By: Dr. Sonja Fung
In the desert, we should always be cognizant of our hydration status, especially in the summer months. We are more prone to overheating and dehydration, sometimes to the point of needing IV (intravenous) hydration. We are all familiar with IV therapy in hospital settings, where drugs and other substances are administered during surgery or in emergency situations. But that’s not what I’m talking about today. The IV therapy I’m describing is like hydration with a boost!
IV nutritional therapy is a highly concentrated infusion of vitamins, minerals, and other natural substances delivered directly into your cells to support optimal health and correct any nutrient deficiencies. IV administration of nutrients can achieve blood levels not attainable with oral routes, as digestion and absorption are not an issue. For example, high doses of Vitamin C have been shown to boost your immune system to help fight off a cold or flu. Doses as high as 15 grams of vitamin C are easily achievable and well tolerated when given via IV, whereas an oral intake of the same amount will cause diarrhea and cramping.
One of the great benefits of IV nutrient therapy is the effective delivery of nutrients into tissues that need it most. Poor digestion and absorption lead to nutrient deficiencies that can cause fatigue, increased susceptibility to colds and flues, migraines, and chronic infections. People with chronic digestive issues can benefit the most from IV therapy since IV nutrients bypass the digestive system and are absorbed directly into the cells.
IV therapy is also commonly utilized to maintain healthy weight and avoid muscle wasting, or cachexia, in cancer patients. Certain IV formulations can also be used to increase immune support and decrease the risk of infection during chemotherapy.
A well known IV nutrient formula is called the Myers Cocktail. This formula is named after Dr. John Myers, who pioneered the use of IV nutrients in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Dr. Myers’ formula includes concentrated doses of magnesium, B-vitamins, and vitamin C which were slowly infused via IV. A wide range of conditions were significantly improved through the use of this formula. Conditions that have shown improvement with the use of Myers Cocktails include asthma, acute migraines, fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression, cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections, seasonal allergies, autoimmune conditions, drug withdrawal, chronic hives, hyperthyroidism, and chronic viral infections such as hepatitis C.
IV therapy can also be used to increase healing post surgery, as health enhancements and anti-aging formulas, or to improve athletic performance. For athletes, hydration is key; in addition to fluids, the IV therapies for athletes will promote healing and decreasing inflammation by using minerals such as zinc and manganese, glutathione, selenium, and N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) and include essential and non-essential amino acids to promote proper muscle repair. Amino acid IV formulas can be used regularly to improve stamina, increase energy, maintain muscle tone, and even help provide the building blocks to increase muscle mass. For professional athletes or for the weekend warriors trying to get an edge on their golf or tennis game, amino acid IV’s are used safely and effectively in clinics across the country.
IV therapy is now being incorporated more widely into clinics due to its incredible benefits on such a wide range of conditions. The Myers’ cocktail and other IV nutrients have been found by hundreds of medical practitioners to be safe and effective treatment options. In many instances these treatments are more effective and better tolerated than conventional medical therapies. Next time, when you hear that someone received an IV, consider this; it may not just be saline anymore.
Dr. Sonja Fung is a Naturopathic Doctor utilizing IV nutrient therapy at Live Well Clinic. Live Well Clinic is located at 78-900 Avenue 47, Ste 102 in La Quinta, CA. For more information you can visit www.livewellclinic.org or call 760-771-5970.