Although IV therapy isn’t a new concept–it’s been around for decades–there is a growing interest in its potential health benefits. The idea behind IV therapy, sometimes better described as IV nutrient therapy, is that receiving high concentrations of vitamins, amino acids, and other nutrients directly into the bloodstream may act as a preventive measure or even a treatment for certain diseases or illnesses. So, does it really work?
Your Guide to IV Therapy: How It Works and When to Use It
What Is IV Nutrient Therapy
Simply put, IV therapy is an extension of nutrient therapy, which follows the idea that large doses of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids can have a profoundly positive effect on your body’s ability to fight off viruses and bacteria. Most believe that you can just eat healthy foods and take vitamins. While these practices can certainly be helpful in improving your health, the problem is that most of us aren’t actually absorbing all of the nutrients that we’re putting into our bodies through food and supplements. The reason for this has to do with poor digestive health.
Key Reasons for Poor Digestive Health
It’s estimated that an astounding 80% of Americans do not possess a “normal” digestive system. This simply means that your body doesn’t have the capacity to properly digest and absorb nutrients, no matter how much of them you’re consuming. In general, there are two main reasons why you probably have an inefficient digestive system.
- Stress: In our modern, busy world, most of us are continually experiencing low-grade chronic stress. Our bodies simply aren’t designed to deal with that. When under stress, which was meant to alter our state and enhance the likelihood of survival, our bodies have no need to perform secondary functions (to survival) like reproduction and digestion. So those, among others, shut down. Hence, the common problems many of us face with absorbing nutrients.
- Widespread antibiotic use: The truth is, even if you’re not taking antibiotics right now, you’re probably still consuming them through the foods that you’re eating. Roughly 90% of American meat now contains antibiotics, which has a huge impact on our digestive systems. The good gut bacteria that’s essential for proper digestion has now been so severely altered that most of us aren’t really benefiting from the nutrients that we may think we’re putting into our bodies.
When to Consider IV Nutrient Therapy
This isn’t to say that IV nutrient therapy can act as a replacement for eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep. But what it does suggest is that IV therapy can be highly beneficial in the right situations. The four most common and most effective uses for IV therapy are:
- When you’re sick or starting to feel sick. At the earliest signs that you’re beginning to get sick, IV therapy that includes high concentrations of vitamin C can help to prevent you from actually becoming sick, or can decrease the duration and severity of your illness.
- If you have a disorder related to constricted blood vessels. Health issues caused by constricted blood vessels like headaches, migraines, high blood pressure, and muscle soreness can be improved through IV therapy by boosting blood flow and circulation.
- Before traveling or a big event. Whether it’s a long flight or a night out on the town, you already know you will be putting your immune system to the test. Give your body a head start to prevent unnecessary exhaustion, illness, or dehydration. Speaking of which…
- When you’re severely dehydrated. Some people use IV therapy to rehydrate their bodies after significant water loss. This can even be a treatment for hangovers.
- After an intense workout. After you’ve worked out and depleted your body of nutrients, IV therapy can help to replenish those vitamins and minerals that you’ve lost, as well as lower cortisol levels, which tend to rise with intense physical activity.
Promising Opportunities for IV Therapy
Most recently, IV therapy has begun to take on two new avenues of possibilities, which could prove to be promising treatment methods in the future. Currently, however, there’s still more clinical research to be done to determine just how effective these new branches of use for IV therapy might be. Focusing on specific amino acids, IV therapy could be used for:
- Weight loss: When used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise regimen, IV therapy using amino acids like methionine and choline may help to boost metabolism and promote weight loss.
- Muscle growth: The amino acid arginine has been shown to boost the production of growth hormone in the body, which builds muscle. By delivering this amino acid directly into the bloodstream, IV therapy may be able to increase muscle gains at a faster rate than if arginine were orally supplemented.
The Bottom Line
Today, people are using IV therapy to help them feel reenergized, recharged, and balanced. Twenty years of clinical research suggests that IV therapy can be beneficial for these reasons, especially if your digestive system isn’t running properly. Keep in mind, though, that if you do decide to try IV therapy, you should expect to try at least four sessions before you decide whether or not you think it’s working for you. For many men and women, IV therapy has proven to be the perfect addition to a healthy, active lifestyle to help them optimize their body, their health, and their life.