would a physician want to give an injection of vitamins, minerals,
or other beneficial substances when they could prescribe the same
combination via the oral route for less cost and discomfort to the
patient? If the physician is not sure of a reasonable answer to
that question, then they should take a closer look at the many advantages
versus the disadvantages of parenteral micronutrient therapy.
When a person becomes ill, he or she does not have the same energy
as when well and healthy. Absorption and transport of nutrients
takes energy, so perhaps that is one reason family doctors have
recommended simple, easily digested foods when a person comes down
with a cold or flu. As people age, the ability to absorb nutrients
also decreases, and this is due to a gradual decrease in the secretion
of gastric hydrochloric acid and, in turn, pancreatic enzymes needed
to break down food or supplements so that intestinal absorption
There is an easy and safe method to avoid the nutrient deficiencies
brought on by absorption problems and energy deficits associated
with aging and illness, and that method is parenteral micronutrient
therapy. Parenteral micronutrient therapy, or IV micronutrient therapy,
as it is commonly known, has a long safety record. The relative
absence of adverse reactions is due to the fact that the infused
substances are naturally occurring – that is, they are essential
nutrients required for the optimal functioning of the human body.
The molecules are relatively simple and thus have low antigenicity
and potential for hypersensitivity. Getting the nutrient into the
target cell is more assured, because it is delivered directly into
the body's circulation. A high-concentration gradient can
be achieved, and osmotic mechanisms can act in concert with energy
The disadvantages of IV therapy are higher cost, more time required
to administer the IV, and discomfort to the patient (including the
needle stick and possible vein discomfort secondary to osmotic and
pH irritation of the vein). There are rare adverse reactions that
can occur, including hypersensitivity reactions, phlebitis, and
thrombosis. Inadequate knowledge or poor application of technique
on the part of the physician can lead to infiltration of IV fluids,
electrolyte imbalance, circulatory overload, symptoms of nutrient
overdose due to both total dose and too high infusion rate and other
less common problems.5 A well-trained and experienced physician
can avoid most of these problems and can treat them effectively
if they do occur.
There is an aphorism known as Pfeiffer's Law that is applicable:
"We have found that if a drug can be found to do the job of
medical healing, a nutrient can be found to do the same job. When
we understand how a drug works, we can imitate its action with one
of the nutrients." This statement taken in isolation can imply
the allopathic application of nutrients, however, a good physician
will always support IV micronutrient therapy with beneficial diet,
lifestyle, and broad-spectrum oral supplement recommendations. The
advantage of using nutrients, herbal extracts, and other naturally
derived parenteral substances is the lack of side effects. The principle
reason for nutritional IV therapy is to supply elements of normal
body metabolism and those required for resolution of illness. When
patients are acutely or chronically ill, they often need a jump-start
consisting of a high concentration of nutrients to get them on the
road to healing, or they need the pharmacological effect of a high-dose
nutrient such as vitamin C or glutathione.
The choice of what products to include in an IV infusion needs to
be based on three main factors: a deficiency of any nutrient elicited
from history, symptoms, or testing; necessary cofactors to ensure
proper metabolism and action of a product; and the known action
of a nutrient or product on a disease process. An example of the
first factor would be magnesium deficiency, as many or most patients
are magnesium-deficient secondary to poor dietary choices, poor
food quality, or malabsorption. Their symptoms could include muscle
cramps, abdominal cramping, or migraine headaches.6 An IV push containing
1500 mg magnesium sulfate or an IV drip containing up to 3000 mg
can bring dramatic relief from their symptoms. Some patients will
tolerate the treatment better when the amino acid taurine is included,
as taurine aids magnesium transport into the target cells.7
The second factor is exemplified by the use of amino acids, either
as combination products or singly in the IV solution. Pyridoxine,
vitamin B6, is the most important vitamin for amino acid metabolism,
as vitamin B6 is a cofactor for transaminase enzymes that metabolize
A case of liver cirrhosis can be used to illustrate the third factor.
