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IV Vitamin Therapy - Medical Treatment, Health Fad or Both?

By Jessica Kelner, D.O. - June 21, 2019

What is IV Vitamin Therapy? Why has it become so popular? 

IV Therapy Treatments aren't a new medical therapy. 

These IV treatments aren’t exactly new — they’ve traditionally been used in hospitals to help patients rehydrate or restore nutritional deficiencies. They have become increasingly popular now because they’re more of "a quick fix" that’s been made more accessible to the public. There are functional medicine doctors using IV Therapy as a medical treatment:  to replace depleated nutrients and treat heavy metal toxicity in their patients.  On the other hand, there are companies that have set up brick-and-mortar clinics in many cities all over the country and others  that offer concierge-style services where they bring needles and infusions straight to a client’s home or office. The difference being the brick-and-mortar clinics/concierge services for the most part are not intending on treating a specific medical condition.

IV therapy is a medical treatment in which fluids, nutrients, and medications can be administered directly into a patient's blood stream without having to go through the stomach or the skin.  While some people may be squeamish with needles, others prefer this method of delivery. 

IV Fluids in their most basic form are either salt water, salt water + electrolytes, salt water + sugar, or sugar water.  These fluids are used to maintain the body's homeostasis when the patient may be dehydrated from vomiting for example, or when they are not allowed to eat due to a medical condition or upcoming surgery. Maintaining the body's homeostasis is very important because without the proper balance of fluids and electrolytes in the body, fluid can leak out of the blood stream into places where it isn't supposed to be, tissues may have pressure in them (that shouldn't have) and then the blood stream will have less fluid to circulate oxygen in. You can see why this may be an issue.  In a hospital setting, doctors are very careful to make sure their patients have adequate fluid intake and when necessary, doctors will give patients IV fluids. 

IV fluids have grown to become super fancy. We now have the ability to deliver vital nutrients right into the blood stream that are custom tailored for specific medical conditions. With American's nutritional deficiencies growing over the years, this has become more and more vital as a  treatment option. 

Intravenous Vitamin Therapy (IVT) is the most efficient way to deliver the nutrients your cells need directly into your bloodstream. The vitamin-rich fluid cocktails contain a myriad of required nutrients to encourage improvement in health, reduce fatigue, and super charge the immune system to help fight against chronic illnesses. IV Vitamin Therapy is among the most effective and quickest ways to penetrate the cells in the body for revitalization in higher quantities than oral doses can provide.

 IV Vitamin Therapy has a long history of providing relief for a variety of illnesses.  IV Vitamin Therapy was founded back in the 1930s and after experiments, a physician named Dr. Klenner developed a megadose of intravenous Vitamin C treatment in the 1940s.  This was followed by William Kaufman who published articles that verified the idea of IV Vitamin Therapy with his treatment of arthritis using frequent megadoses of niacinamide (also known as Vitamin B3/niacin, which is shown to improve cholesterol and lower cardiovascular risks as well).  The research and publication of studies continued throughout the 1950s and 1960s with individualized vitamins and nutrients being studied. Results of studies of niacin (aka B3/niacinamide) improving cholesterol was confirmed in 1986.

Not only has IV Vitamin Therapy existed since the 1930s, but it has gained traction and popularity as a component of the functional and integrative medical practice. Following the work of Dr. Klenner, Dr. John Myers, MD, a Baltimore physician, further developed and popularized the use of IV Vitamin Therapy as a medical treatment for various medical conditions. Since the 1980s, IV Vitamin Therapy has helped people with chronic medical conditions, such as fatigue, depression, fibromyalgia, asthma and more. 

Fun Fact:
Although you may see only nurses administering IVs today, only doctors were allowed to administer IVs until the 1940s. Delegating this task to nurses occurred during WW1 and WW2 to expedite care to soldiers. 

Dr. Myers developed a special formulation of nutrients that is now called the “Myers’ Cocktail”. This is a cocktail designed with specific selected vitamins necessary to improve health and vitality. 

What Medical Conditions Can IV Vitamin Therapy BENEFIT?
Some of the many common problems that IV Vitamin Therapy can address include:
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Asthma
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Resistant Infections
  • Immune Deficiency
  • Stress
  • Brain Fog
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Sports Proficiency and Exercise Stamina
  • Atherosclerosis (plaques in arteries)
  • Anti-Aging

Benefits of the Vitamins in the Myers' Cocktail?

Each of the vitamins in the Myers' Cocktail were chosen for their known benefits of improving specific acute and chronic illnesses (ie. short and long term). These nutrients are given in a much higher dose via the blood stream than can be absorbed by mouth and the gastrointestinal tract. 

Magnesium:  Magnesium is a crucial nutrient the body needs that is involved in energy production, muscle contraction, and DNA synthesis. It also contributes to the structural development of bone.

