Doctors and other medical personnel have been administering general fluids and medications intravenously–that is, directly into the veins–for decades. With this technique perfected, one of the most popular trends in naturopathic care today is using IVs to receive one or more vitamins and minerals. Although much more research is necessary to validate positive claims associated with these so-called “nutrient drips,” supporters list some substantial reasons to consider the procedure.
Higher Immune System Function
The immune system depends on sufficient levels of vitamins and minerals to do its job. Examples of nutrients thought to influence immune system function for the better include vitamins C, A, E, the B vitamins, chromium, copper, magnesium, carotenoids and beta-carotene. An injection can restore the proper levels of these vitamins, thereby giving the immune system a boost. This change might reduce pain and inflammation, aid recovery, assist natural detoxification, help you fight off diseases and germs and generally make you feel more alert and energized. It could make a difference in everything from fibromyalgia to cancer, according to IV therapy specialists and other advocates.
Bioavailability refers to the amount of a substance that reaches the systemic circulation, or the degree to which a substance is available to one or more target tissues after administration. When you take nutrients orally or by other means, bioavailability can vary greatly based not only on the chemical makeup of the substance, but also on other factors like your age and gender. When you receive nutrients via IV, however, you get 100 percent bioavailability. With more of the nutrients available, you might experience your health goals faster and, in some cases, avoid complications (e.g., diarrhea).
Related to the concept of bioavailability, according to professionals at the Sonas Integrative Medical Center, certain conditions diminish the capacity of nutrients to get and stay inside cells where they are needed. Intravenous nutrient therapy, however, allows a qualified medical agent to “flood” the cells with the potent nutrients they require, thus increasing the chances of healing and recovery.
Under normal circumstances, the body absorbs nutrients after you ingest them and allow them to be broken down within the digestive tract. This can take a significant amount of time, depending on the exact nutrient, the form of the food containing it (e.g., raw, cooked) and other factors such as the condition of the gut. Intravenous nutrient therapy bypasses this system, delivering nutrients where they are needed quickly.
Advocates of intravenous nutrient therapy assert that the procedure has big benefits, such as elevated immune system function. The procedure does carry with it risks that need to be acknowledged, however, such as the chance of infection or reduction in blood pressure. These risks might be worth it for certain individuals with true nutrient deficiencies. With research still pending on the efficacy of this naturopathic treatment, if you decide to use IV therapy, do so with caution, and always use a licensed IV therapy specialist. Check with your doctor to determine if IV therapy is a good fit for you.