RATIONALE FOR IV NUTRIENT THERAPY
IV administration of nutrients can achieve serum concentrations that are not attainable with oral administration.
For example, as the oral dose of vitamin C is increased progressively, the serum vitamin C concentration tends to approach an upper limit, as a result of both saturation of gastrointestinal absorption and a sharp increase in urinary excretion of vitamin C.
When daily vitamin C intake was increased twelve fold from 200 mg a day to 2500 mg a day, the plasma concentration increased by only 25% from 1.2 mg/dL to 1.5 mg/dL.
The highest serum vitamin C level observed after oral administration of pharmacologic doses of the vitamin was 9.3.
In contrast, IV administration of 50 grams a day of vitamin C resulted in a mean peak plasma level of 80 mg/dL.
Similarly, oral administration of magnesium results in limited or no change in serum magnesium concentrations whereas its IV administration can double or triple the serum level, at least for a short period of time.
Peak serum concentrations of nutrients are also generally higher after IV and after intramuscular administration because the former results in more rapid entry of nutrients in the blood stream.
Certain nutrients have been shown to exert pharmacologic effects which are in many cases dependent on the concentration of the nutrient. For example, an antiviral effect of vitamin C has been demonstrated at a concentration of 10-15 mg/dL, a level that is achievable with IV but not oral therapy.
In addition to having direct pharmacological events, IV therapies may be more effective than oral or IM treatment for correcting intracellular nutrient deficits. Some nutrients are present in a much higher concentration in cells than in serum.
For example, the average magnesium concentration in myocardial cells is 10 times higher than the extracellular concentration. This ratio is maintained in healthy cells by an active transport system that continually pumps magnesium irons into the cell against the concentration gradient. In certain disease states, the capacity of the membrane pump to maintain normal concentration gradients may be compromised.
In one study, the mean myocardial and magnesium concentration was 65% lower in patients with congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy than in healthy controls.
Since magnesium plays a key role in mitochondrial energy production and ATP, this intracellular magnesium deficiency may exacerbate heart failure and cardiomyopathy which leads to a vicious cycle of further intracellular magnesium loss and more severe heart failure.
IV administration of magnesium produces a marked increase in serum concentration thus providing a window of opportunity for ailing cells to take up magnesium against a smaller concentration gradient.
Nutrients taken up by the cell after an IV infusion may eventually leak out again, but perhaps some of the linking can take place before they do so. If the cells are repeatedly flooded with nutrients, then the improvement may be cumulative.
It has been my observation that some patients who receive a series of IV injections become progressively healthier. In these patients, the interval between treatments can be gradually increased and eventually the injections are no longer necessary.
Other patients in my practice seem to need regular injections for a definite period of time in order to control their medical problem. The sicker they are, the more they need therapy. This dependence on IV injections could conceivably result for many of the following: a genetically determined impairment in the capacity to maintain normal intracellular nutrient concentrations, or an inborn error of metabolism that can be controlled only by maintaining a higher than normal concentration of a particular nutrient, or even a renal leak of a nutrient.
In some cases, continued IV therapy may be necessary depending on the patient because the disease is too advanced to be reversible.
Another problem that I see frequently in the office is food allergies with a resultant malabsorption syndrome secondary to gut irritation. This generally results in a compromised patient simply by nutrient deficiencies always compounding the patient’s problems.
When I do try an oral supplement for such a patient, it is often incompletely or minimally absorbed. On the other hand, if I give the nutrient intravenously, I pretty much known it is going to go where we want it to. It just makes sense that the odds are a great deal more on our side with intravenous road.
IV therapy is sometimes the only way to begin some patients on the road to recovery. Many patients who are severely nutrient deficient are unable to absorb those very nutrients they lack through their intestines.
For example, magnesium is a good example. The result is, of course, that they get sicker. Often oral supplements will make them ill or they simply will not tolerate them. The very patients who has the most severe deficiencies are the ones who are often unable to take oral supplements without having problems. Even if they can, they likely will not absorb them because of a severe food intolerance and intestinal mucosal injury.
Intravenous nutrient therapy works almost instantaneously.
We still must rely upon constant oral therapy for most of our patients, but that always takes time to work, a minimum of three weeks and sometimes up to three months or so.
BENEFITS OF NUTRIENTS GIVEN INTRAVENOUSLY
The use of intravenous nutrients has steadily increased over the years. As reported in the medical literature of which all physicians now have easy access, if you are interested in intravenous therapies and the different nutrients available, I suggest you look at PubMed (Medline). I will give a short synopsis of some relevant supplements that I have used and are in the literature. Be aware there are many others.
