What is Intravenous Nutrition Treatment (IVNT)?
IVNT is an elective, adjunctive treatment in which the delivery of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants to a patient by way of the intravenous, or parenteral, route of administration. The purpose of IVNT is to deliver these nutrients in high concentrations to the body tissues and cells in a manner which bypasses the GI tract (i.e., the oral route of administration). All nutrients taken via the oral route (by mouth) once absorbed into the bloodstream of the small intestine are transported immediately to the liver by way of the portal vein. In the liver, they must “undergo screening” by liver enzymes which in some cases will render them less effective or even ineffective. This screening process is known as the “1st-pass effect”*. IVNT allows for the delivery of high concentrations of nutrients to the body tissues/cells without the 1st-pass effect.
*although typically used to describe this process with external drugs/pharmaceuticals, this principle holds true for the vast majority of substances taken orally.
What is the Theory behind this Intravenous Nutritional Therapy?
As stated above, the purpose of IVNT is to deliver these nutrients in high concentrations to the body tissues and cells in a manner which bypasses the GI tract, thus allowing for the delivery of high concentrations of nutrients to the body tissues/cells without the 1st-pass effect. It is believed some chronic medical illnesses and clinical conditions are either caused by or potentially exacerbated from low or deficient levels of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and/or anti-oxidants in the “interstitial fluid” or “extra-cellular matrix” (which is the space between cells and tissues.) This belief has been supported by decades of the safe and mindful practice of medicine by physicians attempting to help patients whose conditions didn’t seem to respond adequately to conventional allopathic treatments. Thus, through careful “trial and error” with tens-of-thousands of consenting patients over decades, many of these treatments were shown to be effective in certain clinical conditions, further supporting the theory.
What’s in the “Myers’ Cocktail” & Does it hurt?
The classic Myers’ Cocktail consists of a well-tested mixture of magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, and an assortment of B vitamins – including methylated B12, B5 & B6 - diluted in sterile water. The total amount of solution is infused either slowly into a vein in your arm over about 20-45 minutes, or more quickly as a “slow IV push” (over a couple of minutes), to achieve high interstitial concentrations of nutrients that are not obtainable with oral administration. The 2 most common side effects reported by patients are NOT painful nor unpleasant, but rather “sensations” of:
Who might benefit from adjunctive IVNT with Myers’ Cocktail?
Patients with following have been noted to improve clinically:
Adrenal Fatigue / Dysfunction
Athletes/Athletic performance – particularly endurance: marathoners, triathletes, etc.
Allergies / Allergic Rhinitis
Anxiety / Anxious mood
Acute viral illness: common cold, upper respiratory infections, and the Flu.
Chronic infections: Epstein-Barr Virus (post-Mononucleosis), Lyme Disease
Fatigue / Chronic Fatigue
Fibromyalgia / Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Muscle spasms / muscle soreness
What is the History of the Myers’ Cocktail?
As noted above, Dr. John Myers was a noted Internal Medicine physician from Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland who believed the inability of the GI tract to properly and adequately absorb vitamins and minerals, led to deficient and inadequate states of these nutrients in the extra-cellular matrix / interstitial space, which lead to chronic disease and illness. This led him to begin experimenting first on animals, secondly on himself, and finally on consenting patients with chronic illness.
Dr. Myers noted, chronicled, and published the beneficial effects of his “cocktail” with specific patients, with the help of his colleague and apprentice, Dr. Alan R. Gaby, MD, who eventually took over Dr. Myers’ clinic and patients upon his death. Dr. Gaby continued the work of Dr. Myers and is now considered a renowned nutritional medicine expert and major proponent of IV Nutrition treatment. Working with these patients, Dr. Gaby found that Dr. Myers had been successful in treating a surprisingly large number of clinical conditions with this nutrient infusion. If patients have difficulty digesting food, have altered stomach pH, leaky gut or simply do not absorb or receive full benefit from taking oral vitamin pills, they may respond well to an IV nutritional regimen. For other patients, this therapy provides a targeted treatment for a variety of medical conditions.
Dr. Gaby’s clinical experience with over 15,000 infusions of Myers’ Cocktail has suggested that it can be clinically effective against acute asthma attacks, migraines, fatigue (including chronic fatigue syndrome), fibromyalgia, acute muscle spasms, colds, viral infections, chronic sinusitis, seasonal allergies, chronic depression/anxiety, adrenal fatigue and other disorders. Other patients without current disease, such as athletes, have also felt the benefits of higher level micronutrient replacement for both preparation and recovery from exercise and training.
