Do I Really Need an IV?

By Sunao Gilbert, MD, FAARFM, ABAARM

The body consists of approximately 100 trillion cells and in one cell there are 10 billion chemical reactions occurring every second!!!

Please take a moment to think about that. The enormity of this number makes it almost impossible to fathom the complexity of nutritive components required to not only sustain life (metabolism), but for the body to grow and repair itself.

Imagine the nutritive requirement if you have a chronic illness and are taking multiple medications; recovering from surgery; or even attempting to get over a simple cold. Therefore, the science of IV therapy begins with an understanding of the cell.

When we think about good nutrition and optimal health the last thing most of us think about is the cell, but it is the first thing we should think about. All first-rate nutrition begins at the cellular level. The health and proper nutrition of the cell is critical to good body wellbeing.

We can eat all the right foods and have a normal blood chemistry (labs) but if our cells are not getting the suitable nutrients, our body will not function properly, which is expressed as symptoms. A rash is not caused by a deficiency of hydrocortisone cream or Benadryl; however, it could be caused by a deficiency in riboflavin (vitamin B2). Promoting cellular nutrition is the single most important life sustaining and life-giving measure we can take to guarantee optimal health.

As a biological system the human body is constantly protecting and detoxifying itself from free radicals, trauma, pesticides, herbicides, toxic metals, toxic chemicals, radiation, and pollution damage. Optimal detoxification is paramount to the maintenance of optimal health. The natural process of aging or senescence decreases the effectiveness of our natural repair (detoxification) mechanisms.

There is no magical formula for how many pollutants the body can handle before it becomes overwhelmed and begins to have symptoms (signs of toxicity). Everyone is different. Age, metabolism, health status, genetics, and interactions with other products (medications, chemicals, and toxins like plastics or aspartame) are a factor determining the kind and amount of toxins we can be exposed to before our bodies cry out for help (symptoms, illness or disease). The process of detoxification, the process of turning toxins into substances that the body can expel through the breath, sweat, urine and bowel movements requires many nutrients, cofactors, and vitamins to drive the chemical reactions forward that allow us to remain alive and feeling good.

In the late 1960’s it was postulated that random free radical damage in the cell is responsible for aging. A natural consequence of this theory was that antioxidants could prevent cell damage from free radical formation and slow the aging process.

The body’s natural defense to free radical formation is to produce antioxidants. When antioxidants are not available in sufficient quantities to counteract the effects of free radicals, excessive damage to the body’s fats, proteins and even the DNA and RNA housed in the nucleus of each cell occurs.

The body burden caused by free radicals is termed “oxidative stress”. As the amount of damage increases with age so does the rate of aging. Oxidative damage is postulated to cause a wide range of diseases at the level of organs and organ systems. Heart disease, cataracts, macular degeneration, immune diseases, Alzheimer’s and the cellular changes that lead to cancer are thought to be the result of high oxidative stress at the cellular level.

One answer to oxidative stress lies in optimizing cellular nutrition and providing an abundance of antioxidants. Although it is generally believed that there can never be enough antioxidants available to counteract all of the effects of free radical damage, having an abundance of antioxidants is anti-aging.
Barring all of the intestinal problems like IBS, Celiac disease, bariatric surgery, Chron’s disease, GERD leading to the use of PPIs, and many others, aging by itself, leads to a decrease in the efficiency of the GI tract to absorb nutrients. For instance, when we age, there is a natural decrease in secretion of pancreatic enzymes needed for complete digestion. Also, over time with wear and tear, the small intestines’ mucosal absorption surface area is reduced. Medications often also interfere with the absorption of nutrients in the intestine.

Current IV nutrition therapy focuses on reducing oxidative stress loads, replenishing vital nutrients necessary for effective detoxification and restoring the vitality of the cell membrane and nutrient flow.
Intravenous (IV) therapy is the most effective route to get vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential nutrients into your body. The reason is because the nutrients entirely bypass your digestive tract. Instead, via the intravenous route they enter your bloodstream directly.

Given all of the above reasons, please ask yourself, “Do I really need an IV”?

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