Intravenous nutrient infusions have been used for several decades by naturopathic physicians and many medical doctors practicing complementary and alternative medicine. Intravenous therapy can play a very important role in the treatment of many medical conditions including digestive disorders, hormonal imbalances, detoxification deficiencies, chronic pain, immune system disorders, neurological diseases, and mental/emotional conditions. There are a wide variety of intravenous cocktails that can be employed to treat a wide variety of medical conditions. As a naturopathic physician, I am excited about the use of intravenous therapies for five reasons:

First, nutrients administered intravenously bypass malfunctioning areas of the GI tract. This is a very significant feature. Oral supplementation is effective only when the body is able to digest and absorb the nutrients provided. When the digestive system is damaged, oral supplements may pass right through the body, but with intravenous administration, nutrients are directly absorbed into the bloodstream.

Second, nutrients administered intravenously go directly to all the cells of the body. Once the nutrients enter the bloodstream they become ubiquitous in the system within 10-30 seconds. This means that all the cells in the body, including inflamed or damaged intestinal cells, receive the nutrients.

Another feature of intravenous nutrient therapy is that it avoids first-pass metabolism in the liver. Nutrients consumed orally must go through the liver before they reach other cells in the body. If they pass through the liver they may be altered or metabolized by its enzyme systems. Nutrients administered intravenously are not immediately processed by the liver. They go directly to most cells in the body before entering the liver. This means that the purity of the nutrients delivered intravenously is higher.

A fourth benefit of intravenous administration is that it allows a physician to utilize doses of nutrients that typically cannot be administered or tolerated orally. For example, both vitamin C and magnesium induce diarrhea at relatively low oral doses. When they are administered intravenously the dose can be much higher, which results in a better therapeutic effect. This is true for many other nutrients as well.

 Finally, a large number of nutrients, including many vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and homeopathic remedies can be administered intravenously. Extensive research has shown intravenous delivery of nutrients to be the most effective method of nutritional supplementation for many conditions. Intravenous therapies make up an important part of my naturopathic practice, because I continue to see the effect of these five benefits in the recovery of my patients.