conversion in the gut.
Absorbability of vitamins and minerals are huge benefits because for IV therapy purpose, only chemical types are administered that are readily absorbable despite the fact that there are different types.
Time saving: you have a busy lifestyle and spending less than an hour to nourish your body with needed nutrients is an ideal treatment.
There are no risks if IV therapy administered in a qualified integrative center because a professional center has a high standard for hygiene and also your skin at the point of needle entry will be sterilized by alcohol to cleanse any bacteria.
The blend ratio is individualized for you based on your health status, but if there is any excess vitamin or mineral, it will be just discharged from your body by urination.
What compounds are used in IV therapy?
There are many vitamins, minerals, and co-enzymes involved in an IV blend, but the main ones are as follow:
Electrolytes are certain minerals that are found everywhere inside your body and have an electric charge. They regulate water and PH, and therefore, help the delivery nutrients to cells and discharging waste chemicals from the body. They include sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, phosphate, and magnesium.
Magnesium is a vital mineral involved in more than 300 functions in the body includes energy production, muscle contraction, bone developmentation, and normal rhythm of the heart.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body known for its role in bone development but also has a key role in nerve transmission and vascular contraction.
Potassium has a key role in intracellular fluid regulation and has a close relationship with sodium, which regulates extracellular fluid.
Zinc is an essential mineral that contributes to 100 enzyme functions and its importance for the immune system and wound healing.
Iron is an essential mineral involved in transferring oxygen from lungs to tissues.
Selenium is a trace element that helps thyroid hormone metabolism and protection against oxidative damage.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are used for growth and healing inside the body. Nine of them are essential (they cannot be made by the body); therefore, they must supply from diet and supplement.
Carnitine is made from amino acids. It is heavily involved in energy production by transporting fatty acids to mitochondria and removing waste by products of their metabolism. Mitochondria are organelles in the cells that digesting nutrients and providing energy for the cell.
Antioxidants are certain compounds required to prevent cell damage caused by Free Radicals (atoms or molecules containing free electrons). These unstable particles that cause damage to the body come from environmental factors such as smoke or radiation. If they buildup over time, they accelerate the aging process and may have a major role in diseases such as cancer and stroke. Since antioxidants can donate an electron to free radicals, they can neutralize and stabilize them. Antioxidants, which are in the body are vitamins A, C, E and glutathione, alpha-lipoic acid and taurine.
Glutathione is a strong antioxidant and detoxifier which consists of three amino acids and protects cells against oxidative damage.
Alpha Lipoic Acid is another antioxidant fatty acid helping with weight loss.
Taurine is an amino acid antioxidant involved in heart health and athletic performance
Poly MVA consist of Palladium, lipoic acid, B vitamins and some other minerals to effectively protect against aging and help with energy production and removal of harmful substances from body.
High Dose Vitamin C is a proven treatment for cancer patients along with strengthening immune system in healthy people. It is a potent anti oxidant which helps with anti ageing, cardiovascular health, collagen production and absorption of other nutrients.
Phosphatidylcholine is a chemical with strong lipolyse capabilities and brain power enhancement while being anti-inflammatory for liver and intestines.
NAD is a coenzyme with proven ant-aging and anti-inflammatory benefits for brain and body and helps with depression and alcoholism.
Chelating agents like liquid EDTA or DMPS are strong chemicals for removing heavy metals from body which leads to treatment of many conditions such as autism.
What blends are available for IV therapy?
IV therapy is blended individually for you and your unique situation, but some purposes are common with all patients. They can be designed to boost your vitality, healing, brain, heart, mood, energy level, athletic performance, weight loss, immune system, detoxification, anti-inflammation mechanism and even help cure a hangover.
Do you need IV therapy?
IV therapy is good for your health because, even if you have just started the perfect diet and lifestyle under supervision of an integrative medicine practitioner, years of mental and environmental stress have put pressure on your digestive system disabling it to do its function in producing necessary chemicals for nutrients absorption; therefore, all those healthy foods that you eat now are not fully absorbed and IV therapy can help you overcome nutrients deficiency.
Megadoses of essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and antioxidants in your bloodstream lead to higher uptake into your cells resulting in rejuvenation and healing; then, you can proceed with your new integrative healthy lifestyle.
If you follow a restricted diet like vegetarian and vegan, your limited resources can benefit from IV therapy. It is also used for deep rehydration after an intense sporting event such as running a marathon.
Some disorders have also responded positively to IV infusions such as depression, migraines, fatigue, muscle spasms, chronic pain, allergies, asthma, and sinus infections. Some chronic diseases namely cancer, hypertension, diabetes, hepatitis, Parkinson’s disease, and macular degeneration have also shown promising results.