Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing about the intravenous (IV) therapies we offer at WholeHealth Chicago–what they are, how they work, and who can benefit.
There are IV protocols for the immune system, stress, macular degeneration, anti-aging, chronic infections like Lyme disease and chronic mono, toxic metals, and those used as adjunctive care during cancer treatments.
It’s especially important these days to focus on nutrition and hydration, and IV therapies can bolster both.
You’ve probably, at some time in your life, had an IV line. You felt the wee pinch of a needle (“this might sting”), watched as an adept nurse’s hands taped the needle in place, and then stared, perhaps a little apprehensively, as a bagful of fluid dangling above you coursed through a plastic tube and into your body. (“Are those bubbles supposed to be there?”)
The ubiquitous IV
In any hospital, IVs are all over the place. Whether you’re in a room with a view, the emergency room, about to undergo an operation or in recovery from one, giving birth, or at death’s door, you’ve likely got an IV. If you’re in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) you might have several, and when your nurse says “We can take out one of your IVs today” you know you’re on the road to recovery.
Even though it may seem like you’re wandering through a virtual forest of IV poles and bags as you stroll a hospital’s corridors, there are just two basic reasons for IV therapy: to hydrate and to administer medicine.
Giving fluid prevents you from getting more dehydrated than you likely already are. Of the patients I see in my office, fully half are walking around in a state of mild dehydration. It’s well established that being chronically dehydrated interferes with the normal functioning of every system in your body.
These days, it’s also essential to understand that the strength of your immune system is very much dependent on the state of your hydration.
The number of ounces of water you need daily is about half your body weight. Weigh 150 pounds? Drink 75 ounces of water, which is a little more than two liters or about nine cups of water. You’ll almost certainly need more in hot weather or if you’re otherwise working up a sweat.
The second reason for all the IVs you see in a hospital is to administer medicine. When your med “goes IV,” you’re getting the full dose immediately. You don’t have to wait for pills to dissolve in your stomach, be absorbed through your intestines, and metabolized (and often partially inactivated) through your liver.
Also, quite a few meds simply can’t be effectively taken by mouth: high-dose antibiotics, cancer chemotherapies, immune modulators, and meds to put you to sleep before surgery. If you’re in cardiac arrest and need something quickly to restart your heart, don’t expect a paper cup containing pills to swallow.
Although most medical offices don’t administer IV therapies on site, at WholeHealth Chicago we’ve been giving various forms of them for more than 25 years. IV nutrition first came on the scene back in 1968 when research pharmacologists created water-soluble vitamins and minerals that were initially intended for patients suffering malnutrition.
But the real pioneer of IV nutrition was Baltimore physician John Myers, MD, who created a blend of vitamins and minerals that was affectionately dubbed the Myers’ Cocktail. Dr Myers had concluded that because of our digestive, absorptive, and detoxification systems, only a small fraction of the vitamins and minerals we take (whether in food or as supplements) were actually being absorbed into our bloodstreams. He proposed that a harmless mixture of key nutritional supplements might be given in a single IV infusion, literally flooding every cell in the body in order to ramp up each cell’s performance.
The number of Myers’ Cocktails administered around the US has to be in the millions. Nutritional physician Alan Gaby, MD, published a highly influential paper in the Alternative Medicine Review that described just how this bouillabaisse of supplements actually works its magic.
The list of conditions helped by Myers’ Cocktails continues to grow. Currently, most doctors who administer them regularly recommend them for fatigue, stress, asthma, migraines, fibromyalgia, adrenal exhaustion, depression, muscle spasms, chronic heart disease, chronic sinusitis, or as an anti-viral immune boost when you feel you might be coming down with a cold or flu. A Myers’ also reverses the misery of a hangover quite efficiently.
The basic Myers formula consists of a well-tested mixture of magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, and an assortment of B vitamins diluted in sterile water. The total amount of fluid is about 40 milliliters (less than a quarter cup) and is injected slowly into a vein in your arm over about ten minutes. The two most common reported sensations are the odd experience of tasting a vitamin from the inside out, so to speak, and a not unpleasant sensation of warmth, often in the pelvic region.
WholeHealth Chicago patients are pretty familiar with Myers’ Cocktails. The physician they’re seeing the day of their appointment may recommend one on the spot or, if a patient wants to schedule one herself, she’ll call and request an IV-only. The cost is $100.
Interesting and exciting, the many IV options.
David Edelberg, MD