Intravenous (IV) Nutrient Therapy
IV (Intravenous) nutritional therapy is a form of injection therapy where vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other nutrients can be delivered directly into the bloodstream. Intravenous delivery of vitamin and minerals bypasses the gut helping to minimize any absorption issues that may occur with oral intake of these nutrients, particularly if individuals have a lot of digestive difficulties and irritation in their gut.
IV solution bags contain a variety of nutrients that when delivered into your blood at higher concentrations, move across your blood vessel walls into the tissues and cells of your body.
The addition of glutathione as a push can support detoxification pathways and the immune system. Glutathione is a major antioxidant in the body and is used in the detoxification pathway that eliminates alcohol, acetaminophen (Tylenol), estrogen, and other toxins or drugs
Great for those that have digestive issues and feel as though they don’t absorb nutrients from the foods they eat efficiently. A study was conducted to determine if the concentration of vitamin C in plasma varies based on the route of administration and it was found that peak plasma concentration of vitamin C was higher after administering an intravenous dose compared to administering an oral dose (1). In the study, they administered 1.25g (1250mg) vitamin C orally and intravenously and found:
- the peak plasma concentration to be 134.8 ± 20.6 µmol/L with oral administration (1) and
- 885 ± 201.2 µmol/L with intravenous administration (1).
Another example is carnitine, a vital nutrient for energy production. The bioavailability (absorption) of carnitine in the gut varies based on numerous factors including the composition of our gut microbiome or the bacterial balance in our gut (2).
IVs are not meant to be a long-term solution to improving your health.
Once you identify the root cause for your health problems, often IV treatments are not needed as frequently. For example, once you address digestive issues so you can absorb the nutrients from whole foods efficiently, the more energy you will feel and IVs can become monthly maintenance unless you need rapid energy or immune boost.
Addressing your hormones and other aspects of health can play a role in your energy levels, sports performance, and immune health as well. This is why getting an IV through a naturopathic clinic is different than getting an IV at an IV drip lounge – the naturopathic doctor works with you to address the root cause so that you don’t need to continuously be relying on IVs for an energy boost or to support your immune system.
IVs, when used for health reasons, are usually not a one-time treatment
IVs for optimizing health can be a one-time treatment or done on an as needed basis
If the IV is recommended on a therapeutic basis, as part of your treatment plan by a naturopathic doctor, more than one treatment is usually recommended to restore deficient levels
Fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients are usually not delivered via IV
Vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, and K will not be part of your IV formula usually and these are best taken orally with a meal containing some form of healthy fat.
Prior to booking your IV treatment, an initial appointment is required. This is a naturopathic initial visit (90 minutes) where we go over your presenting health concern(s) and the rest of your medical history, a full review of systems, and, conduct necessary physical exams. This helps to establish a comprehensive, holistic naturopathic treatment plan that is best for you and your current health status. It also enables the IV treatment to be better formulated to meet your individual needs.
If you are not feeling quite as ready to commit to naturopathic medicine yet, but want to try out IV nutrient therapy because you have heard about it elsewhere before, please book an IV initial consult (30 minutes) prior to your IV treatment. This is necessary so we can do a brief review of your health, medications, and allergies for the safe administration of the IV.
If you are already an existing patient of Dr. Shah and have seen Dr. Shah within the last year, you are welcome to go ahead and just book the IV treatment you would like.
IV therapy appointments can be booked at Ascent integrative Health by calling 403-262-1121 OR booking online here
Blood tests are key for administering IVs, especially when administering nutrients such as high dose Vitamin C and amino acids.
If you have recent blood tests with you, please bring them to your appointment. If you haven’t had blood tests done within the last year, Dr. Shah will often recommend certain blood tests to be done before administering certain nutrients intravenously. For example, if you haven’t had liver and kidney function tests done within the last year, you may be required to have these done prior to receiving the ActIVe IV therapy as this formula contains amino acids (this is why new patients require an initial appointment first to review the need for blood tests).
The following are the basic blood tests generally recommended:
Liver function tests (ALT, AST, GGT, ALP)
Kidney function assessment (eGFR, serum creatinine, serum albumin)
Electrolytes (sodium, chloride, potassium)
Fasting blood glucose
Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (for high dose vitamin C)
Please make sure you have eaten something within the last two hours and are well-hydrated. Bring a bottle of water with you to drink during the treatment. This will help reduce any possible complications from IV therapy such as nausea, vomiting, fainting, or dehydration.
While the IVs may help with hangovers due to the electrolyte and B vitamin content, if you are feeling hungover and/or nauseous or unwell, please reschedule your IV for another day.
Bring something to do or read while you are hooked up to the IV.
You may have an option to watch Netflix during your IV treatment.
Please plan to be in the clinic for 1.5-2 hours receiving your IV (some people may drip faster or slower than others). If you choose the ActIVe IV, this is a 500mL bag of fluid so sometimes it can take 2.5 hours.
Depending on your health status, the frequency of IVs varies. Some, who are very deficient in vitamins and minerals and have a significant problem with absorption of nutrients taken orally due to digestive concerns may benefit from a multivitamin IV once a week for the first few weeks.
Those that are looking for health optimization, immune boosting, or an energy boost can opt for an IV once a month or as needed.
Please call the clinic 24 hours prior to your appointment to cancel to avoid being charged the fee for the IV treatment. This is due to IV bags being prepared ahead of your treatment.
- Padayatty SJ MRCP, PhD, Sun H PhD, CBS, Wang Y MD, Riordan HD MD, Hewitt SM, MD, PhD, Katz A, MD, Wesley RA PhD, Levine M MD. Vitamin C pharmacokinetics: implications for oral and intravenous use. Ann Intern Med. 2004;140(7):533-537.
- Sanchez-Niño MD, Ortiz A. Differential effects of oral and intravenous L-carnitine on serum lipids: is the microbiota the answer? Clin Kidney J. 2014;7(5):437-441