Imagine coming down with a bad cold or a case of the flu. You feel rotten for days. Eventually, you find yourself tired of being sick. You want to get back to work. No, you want to get back to normal life. You turn to something known as intravenous nutrient therapy (INT) to do the trick. The next day, you feel normal again.
Although this scenario is fictional, plenty of INT proponents claim it is quite accurate. Those proponents include doctors, healthy living experts, athletes, and celebrities of every stripe. So what is the big deal? More importantly, does INT actually work, or is it just another health and wellness fad?
INT and the Myers’ Cocktail
Intravenous nutrient therapy is a therapy combining a typical IV drip with a cocktail of vitamins, minerals, and other substances. Weatherford, Texas based Lone Star Pain Medicine says that INT is often administered using something known as Myers’ Cocktail. This cocktail includes, among other things:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamins B6 and B12
- Vitamin B complex
- Calcium gluconate
- Magnesium chloride.
The cocktail is named after John Myers, M.D., a Baltimore doctor largely credited with originally developing INT. Proponents suggest that INT is an effective treatment for common colds, the flu, and a number of health conditions related to malnutrition or a lack of nutritional absorption. Lone Star sometimes recommends INT as a treatment for chronic pain.
The Logic Behind INT
It is said that the biggest benefit of INT is that the patient’s body is able to take full advantage of the nutritional value of the treatment cocktail. To understand why this might be, understanding what happens to nutrients when taken orally is necessary.
Let us say you took an oral vitamin cocktail similar to the Myers’ Cocktail. All the vitamins and minerals would have to pass through your digestive system. Along the way, some of the total volume would be absorbed by your body. However, not all of it gets absorbed. Some of it ends up being excreted through your waste.
As the thinking goes, feeding those same nutrients directly into your bloodstream gives your body the full value because you are bypassing the digestive system. It is a logical concept that has at least some validity to it.
Not a New Concept
IV therapies themselves are not a new concept. Doctors have been utilizing them for generations. In emergency medicine, for example, IV drips are often relied on to accomplish quick hydration and supply patients with much-needed medications to stabilize their conditions. Emergency room doctors utilize IV drips because they have proven to work.
If an IV drip can more effectively administer pain medication or a saline solution, it stands to reason it can also administer vitamins and minerals more effectively. As such, the questions surrounding INT are not really about delivery method or whether vitamins and minerals are more fully utilized by the body or not. The question is whether INT actually leads to shorter recovery times and better outcomes.
Plenty of Anecdotal Evidence
INT is considered an alternative therapy. As with all alternative therapies, there is little scientific evidence to back up its efficacy. Yet there is plenty of anecdotal evidence. That evidence should be considered before completely dismissing INT as quackery.
You may have not heard of INT prior to reading this post. On the other hand, you may be a fully knowledgeable proponent of the therapy. Either way, it is one of the hottest therapies in alternative medicine. People want it because they are convinced it will fix whatever ails them.