As a medical doctor with a thriving IV Therapy and Functional Medicine practice, I hear a lot of questions about IV Vitamin Therapy. How does this method of delivering vitamins, nutrients, and cofactors affect health? Read on and I’ll give you all the answers.
Why IV Therapy?
The human body needs vitamins and nutrients to help in thousands of enzymatic processes. Every cell needs these cofactors to produce energy, get rid of toxins, maintain pH balance, and keep the milieu optimal.
Ideally, we would get these from the food we eat. Unfortunately, even if we all eat perfectly balanced diets with lots of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats…we still won’t get enough nutrients to keep our cells functioning at their best. Because of the way it is grown, genetically modified, and harvested today, the quality of our food is depleted of these nutrients.
In addition, we all suffer from some degree of gut compromise or leaky gut. In these conditions, the gut cannot properly absorbed nutrients. So, there is a decreased amount of nutrients that enter circulation to be used by the rest of the body.
Only twenty percent of oral supplements, even the best quality, is absorbed by the gut. This is where IV Therapy comes in.
There are many terms in use that mean the same thing: IV Therapy, IV therapy hydration, IV Therapy Vitamins, IV infusion and Myers cocktail. For the purposes of this blog, I will use IV Therapy. The benefit of IV Therapy is that it directly delivers one hundred percent of the nutrients into the blood stream, ready for use by the cells. That is why patients feel better almost immediately after just one treatment! However, weekly therapy is often recommended to heal the deficit of many years.
What do we use in IV Therapy?
Vitamins and minerals require some sort of fluid to carry them into the blood stream. Most of the fluids we use have a varying amount of Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, various B vitamins, folic acid and trace minerals. So, the purpose of the treatment for each individual determines the combination.
What are the uses of IV Therapy?
Most, if not all, medical conditions are rooted in inflammation. From a common cold to high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s, the basic reason is inflammation. Inflammation creates free radicals that damage tissue and cause aging.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that donates a hydrogen ion to these free radicals. This change essentially neutralizes them and makes them harmless. Depending on the severity of the condition, a lot or little of that is needed.
For example, someone on chemotherapy will need a lot of Vitamin C to neutralize the harmful effects of chemotherapy on the body’s healthy cells. For this, “high dose Vitamin C” is used. This form of IV therapy has large amounts, around 50-70g of vitamin C.
Someone with a common cold may not need as much and may instead need some zinc, and thus the composition is different. An individual with depression may need more B6 to help the conversion of dopamine into serotonin, the chemical in the brain that helps us to feel relaxed. Someone with chronic fatigue may need large amounts of B vitamins and magnesium. And someone with compromised kidney function may need caution with how much fluid we put in.
So, it’s not one size fits all. That is why I often caution people about just walking into an IV bar and order a cocktail.
Even though it’s only a combination of vitamins and minerals, a lot can go wrong if we don’t have basic medical information and blood work. I know there are places out there that market it as a “hangover” cure. But, what I am talking about is targeted medical therapy for specific conditions that requires an experienced provider overseeing your health care.
Ultimately, it comes down to the point that not all IV therapy is the same. Just because it’s called IV therapy, doesn’t mean it has the right amounts of nutrients that your body needs.
Don’t fall for cheaper gimmicks. Your health is precious. Use a reputable place that has a physician over-seeing what IV you are getting.
How much does IV Therapy cost?
The cost varies from $125-$350, depending on where you go. At The Functional Medicine MD, most IV’s are $250.
Do we add IV Glutathione (and why)?
Yes! We always use glutathione to potentiate the antioxidant effects of the IV Therapy.
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that we typically get from diet. It is also synthesized in the body-unlike Vitamin C which is only available through exogenous (outside) sources. However, we often don’t get enough of it and thus have insufficient amounts for the liver to detoxify the hundreds of chemicals that we are exposed to every day.
Also, if we are exposed to a lot of toxic chemicals, through work environment or poor dietary habits, or lots of medications, the body gets depleted and toxins build up. Also, a lot of people have a genetic snip that makes them unable to make glutathione.
So, if you have any signs of inflammation in your body, it means your body needs extra antioxidants. This is why we add this in all our IV’s.