Caroline Sutherland | Do You Believe in IV Vitamin Therapy?
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Do You Believe in IV Vitamin Therapy?

Do You Believe in IV Vitamin Therapy?

Whenever I feel those niggling signs that I am coming down with a cold, I go directly to my naturopathic physician for an IV vitamin C infusion. It works every time! But for a lot of people, sticking a needle in your arm for a large dose of vitamins isn’t the pick-me-up of choice for most of us. This is changing as the aging process forces health-conscious people to seek for alternatives to maximize their health. For example, in Hollywood North, Vancouver BC, mobile IV services can bring an IV vitamin C infusion or a Meyer’s Cocktail, to you! Every few weeks the mobile unit will come to your office and you can hook up to a drip, if you are willing to pay about $100 for the process.

“A lot of people probably look at the things I’m doing and think I’m crazy. Their version of health is reactive and this is definitely proactive,” says one IV client. “It’s contrary to their view of health. Most people think about health when they have problem.”

That’s exactly the mindset that pulls some people toward alternative approaches like intravenous drips, says Bernie Garrett, a professor in the University of British Columbia’s School of Nursing who studies deceptive health-care practices.

“There’s a substantial growth in the marketing at these designer and boutique therapies, particularly by alternative health practitioners such as naturopaths, and they’re aimed people who want to try experimental things that aren’t available in mainstream medicine and have the money to do so. That makes a substantial market.”

But IV therapy remains among the most-promoted services of naturopaths in Canada and the United States. The most commonly offered infusion is known as the Myers’ cocktail, named for developer Dr. John Myers of Baltimore, who championed it in the 1970s as a cure for everything from fatigue to asthma. It contains magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin C. Other IV drips marketed as disease-prevention tools include glutathione, an antioxidant naturally produced by cells in the body.

IV clients range from tired mothers and stressed executives to people training for a sporting competition, as well as people undergoing cancer treatment. But it should be noted that non-emergency IVs are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency among elite athletes because they can mask performance-enhancing drugs.

A 2009 American study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine looked at the effectiveness of IV micronutrients, specifically the Myers’ cocktail, for treating those with fibromyalgia syndrome. Both study groups – one of which had been given micronutrients, while the other had been given a placebo – reported experiencing relief. But researchers reported there were “no statistically significant differences” that proved the micronutrients was any more effective than a placebo or other treatments. Judging by the popularity of the treatments – they must be working for some people!

However, I believe in the therapy – what about you?

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