Why is IV therapy used in a naturopathic clinical setting?
IV therapy can be used for a wide range of health conditions, including:
- enhancing effects of chemotherapy and reducing side effects
- direct anti-cancer effects
- cancer prevention and reduction of risk of recurrence
Low Energy Syndromes:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Low energy
- Low adrenal function
Immune System Support:
- Acute and chronic infections (colds, flus, pneumonia, etc)
- Lyme disease and Coinfections
- Low antioxidant levels
- Elevated heavy metals (e.g. lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, etc)
- Liver detoxification support
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Pain management
- Nutritional supplementation in patients with malabsorption (e.g. inflammatory bowel
disease, Celiac’s, etc)
- High blood pressure/arterial disease
- Neurological disorders, including
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson’s Disease (Perlmutter glutathione protocol)
- Alzheimer’s Disease
Why use IV therapy instead of oral supplementation?
The primary advantage of IV therapy is that it allows us to administer nutrients directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the gastrointestinal tract in the process. When nutrients are taken orally, their structure can be altered as they pass the lining of the small intestine or when they are transported through the liver (known as the “first pass effect”). A classic example is that of oral glutathione (i.e. the most potent antioxidant in the human body): oral glutathione has great benefits to the intestinal cells; however once it is absorbed into the bloodstream it is denatured and has no antioxidant benefit at all.
Another factor that influences the ability of oral nutrients to make it into the blood is digestive capacity. If a patient has inflammation in the gut (whether they are aware of it or not) then nutrients won’t be efficiently absorbed through the intestinal wall, passing into the stool instead. If patients are not responding to oral supplements as expected, a diagnostic trial to rule out malabsorption would be an IV treatment of the same nutrients to see if benefit is noticed.
Does IV therapy hurt and is it safe?
IV therapy should not be a painful process. Practitioners trained in parenteral therapy learn the safe dosages of nutrients that can be administered and how to dilute them properly to prevent vein irritation. The only part of the process that may be expected to be uncomfortable is the initial insertion of the needle – fortunately, the needle gauge that is used is significantly smaller than that used for laboratory blood draws, and I find that patients oftentimes don’t perceive pain.
IV therapy is safe if it is administered in a careful, cautious manner. Adverse reactions to injected substances are rare, with most unwanted side effects coming from administering high doses too soon or too quickly. Allergic reactions to IV therapeutics are very rare but possible, thus a detailed history of patient allergies is crucial.
What types of nutrients can be administered?
- alpha lipoic acid
- amino acids (taurine, glycine)
- B complex
- Heavy metal chelating agents (EDTA, DMPS)
- hydrogen peroxide