We all want to do the right thing for our health. We eat right, exercise regularly, take vitamins and supplements, and drink 64 ounces of water a day. But if you’re like many Americans, you might still be struggling to get out of bed every day. Or maybe you don’t feel like your mental acuity hasn’t been as good recently.
The truth is, no matter how hard we try, many of us are likely not getting all of the vitamins and basic nutrients we need. Combine that with chronic stress, environmental pollution, and nutrient-depleted foods, and it’s not a surprise that so many people are suffering from chronic illnesses. But intravenous (IV) vitamin therapy may just be what you need to revitalize your body at the cellular level.
From enhancing your memory to boosting your immune system, there seems to be little that intravenous (IV) vitamin therapy can’t do. Despite all the popularity it has gained in recent years, you may have been wondering: Is IV vitamin therapy right for me? What benefits can I see from it? We’ll cover all of these questions and more below.
What is IV Vitamin Infusion Therapy?
Your cells depend on your getting enough vitamins and minerals to fuel their biochemistry. And one of the biggest things affected by inadequate nutrients is mitochondria, the powerhouse of your cells. Mitochondria determine our biological age, a measure that takes many lifestyle factors into consideration, such as diet, sleep, and exercise. As we’ve discussed in “Is NAD+ the Fountain of Youth?” mitochondria deprived of proper nutrients can result in faster aging, impaired brain function, increased fatigue, increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, among others.
So how can we support our mitochondria? Our primary source of vitamins and minerals is our food. But many people have difficulty eating a well-balanced diet of vegetables, nuts, fruits, and high-quality meat and/or make poor dietary choices. Your body has a much harder time recognizing processed food and cannot extract enough nutrients out of them.
Another issue is that our foods are affected by soil depletion. Modern agricultural methods have removed increasing amounts of vitamins and minerals from the soil in which the food we eat grow. A study from the University of Texas revealed that there were “reliable declines” in the levels of protein, calcium, phosphorous, iron, and vitamins B2 and C for 43 different vegetables and fruits from 1950 to 1999.* We also have many more pesticide-laden, genetically modified foods today than ever before, which simply do not have the same nutrition content.
To help overcome the shortage of vitamins and minerals in food, many people take oral nutritional supplements. But this can quickly become overwhelming. It can be difficult knowing how to tell just which supplement you need and whether or not each one is of high quality. And are they actually doing you any good?
There’s no denying that dietary supplements taken orally provide many benefits. But it’s also true that having to take multiple supplements is inefficient and that it sometimes takes a while to see their benefits. Your health can also affect the absorption of nutrients from food and supplements. Digestive issues and chronic conditions can negatively impact absorption of vital nutrients in the gastrointestinal (GI) system. Other factors that influence absorption of nutrients include:
- Leaky gut
- Pharmaceutical form
- Size of dose
- Site of absorption of vitamin
- Disintegration of vitamin
- Bulking agents used to build up vitamin tablets
And this is where IV vitamin therapy comes in. Intravenous administration bypasses the digestive system and delivers vitamins directly into the bloodstream, ensuring a much higher rate of absorption at concentrations far beyond what can be achieved by oral or even by intramuscular administration.
To be clear, IV vitamin infusion therapy is not a new type of treatment. Dr. John Myers, a physician from Baltimore, MD, pioneered the use of IV vitamins and minerals in the 1960s as part of the overall treatment of various medical issues for his patients. Widely known as the “Myers’ cocktail,” the treatment remained popular among his patients even after his death, and many clinics quickly adopted the therapy to treat a wide range of clinical conditions, often with dramatic results.
Benefits of IV Vitamin Infusion Therapy
Various nutrients have shown to have pharmacological benefits when administered at high concentrations only achievable by IV therapy. For example, a 2018 study reported high-dose IV vitamin C treatment reduced the severity of both respiratory and cutaneous allergy-related symptoms.2 IV vitamin C has also been shown to reduce or prevent pain in patients with herpes, cancer, and in postoperative states.3,4
In addition to pharmacological benefits, IV vitamin infusion therapy may be more effective than oral or intramuscular treatments for correcting nutrient deficits in cells. Repeatedly “flooding” cells with certain nutrients may provide opportunities for ailing cells to heal. Some patients who receive IV injections regularly have reported experiencing progressively improving health benefits until they no longer needed the injections.
In general, many patients experience benefits such as:
- Increased energy
- Mental clarity
- Reduced stress
- Improved skin quality
- Reduction in headaches
- Improved sleep quality
- Muscle recovery
- Improvement of their complaints
- Overall feelings of well-being
Improvements may be felt immediately after IV vitamin infusion therapy. However, some patients may feel unwell or tired. This means that they are undergoing a detoxification process, in which toxins are pulled out of tissues so that they can be eliminated from the body. This is a temporary healing and cleansing process, after which patients should feel an improvement in their sense of well-being.
Gut Health and Intravenous Vitamin Therapy
As mentioned above, absorption of vitamins and minerals are impacted by the condition of your digestive system. But with increasing toxic burden on our bodies from environmental toxins, illnesses, poor nutrition, and other factors, many people struggle with digestive issues, like leaky gut syndrome (read my articles on leaky gut here and here).
