What is Intravenous Nutrient Therapy?

Intravenous (IV) nutrient therapy is a technique used for a multitude of conditions.  From muscle aches and pains, fatigue, nutrient deficiencies, colds, flus and asthma, IV nutrient therapy can help.  Treatment consists of the intravenous administration of vitamins and minerals and there are a variety of studies available highlighting the multiple benefits of this route of administration of certain nutrients.  For example, intravenous magnesium has been shown to have a muscle-relaxing effect and can provide relief for conditions such as fibromyalgia, migraines, muscle spasms and asthma.

The Myers Cocktail

A general multivitamin infusion is referred to as the Myers Cocktail and includes magnesium, calcium, vitamin B complex, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and vitamin C.  Dr. John Myers MD, who began using intravenous nutrients for fatigue, acute infections, asthma and depression, first introduced the Myers Cocktail.  His work was then carried on by Dr. Alan Gaby MD who was said to have administered over 15 000 infusions of the Myers Cocktail over his clinical career! 

But why IV nutrient therapy? 

Normally, cells in the gastrointestinal tract facilitate the absorption of nutrients.  In IV nutrient therapy, nutrients are infused directly into the blood stream.  It’s an excellent way to increase serum concentrations of vitamins and minerals and helps to provide a window of opportunity for cells to take up nutrients against a smaller concentration gradient.  In addition, some nutrients have been shown to exhibit pharmacological effects, which are dependent on the concentration of the nutrient.  This concentration is largely unattainable from oral supplementation alone.

Of course, IV nutrient therapy will never replace a proper diet that’s rich in vitamins and minerals that our bodies require in order to function optimally.  IV therapy is beneficial for those who are unable to adequately absorb nutrition (ex. chronic gut dysfunction, long-term use of antacids, irritable bowel disease, bowel resection surgery, etc.) or for those who may have nutrient dependencies (ex. chronic stress), where their bodies may require an increased dose of certain nutrients for a period of time.  There are also some circumstances, as mentioned above, whereby the dose of nutrient needed is not possible to consume orally, as is the case with vitamin C for colds, flus and allergies.  It’s simply not possible to take an oral dose of vitamin C to increase serum concentrations high enough for these beneficial effects to take place.

Is it safe?

All studies on the Myers Cocktail have found it to be a safe and effective treatment.  As with any intravenous therapy, possible side effects could include lightheadedness, nausea and/or discomfort at the infusion site.  These effects are rare and short lasting.  Myers Cocktails can take anywhere from 15-60 minutes to administer and can provide relief for a multitude of conditions.  As always, it’s important to consult your local health care professional that is trained in IV nutrient therapy to find out if this technique is appropriate for you.