Succumbing to a simple viral infection once or twice a year is actually beneficial to one’s health as it keeps the immune response primed and operating efficiently. Our immune systems are designed to resolve most illnesses with little to no intervention, as extra rest and fluids are typically the only treatment needed. However, immune-compromising factors often prevail during the colder months: high stress levels, irregular sleep patterns, nutrient deficient diets, inadequate physical activity and detoxification, and frequent exposure to pathogens (infection-causing agents). This “perfect storm” results in an overwhelmed immune system, unremitting cold and flu symptoms, and susceptibility towards chronic illness or more complicated conditions, such as bronchitis or pneumonia. In these circumstances, Naturopaths can intervene with an array of therapies that help optimize the immune response without compromising the body’s innate ability to heal.
One such therapy is intravenous (IV) administration of immune-stimulating vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants, a particularly powerful and effective intervention for both acute and chronic illness. IV therapy works by introducing nutrient-rich solutions directly into the bloodstream, creating higher blood levels than is possible through oral intake. As a result, a significant concentration gradient is formed outside the cells, allowing for the easier passage of nutrients through the membrane, into the cell, where they help optimize cellular function. When the body is under stress, as it is while battling an illness, requirements for specific nutrients increase as the cell’s ability to maintain adequate levels decrease. The high concentration gradient achieved with IV therapy addresses this issue.
As an example: Vitamin C, an important component of most IV immune formulas, is used readily by the immune system. Studies have shown that vitamin C levels within our immune cells significantly decline within 24 hours of the onset of a cold, suggesting an increased utilization of vitamin C during an immune response but also implying a greater need for consistent replenishment of vitamin C during illness. Studies comparing IV administration to oral use of vitamin C found that the higher concentrations, only achievable with IV, more effectively and consistently shortened the duration of illness and decreased symptom severity (i.e. reduced incidence of malaise, fever, and chills).
An IV visit entails treatment provided in an IV suite, while reclining back in a comfortable lounger, as a physician gently administers a formula of nutrients directly into one’s vein. Depending on the amount of solution used, the physician may slowly “push” the nutrients into the vein, or, in the case of larger volumes of fluid, the solution “drips” into the vein via sterile tubing. Treatment times range from 30 minutes up to 2 hours. Overall the treatment is a relaxing process and many people feel immediate improvement of symptoms by the end of the treatment.
IV immune treatment works best when given at the first signs of a cold or flu, administered on two consecutive days, with an occasional 3rd treatment needed within the week. Preventive weekly or bi-monthly treatments may also be appropriate. People who struggle with their health this time of year may benefit greatly from IV therapy.*
* IV therapy is not appropriate for patients with particular health conditions. Screening lab work is often required prior to receiving treatment.