Oral vitamins have to travel through a laborious pathway before they can be absorbed into the blood, and many of them are lost before they reach this step. In other words, even without mishaps, you’re only getting a small portion of the nutrients from your food.
This is where the difference between oral and IV vitamins is enormous. IV therapy does not require the involvement of the GI tract, which means it can also bypass the challenges with intestinal absorption. In other words, IV vitamin therapy delivers optimal levels of nutrition right where you need them: your cells.
If you’re struggling with gastrointestinal issues, our GUT Restore IV could help detoxify and rebuild your gut. GUT Restore IV includes nutrients like pyridoxine (vitamin B6), methylcobalamin (vitamin B12), and vitamin B5 to reduce and protect the gut from inflammation, a critical step in healing many gastrointestinal problems like leaky gut syndrome.
Intravenous Glutathione Therapy
To maintain cellular homeostasis, the ratio between oxidants (or pro-oxidants including reactive oxygen species) and antioxidants in your cells need to be balanced. However, oxidants are continuously being produced by cellular reactions, making it very difficult to maintain this equilibrium. Oxidative stress is produced when the balance is disrupted.
That’s where antioxidants, like glutathione, come in. Known as the “master antioxidant,” it is hard to overstate the value of glutathione in our cells. Some of its key roles include:
- Direct neutralization of free radicals
- Regeneration of vitamins C and E
- Transportation of mercury out of cells and the brain
- Regulation of cellular growth and division, as well as cell death
- Cofactor for several antioxidant enzymes
- Importance in mitochondrial function
- Detoxification support against known toxins and carcinogens5
- Maintenance of immune function6
Because glutathione is involved in many major processes in your cells, it means your body goes through a lot of it — and quickly. While glutathione levels naturally decrease with age, an overwhelmed body (due to poor health decisions or conditions, too much oxidative stress, or toxins, etc.) reaches a critical point where there is simply not enough glutathione available to bind free radicals. The free radicals then start destroying cells, leading to illnesses like:
- Liver cirrhosis
- Viral hepatitis
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Pancreatic inflammation
5 Ways to Increase Glutathione Levels
1.) Decrease the need for glutathione by reducing your toxic load. This can be done by:
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Eating organic foods to reduce exposure to environmental toxins
- Providing other antioxidants to decrease oxidative stress
To find out ways you can reduce your body’s toxic load, read my article What is Your Total Toxic Burden? How to Reduce it for Better Health.
2.) Provide nutrients that promote glutathione production. Pure glutathione is destroyed by digestion, but precursors like cysteine can boost de novo production of glutathione. And while oral cysteine supplementation does not make it through digestion, whey7 or N-acetylcysteine (NAC)8 have been shown to be effective at increasing glutathione levels.9
3.) Eat foods that increase glutathione. Glutathione contains a group of chemicals known as a sulfur group, and consumption of sulfur-rich foods may boost glutathione levels. Examples include:
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.)
Almonds may also help. One study reported that eating 83 grams of almonds per day increased glutathione in smokers by 16 percent and decreased their DNA damage by 29 percent.10
4.) Coffee enemas (yes, enemas!). A coffee enema is a procedure in which coffee is inserted via the anus to cleanse the rectum and the large intestines. It may sound odd, but coffee beans contain many antioxidants and beneficial compounds, such as theobromine, theophylline, and kahweol in addition to caffeine. Together, they cause the colon muscles to contract, moving stool through the digestive tract. And as you are probably already aware, regular bowel movements are important for removing toxins like heavy metals from your body, and coffee can help open up the bile ducts in the liver to increase bile production, resulting in improved digestion and excretion.
But what do coffee enemas have to do with glutathione?
A study from the University of Minnesota showed that coffee enema could stimulate the activity of a major detoxification enzyme called glutathione S-transferase. In fact, the enzyme levels rose to 600–700% above normal levels when coffee was administered rectally, neutralizing free radicals that are then dissolved in the bile and eventually excreted through the intestinal tract.11
5.) Administer glutathione directly. There are several ways to administer glutathione directly, including orally, topically, intravenously, intranasally, or in nebulized form. While research on oral administration of glutathione is still early, several studies have shown that IV glutathione can improve blood circulation,12 prevent oxidative stress,13 and reduce the symptoms and possibly slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease.14
Should You Get IV Vitamin Infusion Therapy?
By delivering vitamins and minerals directly to your bloodstream, IV vitamin infusion therapy can be a more effective and efficient way to nourish your body. Along with the benefits mentioned above, IV vitamin therapy can be a great alternative for people who have difficulty swallowing pills. Patients with certain conditions may also experience rapid transformations they would not be able to achieve with oral supplementation.
However, as with any medical therapy, there are risks involved with IV vitamin therapy. Any medical professional who administers IVs should have the training and license to do so. Look for a reputable physician who will take the time to review your medical history and discuss whether the treatment is right for you.
IV vitamin infusion therapy can be customized to meet your exact needs. If you’re in the Louisville, Colorado area and wish to learn more about IV vitamin infusion therapy, check out our IV therapy menu and schedule an appointment with me by calling (303) 993-7910. For a limited time, I will be offering $10 off the first IV therapy session.
Now it’s time to hear from you. Have you tried IV vitamin infusion therapy? What are some thoughts or concerns you have about IV vitamin therapy? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below!