IV THERAPY OPTIONS
Intravenous B12 has been shown to reduce homocysteine and neuropathy in end-stage renal disease. It has also been reported to be of benefit in uremic and diabetic neuropathy in dialysis patients. It has been used successfully to treat Alzheimer’s-like dementia. It has also been noted to stop wheezing in an acute asthmatic attacks.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid):
The published literature pertaining to vitamin C is prolific. During my cancer, I have taken intravenous vitamin C for years and now am maintained on oral therapy. Several articles have been written and have discussed the mechanism and action as to why vitamin C works to kill cancerous cells and spare healthy ones.
It is known that vitamin C induces the formation of peroxide in human cells. Peroxide is highly toxic to all cells, but normal cells have a large supply of an enzyme called catalase which converts potentially harmful peroxide to hydrogen water. Cancer cells on the other hand have 10 to 100 times less catalase than do healthy cells. Hence, the peroxide produced by IV or even oral vitamin C cannot be detoxified by these cells. The result is death of the cancerous cells. Although other mechanisms are also known, I feel this is the most important.
There has been also a great deal published on the anti-inflammatory effect as well as the antioxidant effect of vitamin C especially pertaining to endothelial of the coronary arteries and congestive heart failure. Articles have also shown the positive effects of vitamin C for compromised endothelial function in arteries of patients with Kawasaki’s disease. Vitamin C is also used in my practice for treating acute viral infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and many others.
Carnitine may be especially useful in patients with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, cardiac disease including congestive heart failure, and cardiomyopathy as well as dialysis. There is also a benefit for type 2 diabetic patients with peripheral vascular disease.
We know that Q10 is necessary for patients taking statins and is especially of benefit for those with congestive heart failure and cardiac issues. A published study of intravenous Q10 indicates it may protect the myocardium during cardiac valve surgery. Q10 is also needed for renal, cerebral, and many other functions in the body.
Glutathione is a potent endogenous antioxidant that protects major organs from oxidant injury. It is clearly demonstrated in the medical literature that in many disease states there are very low glutathione levels. These occur as we age, as we accumulate toxins or take prescription drugs, etc.
Adequate glutathione levels are essential for immunity and a long life. Low glutathione levels predict a low energy state with other chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and cancer. It is considered to be the most potent detoxification system agent made by the body and can be synthesized in the body from the amino acids L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid, and glycine. Glutathione is a free radical scavenger and is extremely important in our bodies. I measure it routinely in my patients.
Oral glutathione unfortunately has a maximum and limited absorption, so it is no wonder that the potential of IV glutathione is remarkable since very high tissue levels can be achieved. Intravenous glutathione can reduce or eliminate tissue damage in patients with liver disease and toxicity. It has been shown to be beneficial when reducing the toxicity of different chemotherapeutic agents to normal cells.
In addition, intravenous glutathione has shown to improve pain-free walking distance in patients with peripheral obstructive arterial disease, reduce damage in early septic shock and reverse some adverse effects of diabetes.
Most notably, it improves anemia in patients with chronic renal failure and aids in the removal of mercury in patients with high mercury levels.
I have used glutathione for approximately 10 years and have seen dramatic results when used intravenous in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. In summary, glutathione is a wonderful, wonderful antioxidant and is used for several disease states. It also ensures a long and healthy life. I routinely myself obtain periodic glutathione injections.
We have a greater abundance of literature advocating IV use for this than any other nutrient.
There are many articles such as the treatment with intravenous magnesium for the treatment of acute asthma.
It is a bronchodilator, and the medical literature talks about many articles of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with emphysema and bronchitis benefiting by magnesium.
We know that magnesium is used during toxemia and eclampsia of pregnancy, and anesthesiologists have found that intravenous magnesium can reduce the amounts of anesthetic given to patients and reduce postoperative requirements for analgesia.
It also produces hypotension when necessary during operative procedures.
Intravenous magnesium has been life-saving in the treatment of ventricle and atrial cardiac arrhythmias in many types of situations. IV magnesium has also been proven to decrease the incidence of death in patients with acute myocardial infarction.
Magnesium has been used extensively in the field of neurology and neurosurgery. It has been shown to reduce vascular spasm in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage and beneficial in patients with idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss. It can also be a wonderful effective treatment for patients with migraine headaches and patients with neuropathic pain not controlled by opioids.
The bottom line, intravenous magnesium has been proven to be effective for scores of conditions and likely will continue to appear frequently in the medical literature for treatment of many others.
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC):
NAC has been shown to prevent and reverse renal damage and is probably best known with its lacing of properties in the treatment of Tylenol or acetaminophen overdose.
It has been shown to be liver protective, an effective treatment in hepatitis. It is a rate-limiting step in the formation of glutathione which is extremely important. NAC has been shown to lower plasma homocysteine levels and has a strong renal protective effect in patients undergoing cardiac catheterization. It has been shown that it can prevent or treat an otherwise fatal neuropathy course by contrast media in cardiac catheterization.
Other intravenous therapies:
The list is too long to mention, although other intravenous therapies include ribose, phosphatidylcholine, zinc, taurine, selenium, mineral mix, and chelation therapies with EDTA, curcumin, and ozone.