A 56-year-old male presented to the clinic on recommendation of
his hepatologist with the suggestion that "perhaps the naturopaths
can help you." The hepatologist also suggested that the patient
would require hospice care within three to four months secondary
to hepatic encephalopathy. The patient was put on a whole-foods
diet with lowered protein and prescribed liver support herbs, including
milk thistle, curcumin, dandelion root, and licorice root. At the
start of IV therapy, his lab results were as follows:
BUN 7 mg/dL
Albumin 3.4 mg/dL
Total bili 1.6 mg/dL
GGT 85 U/L
ALT 70 U/L
Ammonia 68 micro-mol/L
IV therapy consisted of two phosphatidylcholine drips (500 mg phosphatidylcholine
in 250 mL D5W) weekly for three months, interspersed with 35 mL
IV pushes (B-vitamins and minerals). At the end of this period,
lab results were as follows:
BUN 16 mg/dL
Total bili 1.3 mg/dL
GGT 51 U/L
ALT 39 U/L
Ammonia 32 micro-mol/L
For the next three months, the patient
was supported with phosphatidylcholine drips and an IV push alternating
every other week. Six months after commencing IV therapy, this patient
was doing well and showing no mental decline. The IV phosphatidylcholine
was able to help heal the liver cells by replacing defective phospholipids
within the cell membranes.9,10 Using the right approach to correct
biochemical abnormalities brought on by the cirrhotic liver resulted
in a favorable outcome.
Case Examples of Applied IV Micronutrient Therapy:
From Simple IVs to More Complex
Case 1: A
76-year-old male presented with extreme muscular weakness, confusion,
and difficulty walking and talking. Family members had driven him
to the clinic and had to assist him in walking and sitting down.
His vital signs were within normal limits, and his family gave consent
for an IV push.11 The push consisted of 100 mg calcium gluconate,
1500 mg magnesium sulfate, 250 mg dexpanthenol, 100 mg pyridoxine,
1000 mcg hydroxocobalamin, 1 cc B complex, and 2000 mg ascorbic
acid diluted in 23 cc sterile water. The push was administered at
2 cc per minute, and the patient tolerated the treatment well. By
the completion of the treatment, the patient was more alert and
talking clearly. After completion of post-treatment vitals signs,
the patient stated that he could stand and walk on his own. At a
follow-up visit for another IV push, the patient stated that he
had driven himself to the clinic and felt better than he had for
Case 2: A
couple in their mid-40s came in complaining of flu-like symptoms
that they had been experiencing over the past three months. During
their intake, they stated, "Never able to completely get rid
of it," and "We've been passing it back and forth."
They had heard from a friend who had success with IV therapy and
thought they would give it a try. A complete intake, blood tests,
and physical assessment were completed. Diet consisted of a variety
of organic foods. Labs for one showed increased LDL (149 mg/dL)
and total cholesterol (217 mg/dL), the other elevated glucose (111
mg/dL) and creatinine (1.3 mg/dL). All other labs and vital signs
were within normal limits. Each patient had multiple long-term complaints
that were addressed after the immune-supporting IV and oral treatments
had been given.
The initial IV was an IV Immune push: magnesium sulfate 500 mg/cc,
3 cc; calcium gluconate 100 mg/cc, 3cc; selenium 200 mcg/cc,1cc;
pyridoxine 100mg/cc,1cc; dexpanthenol 250mg/cc, 1cc; B-complex 100,
1cc; ascorbic acid 500 mg/cc, 4cc; hydrochloric acid 1:500, 3 cc;
sterile water 42cc. They noted improvement by the end of the visit.
In addition, they were given a multiple vitamin, an immune-support
supplement, and immune-support tincture. The IV push was repeated
another 24 hours later, and they stated they were feeling much improved.
Returning on the third day, they felt "great." Follow-up
visits continued for addressing the chronic conditions.
Case 3: A
34-year-old female called the clinic asking if there were any reliable
treatments for what she thought was acute infectious mononucleosis.12,13
High-dose vitamin C was suggested, and the patient agreed to be
seen. The patient presented with extreme fatigue of two-weeks duration.
