Intravenous nutrient therapy (IVNT) has found a lot of takers over the last few years and rightly so. IVNT is the process of infusing vitamins, essential amino acids, supplements, and minerals directly into the bloodstream. This treatment has been used to treat a range of diseases including migraines, fibromyalgia, acute asthma, viral infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, acute alcohol intoxication, and many, many others. Of late, it has gained favor to support the recovery of high-performance athletes and although retail clinics are opening up everywhere, there is significant variation in the quality and quantity of the services provided. There are many reasons for the variation including poor regulation, lack of adoption by major pharmaceutical companies, and level of training of IVNT providers.
What is IV Therapy?
The first attempts at IV therapy date back to the 17th century and it became a broadly viable practice with the advent of plastic bags for storage and transport of IV fluid. In a nutshell it is an effective method of supplying the body with the nutrients that are urgently required. IV therapy can be used for pain management, blood transfusion, medication administration, or to replete important essential amino acids and minerals the body may be lacking.
Vitamins and minerals function as the gatekeepers of the body, allowing for body reactions to slow down or speed up based on their relative concentration. Most Americans are severely deficient in vital nutrients such as vitamin D, B12, folate, or iron. Furthermore, the liver has trouble producing the highly oxidative substances (chiefly glutathione) which function as the “bouncer” of the body, clearing it of unwanted chemicals and toxins.
Myths about IV Nutrient Therapy
Myth: It is not commonly given by doctors, therefore it is unsafe
Fact: IV nutrient therapy is FAR from an experimental practice! With hardly any adverse reactions, it is the best way to provide the body the nutrients it needs safely in rapid fashion. The most common treatments are known as the “banana bag” and “Total Parenteral Nutrition” (aka TPN), this age-old treatment is done countless times in hospitals all around the globe.
Myth: Doesn’t help people with chronic illnesses
Fact: There is emerging evidence that supports the benefits of high-dose IV vitamin C therapy in patients with breast cancer. IV vitamin C therapy can be used with conventional treatment that can help improve the quality of life of the patient. It has also been shown to have benefit in a common hospital condition called sepsis. Previously with little hope, fibromyalgia patients have reported reduced symptoms after IV therapy. There are many more examples and the literature continues to evolve in this area.
Myth: It is only needed once
Fact: How many people eat once a day? Although some IV nutrients may only need a one-time infusion for a long-lasting effect, most others need to be taken regularly over a few weeks until levels have reached a steady state. Even still, if your diet and lifestyle are not modified to correct the deficiency, you’ll end up requiring additional treatments in due time. Regular use of IVNT should be guided by an experienced physician or medical provider whenever possible.
There’s no evidence, it’s a money-making scheme
Any experienced medical practitioner will confirm that less than 50% of the treatment commonly prescribed in any healthcare setting is actually confirmed to be grounded in evidence-based literature. Still, open any biochemistry book and you’ll find vitamins and minerals as catalysts in virtually every vital reaction in the body, from the detoxification of noxious substances to the production of energy in the cell’s mitochondria. Just like most things in clinical medicine, there is literature for and against the use of IVNT for specific conditions. However, the multi-billion dollar neutraceutical industry is only getting larger. Unfortunately, there also some bad actors. Products like energy drinks advertise their B vitamin content but contain stimulants like caffeine and significant amounts of sugar as well which virtually eliminates their clinical utility. Most importantly, IVNT has very low risk to cause harm when taken under the guidance of trained professionals.
Benefits of IVNT
A concentrated blend of vitamins and minerals can boost the body’s immune system. The effects of it are immediate, unlike orally administered supplements or intramuscular injections. Nutrients like vitamin C are a natural immune booster and can be protective against the flu and cold. The IV blend should be tailored to the specific requirement of the patient to ensure the best outcomes.
Absorption of nutrients is difficult for some patients when they take nutrients orally. Digestive problems are extremely common for people eating an American diet and is often the root cause of this issue. With IVNT, however, the process of absorption is bypassed and 100% of the infused nutrients get into the bloodstream. This makes cellular absorption a function of the dose administered rather than the health of the gut. Simply stated, this puts YOU in control of how much nutrient your body gets.
Over time the blood in our body can accumulate a number of harmful toxins. The process of infusing your blood with electrolytes, nutrients, and fluids allows the cleansing to begin. It aids the detoxification process of your blood and makes you feel healthy again. Balanced nutritional status is crucial when weaning people off of narcotics and can make all the difference in people who are struggling with chemical addictions.
Chronic fatigue is generally due to lifestyle choices or disease. Poor nutrition commonly causes vitamin deficiencies, hormonal imbalance, or mineral deficiencies among other things. Unfortunately, these diagnoses are under-recognized by conventional practitioners who are generally more focused on diseases that have pharmaceutical interventions. IVNT is a nutrient-rich recharge for the body and can provide immediate improvement of fatigue no matter what the root cause.
Hydration is the key to recovering from cold, flu, and other infectious and inflammatory illnesses. IVNT replaces the lost nutrients in your body and it also hydrates you which is a tremendous part of its overall benefit. Even people that feel well get regular IVNT infusions because they quickly realize how much better they feel from proper hydration and nutrient balance. They modify their diet and lifestyle accordingly with the ultimate objective to feel good without having to supplement their health with IVNT, a very laudable goal.
Many patients have reported an immediate increase in their energy levels after receiving an IV nutrient infusion. This is because of the absorption of essential nutrients directly into the bloodstream. Unlike food or medication, it does not require the digestive process for absorption and works much faster. B vitamins are commonly used as “energy boosters” in the supplement industry.
Intravenous nutrient therapy is a time-tested treatment that repletes vital minerals, essential amino acids, and vitamins in the body. When individualized to your specific requirements it can provide a tremendous number of benefits and is much faster than taking oral supplements which are not easily-absorbed from the gut. The science of IVNT is rock-solid and emerging literature is supplementing the list of clinical indications to include serious conditions like cancer, sepsis, and fibromyalgia. There are few things in modern medicine that are as cost-effective and have the tremendous benefit of IVNT. There are virtually none that have the amazingly sparse profile of side effects from treatment. Unlike most of the products you’d find in a retail pharmacy, IVNT is a natural treatment option that can not be patented.
Because of its low cost and high clinical efficacy, IVNT is the type of treatment that great medical practitioners crave for use in their patients when indicated.