73 – IV Nutrient Therapy
written by Jasmine Bray-Mak (Naturopathic Doctor) on 04/03/21
What is IV Nutrient therapy and how does it work?
Nutrient-Enriched IV Drip (IV Therapy) delivers high dose nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids directly into the bloodstream. Once infused in the bloodstream, these nutrients travel all over to different cells in the body, where they use concentration gradients to infuse and enrich cells, which encourages optimal functioning. When we compare the absorption rate of nutrients that are taken orally (supplements) to those taken in through IV therapy, IV therapy is significantly superior. Nutrients are almost completely absorbed in IV therapy (~100%), where as most individuals absorb approximately 30% of nutrients taken orally. IV nutrient therapy is the most effective and quickest way to feel the benefits of these nutrients while also giving the digestive system, liver and metabolic system a bit of rest.
Having this nutrient-rich infusion running through your veins is one of the most powerful ways to encourage optimal health because we are saturating your blood with high quality vitamins that are compounded in a pharmacy. These nutrients are the building blocks of neurotransmitters, hormones, blood cells and cellular energy. This is important when it comes down to cellular health as many of us have various obstacles, like oxidative stress and malabsorption issues, that can limit nutrient absorption. These limitations are bypassed with IV nutrient therapy by using the concentration gradients that exist within our bodies, allowing us to safely move these nutrients from areas of high concentration (outside of the cell/in your veins) to areas of lower concentration (inside the cell), without using cellular energy to move them across the cell wall. This is where it really matters, as biochemical and enzymatic reactions are mostly performed within a cell, and many of these nutrients are required as cofactors and catalysts for these reactions to occur. Therefore, when we provide the cell with lots of the good stuff, we can achieve optimal physiological functioning and feel our best.
Each IV Drip delivers high-dose nutrients that your body needs, encouraging optimal health and wellness. It works immediately with custom-made solutions to address your individual needs and health concerns.
Step-by-Step and What to Expect:
Intake: The intake is a necessary 30 minute appointment in which your naturopathic doctor will evaluate if you are a good candidate for IV nutrient therapy, address your health concerns so the nutrients in your IV bag can be customized to your needs, and allows for a safety screening to ensure all risk factors are addressed prior to administration.
Pre-Treatment Care: Make sure you’ve had something to eat prior to your appointment to prevent nausea and vomiting. You may want to bring a water bottle and something to keep you occupied throughout your appointment.
Your IV Appointment: When you arrive for your IV Therapy appointment, you can expect to have your vitals checked both before and after the appointment. Before administering the IV, there are some routine screening questions and we make sure you’re in a comfortable position. Once you’re all ready to go, the administration takes about 3 minutes. You’ll feel a small prick as the needle is inserted. Once we are in the right location, a catheter slides off the top of the needle and the needle is retracted. This means that there is no needle in your arm for the duration of the treatment, and it’s safe to bend your arm or use the bathroom while you received your IV Nutrient Bag (although kinks in the line may slow your drip a little bit). A drip can take anywhere from 20-45 minutes, depending on the size of the bag, the nutrients in your customized bag, your vein diameter and comfort level. Things that may occur during insertion include bruising, vein irritation, and discomfort with administration. It’s important to always communicate any discomfort you have to ensure you receive the best care.
Aftercare instructions: You should leave the bandage on for at least 15 minutes after your treatment, and keep the puncture site area clean and dry after you remove your bandage. Avoid showering or bathing for at least an hour and avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours after you treatment.
While IV therapy is safe for appropriate candidates, some potential risks and common side effects can include things like bruising, discomfort, infection, vein irritation and inflammation at the site of injection. You may feel an achy sensation if you have a smaller vein diameter or have irritation from the nutrients being administered. Nausea can occur if you haven’t had something to eat prior to your IV appointment. Other side effects include allergic reactions to the compounded nutrients, mild sleepiness when the IV is finished, or fainting, increased perspiration and low blood pressure when the IV is administered too fast. Occasionally infiltration may occur, which is when fluids from the IV bag leak out of the vein and into surrounding tissues – if this occurs it’s important to just inform the person administering your IV so they can make adjustments. You would feel some mild discomfort and would be able to see some mild swelling.
Some more rare but serious risks can include heart attack or pulmonary embolism if the IV is not administered properly (occurs when there is a large air bubble in your IV line). Patients with congestive heart failure can be at risk for fluid over-load, and patients with kidney disorders should be properly evaluated to ensure safe administration and prescription. Naturopathic Doctors who are licensed to practice IV therapy are required to have emergency response training and equipment like an AED, oxygen tank and a variety of different medications, to address these more serious outcomes, should they occur. However, IV Therapy is a fairly safe procedure, with minimal risks, when performed by a trained and licensed professional who has reviewed your medical history.
Are all nutrients better to get through an IV?
The short answer – no – some vitamins like folate, B12, and vitamin D give better results when they are injected intramuscularly (IM) into your arm or glutes. IV bags typically contain smaller amounts of all your B vitamins to saturate the bloodstream and allow for the IM shot to hold its benefits for a longer duration of time. These intramuscular shots can be added to any IV appointment for an added boost of energy and to make the benefits of the IV bag last longer. Another booster you can get with your nutrient-enriched IV bag includes glutathione. Glutathione works by stimulating your immune cells, supports brain function and is a powerful antioxidant used to reduce inflammation and promote cellular detoxification. All of the nutrients are recommended on an individual basis, depending on health goals, bloodwork, and safety.
What nutrients are currently available through IV Therapy and who can benefit:
Anyone can benefit from IV nutrient therapy if they are an appropriate candidate. We offer a variety of different IV formulas to support each specific concerns. The can address a wide variety of concerns – a few examples include energy and productivity, brain fog, depression, anxiety, immune health, stress support, hormone balance, mosquito repellant, hangover recovery and detoxification, asthma, skin health and healthy aging, athletic muscle recovery, autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, gut health, malabsorption/digestive issues, pregnancy and fertility.
Some of the nutrients currently available through IV administration include:
- Vitamin C
- B Vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 and Folate)
- and more with continued education and training
* Note that IV Nutrient therapy can be partially or fully covered through your Naturopathic Medicine Health Benefits or Health Spending Account. Please contact your insurance provider to find out more about your coverage.
If you’re curious if IV nutrient therapy is something you could add to your healthcare practice, please reach out through email, phone, Instagram, Facebook, the Safe Harbour Therapy website or Dr. Jasmine’s personal website for a free discovery consult or IV initial assessment (links and information provided below).
Dr. Jasmine Bray-Mak’s Website: jasminebraymaknd.com