Physical examination revealed significant tender lymph node swelling
in the neck, pharyngitis and a fever of 102ºF. Lab tests were
ordered and showed a WBC count of 14,400 with absolute lymphocytosis;
AST enzyme was slightly increased; and ALT enzyme was about three
times the upper limit of normal and heterophil antibodies were positive.
A red blood cell G6PD test was normal, indicating that high-dose
vitamin C could be administered safely. The first IV consisted of
25 grams ascorbic acid; 4 cc 10% calcium gluconate; 6 cc 50% magnesium
sulfate; 400 mcg selenium; 10 mg zinc sulfate; 250 mg dexpanthenol;100
mg pyridoxine; 2000 mcg hydroxocobalamin; 2 cc B complex; and 5
cc 8.4% sodium bicarbonate in 500 cc sterile water. This protocol
was administered over four hours. Follow-up was two days later,
and the patient remarked she felt better. Another IV was administered,
the only change being ascorbic acid was increased to 50 grams. This
same high-dose vitamin C protocol was administered twice more the
following week.14 After the fourth IV, the patient stated that she
felt well and wanted to return to work. There were no sequelae on
follow-up three months later.
Case 4: A
91-year-old female with a chief complaint of age-related macular
degeneration came to the clinic for treatment after reading an article
about her condition in the Nutrition & Healing Newsletter by
Jonathan Wright, MD. The patient was vital, clear-thinking, and
delightful to interact with. Her only significant health abnormality
was poor eyesight.15 Vision was checked with a Snellen eye chart
with the patient standing five feet away. The first line she could
read clearly with her glasses on was 20/100. She agreed to twice
weekly treatments with an IV protocol consisting of 2500 mg ascorbic
acid; 800 mcg selenium; 20 mg zinc sulfate; 250 mg dexpanthenol;
200 mg pyridoxine; 2 cc B complex; 600 mg glutathione (increased
to 1500 mg for subsequent IVs); 250 mg taurine; and 50,000 IU vitamin
A in 200 cc normal saline in a glass IV bottle.16,17 This protocol
was given at 4-5 cc per minute. Her vision was checked with the
Snellen chart after each treatment, and after the sixth treatment,
she was able to read the 20/50 line. After six weeks, treatments
were done at weekly intervals for one month, then every other week
for one month. The patient then maintained acceptable vision with
monthly treatments. Typically, she could read two lines smaller
on the eye chart after the IV and commented that traffic signs were
readable as her daughter drove her home.
Case 5: Neuro
A 72-year-old with five-year history of progressive supranuclear
palsy complained of symptoms including decreased leg strength, balance
problems, trouble swallowing liquids, hypophonia and unclear speech,
and abnormal vertical gaze. Neurological examination included mental
state, which was affected (25/30); cranial nerves showing impairment
of downgaze; inability to walk on toes or heels; hyper-reflexic
reflexes; rapid alternating movements performed slowly; no abnormalities
of sensation. Significant lab values include a normocytic anemia
with hemoglobin 11.9 G/dL and increased blood lead and mercury.
A DMPS provocation test was performed, and urine collected for six
hours to better estimate body burden of toxic metals. The urine
toxic metals test revealed increased levels of lead, mercury, and
arsenic. Five DMPS chelation infusions were performed: 450 ml sterile
water; 12 grams ascorbic acid; 1 gram magnesium sulfate; 500 mg
dexpanthenol; 200 mg pyridoxine; 2000 mcg hydroxocobalamin; and
1 ml B-complex 100. After the IV drip was established, 250 mg DMPS
was pushed through the Y-port over 12-15 minutes. At the end of
the drip, 2000 mg glutathione was pushed at a rate tolerated by
the patient.22 During each chelation, the patient's symptoms
would decrease: speech was clearer, and movement was more coordinated.
Two days after each chelation session, the patient received a nutrient
replacement infusion. A follow-up DMPS provocation test showed all
toxic metals within the reference range.23,24 The patient's
overall condition had improved markedly.
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