Calcium:  Our body uses calcium to make our teeth and bones, while adequate quantities are
required to maintain the strength of bone and teeth. 

Vitamin B12:  Vitamin B12 is necessary for neurotransmitter formation, cholesterol synthesis, energy production and much more.  Optimal levels of B12 assist in reducing depression, anxiety, fatigue, stress, and mental clarity. 

Vitamin B6:  Vitamin B6 assists with neurotransmitter formation, helps maintain adrenal function, and functions in metabolic processes. 

Vitamin B5:  Vitamin B5, also called Pantothenic Acid, is a highly effective treatment for various medical conditions.  It has a role in energy production, nervous system function, has anti-inflammatory role in treating allergies, asthma, wound healing and acne. 

B-Complex:  B-Complex Vitamins such as Niacin, Riboflavin, and Thiamin benefit cholesterol, cardiovascular health, neurotransmitter production, energy production, and many other cellular processes.  

Vitamin C: We all know vitamin C is available in great quantities in oranges, but our food sources of Vitamin C are unable to provide us with the amount of Vitamin C orally with what an IV can provide. Megadoses of Vitamin C have been shown in lab studies to have anti-inflammatory abilities.  These Megadoses of Vitamin C can have the oxidative ability to help the body attack viruses and bacteria.  In cancer patients, it has been shown to reduce side effects and improve overall quality of life.   

The Meyers' Cocktail is only one formulation of vitamins that can be given IV, there are many other custom tailored nutrient "cocktails" that can be given to help with medical conditions such as asthma, muscle fatigue, chronic fatigue, heavy metal toxicity, and many more. 

All of these vitamins mentioned are essential to the body's normal daily function,  however many people are not getting adequate nutrition through their food intake alone. 

Why is this the case? 
The food of the American diet is more processed than ever before; specifically, the packaged products: bars, cereals, breads, frozen food, esentially everything in the middle isles of the grocery store. Additionally, the fruits and vegetables we grow in America do not have the nutrients in them they used to 100 years ago due to our present farming methods.  So, a multivitamin should just fix this right? With daily consumption of your typical over the counter oral multi-vitamin, the digestive system may still not be able to absorb all of the necessary nutrients and the multivitamin may not have everything that your body needs in it.  Getting IV Vitamin Therapy every week or every few weeks can benefit the entire body with improved vitality and health.

Are there any risks with receiving IV Nutrient Therapy? 
You want to make sure you go to a reputable IV Therapy Center. 
What makes a center reputable you ask? Here are some questions you may want to consider asking:
Do they have well trained staff? Is the facility clean? Are they particular about where they obtain their supplies and nutrients? Do they have a health care professional such as a Physician, Nurse Practioner or Physicians Assistant available for an emergency? If there is an emergency, do they maintain records, know your emergency contact, have a protocal they follow? Do they obtain adequate information about your health and history prior to giving the IV? Was thought put into the formulations of their IVs?  Are they claiming to treat specific medical conditions? If they are, there should be a qualified health care professional there to guide you through the process. 

If a person is looking for IV Nutrient Therapy as a treatment for a medical condition, it would be best to see a physician first to be evaluated for the specific treatment that will work best for the condition.   These are just some questions and things to consider prior to starting IV Vitamin Therapy. 

Other things to consider: Make sure to tell the staff if you have any allergies. People with allergies may have reactions to some of the nutrients in the IV.  Certain people may also have difficulty processing some of the nutrients and it is important that proper blood tests be performed before receiving high doses of nutrients, particularly Vitamin C.  It's always a good idea to discuss starting an IV Vitamin Program with your physician before starting.

There is always a small risk of infection anytime a needle passes through the skin, but with proper technique in administration, these risks are small. 

Most people tolerate IV Nutrient Therapy well and enjoy the benefits of it. 

Last Tips on IV Vitamin Therapy
One IV Nutrient treatment may make you feel great, but again if you have any medical conditions or nutrient deficiencies you are trying to address, you most likely will need more than one treatment and may benefit from an IV Therapy Treatment program. 

Some people have a defective enzyme called MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) that methylates (puts a carbon atom bonded to 3 hydrogen atoms) onto folate and B-12. If a patient has a defect in the MTHFR enzyme, then that patient may need different formulations of vitamins for their body. If you aren't sure if you have this, you may want to get screened for this first.  It is a simple DNA test that can be done though a cheek swab or blood test.  People that may have this defective MTHFR enzyme may be suffering from chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, mental fogginess, paresthesias, and other non specific symptoms.  

If you are interested in IV Vitamin Therapy and would like to learn more information on it, you can check out  If you would like to discuss the details of IV Vitamin Therapy and how it can help improve your health, you're welcome to come into FORM Medical for a consultation. Call us today at 720-370-9559.