Advancing Medicine: IV NUTRIENT THERAPY
Imagine sitting in a comfortable recliner chair with a fuzzy blanket over you. It's the middle of the day and you are resting nicely in a calmly lit room with gentle music in the background. You have one hour to take a rest, read a book you've been meaning to start, or peruse a magazine, all the while doing something excellent for your health and well-being. No, you are not in your living room trying to catch up rest where there are a million other things you should be doing. You are in an IV Wellness Lounge, being infused with nutrients that are doctor prescribed specifically for you to improve your health.
As a naturopathic doctor, I have been trained to administer intravenous and intramuscular injections of vitamins, minerals, homeopathics, and botanicals for many medical situations. Intravenous administration of nutrients is not a new part of medicine but it is an essential approach to integrative and advanced medicine that has advantages over other approaches when treating chronic or acute conditions or simply optimizing health.
Why is IV therapy used instead of oral administration?
When nutrients are infused into a vein or injected intramuscularly, a few things happen biochemically:
1. 100% administration of the dose enters the body. This is necessary for people with absorption issues such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disorders, digestive enzyme deficiencies, chronic diarrhea, or for those who are depleted from disease or infection.
2. Biochemical changes take effect immediately. Our cells can utilize nutrients and water more efficiently. Taking a supplement or consuming nutrients orally are first sent to the liver once absorbed through the gut wall. This means we may process nutrients before it gets to our tissue.
3. Higher doses of nutrients can be infused in a shorter amount of time. This is important for when therapeutic doses such as vitamin C is needed. High dose vitamin
C therapy is used naturopathically for cancer treatment and its effectiveness is based on its elevated concentration in the blood stream.
Who should have IV vitamin therapy?
There are many cases where vitamin therapy can benefit. It is safe, mostly painless and easy to administer. In less serious situations, people can use IV therapy to rehydrate themselves after an athletic event, a long flight, or after too much alcohol consumption - the hangover cure. It is also effective for people who want a quick energy boost, need to boost their immune system when fighting an infection, help to optimize their nutrients during an athletic event, treat headaches, or help with hormone balancing. One of the best benefits I see in IV therapy is for rehydration; our bodies work best when optimally hydrated.
In more serious cases, IV therapy is used in cancer treatment, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, autoimmune conditions, celiac disease, cardiovascular disease, mental disorders, and for detoxification of toxins, drugs or medications. These conditions require closely monitored care with a naturopathic physician.
What should I expect during a visit?
For your first IV therapy visit, a naturopathic doctor will do a short health intake to identify any contraindications with any medical conditions you have and medications you are taking. They will perform a screening physical exam and suggest any testing needed prior to treatment. They will formulate an IV specifically for your case. The intravenous is administered by a doctor or IV nurse and you are monitored throughout your treatment, which typically take about one hour to administer. For quick ‘boosts', intramuscular injections of nutrients at lower doses (usually B 12, B vitamins, homeopathics, and or amino acids) are used, and these take only a few minutes. For more complicated medical conditions, you may be required to work long term and closely with a naturopathic physician to monitor your safely.
There are many benefits to IV therapy and is the reason why I have been using this approach with my patients since I began practice 15 years ago. It helps patients feel better faster, gets to the root cause of disease, and supports detoxification of our cells and organs to optimize their function. IV therapy can be administered to most people of all ages and conditions; the basic improvement of hydrating the body will make one feel better almost instantly. This is the beauty of advanced naturopathic medicine.