IV vitamins under the spotlight
Over the past few years intravenous vitamin therapy has laid its mark across the United States, and we will soon see the practice arrive in Dubai. Generating a lot of noise in the mainstream press due its popularity among the Hollywood elite, the buzz has led many to wonder about the specific health benefits of the practice.
Vitamin IV delivers vitamins, minerals and various nutrients straight into a person’s bloodstream in order to correct any possible deficiency. In bypassing the digestive tract, your body is able to receive a much larger dose than it would be able to receive through oral ingestion.
To get a little perspective here: While doses can vary, as can the specific customisation of the vitamin mix, a vitamin C tablet from the supermarket might at most contain just one gram, whereas an IV of the same vitamin might contain 10-20 grams (or higher). That’s a potentially enormous increase.
There are two key talking points around vitamin IV: The first has to do with its ability to treat serious medical conditions such as cancer; and the second is its power as a general well-being enhancer for both mind and body.
Vitamin IV in the fight against cancer
It would certainly be difficult to argue against the usefulness of intravenous vitamins for a person needing a quick intake due to severe vitamin deficiency, an inability to take tablets, or a stomach condition that renders them unable to absorb sufficient vitamins.
But the specific area most talked about currently is the treatment of cancer. The work in this area actually goes back more than 30 years, when researchers Pauling, Cameron and Campbell had reported positive effects of high-dose vitamin C (ascorbic acid) therapy for patients with terminal cancer.
What we now know today is that very high doses of vitamin C administered intravenously to cancer patients has an intriguing double effect: Specifically, it helps reduce the number of cancer cells and decrease the negative effects of chemotherapy.
It is effective because the ‘pharmacokinetic’ differences of intravenous administration compared to oral administration (i.e., the differences in how the vitamin is absorbed by, passes through, and then exits the body) means more cancer cells are killed with less harm to healthy tissues when using intravenous methods.
IV administered vitamin C may in fact be selectively toxic to cancer cells, acting as an anti-inflammatory; helping to stop the blood supply which feeds the cancer; increasing oxidation through increasing hydrogen peroxide; and generally supporting the immune system.
That healthy feeling
And now on to the other side of vitamin IV, and a look into how this therapy can help just about any one of us improve our health and general sense of wellbeing. It is important to note that it is both the high dose (that is, the sheer number of milligrams that can be administered in comparison to a tablet) and the speed with which the body is able to absorb it that are at play when it comes to the benefits of vitamin IV.
The blend can vary depending on the client’s needs, but the Myers’ cocktail (named after the American doctor John Myers who was experimenting with intravenous mineral and vitamin therapy back in the 1970s) is a staple, consisting of various C and B vitamins, plus magnesium.
The process of having the vitamins administered can take between 30 minutes and two hours, with many alternative health clinics providing a ‘menu’ with different treatments aimed at various ailments, from fatigue to weight loss, and from detox to immunity boosts.
Many who take the Myer’s cocktail say they feel more energetic, get better sleep, and see improvements in overall mood. The cocktail has also been linked to helping with fibromyalgia, depression, migraines, and cardiovascular issues.
Is it for you?
There are many studies confirming significant improvements of patient outcomes using IV therapy to help treat serious medical conditions, and at present about 200 more studies are underway. Clearly this is an area with a lot of interest, and I will be watching it closely as I work it into my programs.
On the general well-being front, the only way to find out if you will benefit from it is to give it a try. We are all struggling to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle, and given how challenging it is to get the right nutrients from our foods, this form of supplementation may be the most effective way to get your required dose of the essentials.
Graham Simpson, MD is Chief Medical Officer and Founder of Intelligent Health, a preventive medical centre located in Jumeirah. Dubai. He graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is board certified in Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine. As a founding member of the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) Dr Simpson is also a licensed homeopath.