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione (GSH)– aka, “The Master Anti-Oxidant”, aka, “the Holy Grail of medicine” (as per Dr. Bond) - is an extremely important molecule found in every human cell, and acts as the main intracellular protector against oxidative stress. It is a tri-peptide amino acid (glutamate-cysteine-glycine) which acts to prevent damage to important cellular components by “Reactive Oxygen Species” (ROS), such as, free-radicals, peroxides, and heavy metals. Glutathione (GSH) acts as our body’s most powerful antioxidant – both directly & indirectly - to preserve and protect ALL cells in the body from “rusting” or oxidation. Because Glutathione is 1 of only 4 main “anti-rusting”/anti-oxidative systems in our body,
Declining, dysfunction, inadequate levels of intracellular GSH can be devastating! In fact, nearly every chronic debilitating human disease is associated with low Glutathione? This is not to imply an absolute causal relationship, but there is no doubt some value in this information. GSH can directly act as a powerful anti-oxidant by accepting protons from ROS/free radicals, thus neutralizing their ability to cause cellular damage. It can also act as a “secondary anti-oxidant” via “recycling” vitamins C & E, which in turn act to neutralize free radical damage to our cells and DNA. Glutathione/GSH is THE primary protectant of skin, lens, cornea, and retina against radiation damage, as well as, detoxification pathways in the liver, kidneys, lungs, intestinal, skin and other organs that help our bodies to rid itself of everyday toxin exposure (chemicals, drugs, metabolic waste, radiation and even carcinogens.) The MAJORITY OF CHRONIC, NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES (such as Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis) have even been linked to low glutathione levels!
WHY NOT JUST TAKE GLUTATHIOINE ORALLY? Because GSH has very poor absorption and is quickly broken down by protease enzymes when taken orally. The IV delivery of GSH is far superior and can be actively utilized by the cells.
What is “IV Vitamin C”?
Vitamin C (also called L-ascorbic acid or ascorbate) is an essential nutrient that humans must get from food or dietary supplements since it cannot be made in the body. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps prevent oxidative stress/damage from ROS / “free radicals”. It also works with enzymes to play a key role in the making of collagen – a main ingredient/component of all connective tissues.
When taken by intravenous (IV) infusion, vitamin C can reach much higher levels in the blood than when it is taken by mouth. Studies suggest that these higher levels of vitamin C may cause the death of cancer cells in the laboratory.
What is the history and use of high-dose oral and/or IV Vitamin C as a complementary and alternative treatment for Cancer?
High-dose vitamin C has been studied as a treatment for patients with cancer since the 1970s. A Scottish surgeon named Ewan Cameron worked with Nobel Prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling to study the possible benefits of vitamin C therapy in clinical trials of cancer patients in the late 1970s and early 1980's.
What is the theory behind the claim that high-dose Vitamin C is useful in treating cancer?
More than fifty years ago, a study by McCormick suggested that cancer was a disease of changes in connective tissue, caused by a lack of vitamin C. In the 1970's, it was proposed that high-dose ascorbic acid could help build resistance to disease or infection, and possibly treat cancer. Later studies showed that the levels of vitamin C that collect in the bloodstream depend on how it is taken.
Many laboratory studies have been done to find high-dose vitamin C may cause the death of cancer cells. The anticancer effect of vitamin C in different types of cancer cells involves a chemical reaction that makes hydrogen peroxide, which may kill cancer cells.
Laboratory studies have shown the following:
a. Treatment with high-dose vitamin C slowed the growth and spread of prostate, pancreatic, liver, colon, malignant mesothelioma, neuroblastoma, and other types of cancer cells.
b. Combining high-dose vitamin C with certain types of chemotherapy may be more effective than chemotherapy alone:
i. Ascorbic acid with arsenic trioxide may be more effective in ovarian cancer cells.
ii. Ascorbic acid with gemcitabine may be more effective in pancreatic cancer cells.
iii. Ascorbic acid with gemcitabine and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) may be more effective in malignant mesothelioma cells.
c. Another laboratory study suggested that combining high-dose vitamin C with radiation therapy killed more glioblastoma multiforme cells than radiation therapy alone.
Have any clinical trials (research studies with people) of high-dose intravenous (IV) vitamin C
Several studies of high-dose vitamin C in patients with cancer Studies of IV Vitamin C alone*
a. Intravenous (IV) vitamin C was studied in patients with breast cancer who were treated with adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The study found that patients who received IV vitamin C had better quality of life and fewer side effects than those who did not.
b. A study of IV vitamin C and high doses of vitamin C taken by mouth was done in patients with cancer that could not be cured (“Terminal Cancer patients”). Vitamin C was shown to be a safe and effective therapy to improve quality of life in these patients, including physical, mental, and emotional functions, symptoms of fatigue, nausea and vomiting, pain, and appetite loss.
c. Vitamin C has been shown to be safe when given to healthy volunteers and cancer patients at doses up to 1.5 g/kg, while screening out patients with certain risk factors who should avoid vitamin C. Studies have also shown that Vitamin C levels in the blood are higher when taken by IV than when taken by mouth, and last for more than 4 hours.
Studies of IV Vitamin C combined with other drugs*
Studies of vitamin C combined with other drugs have shown mixed results:
d. In a small study of 14 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, IV vitamin C was given along with chemotherapy and treatment with a targeted therapy. Patients had very few bad side effects from the vitamin C treatment. The nine patients who completed the treatment had stable disease as shown by imaging studies.
e. In another small study of 9 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, patients were given chemotherapy in treatment cycles of once per week for 3 weeks along with IV vitamin C twice per week for 4 weeks. These patients had disease that did not progress for a period of months. The combined treatment was well tolerated and no serious side effects were reported.
f. In a 2014 study of 27 patients with advanced ovarian cancer, treatment with chemotherapy alone was compared to chemotherapy along with IV vitamin C. Patients who received IV vitamin C along with chemotherapy had fewer serious side effects from the chemotherapy.
*all studies cited here were taken from the National Cancer Institute, division of the NIH (National Institute of Health)