The IV Cocktail Lounge: A Better Way To Take Your Vitamins Or High-Priced Fad?

Friday Jun 19 | BY |
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intravenous vitamins therapy

You’ll pay a lot for intravenous nutrient cocktails. Are they worth it?

IVs are super trendy. In Miami, you can get IV cocktails with names like “instant organism” and “liquid miracle.” In Beverley Hills, you can order an IV fatigue fighter or immune booster.

Do nutritional IVs deliver on their promises? Will IV cocktails prevent disease, or are they a passing fad?

Looking Back On IV Therapy

Although Dr. Oz describes “extreme” vitamin injections as cutting edge, intravenous (IV) nutrients are not new. In fact, holistic doctors have used them for decades.

Baltimore physician John Myers, MD, is given credit for pioneering IV vitamin and mineral combinations. In the 1960s, Dr. Myers treated patients with his own combination of nutrients. He likely never thought his simple IV formula would catch on so big because he didn’t leave a written formula sheet and never published a medical paper on his protocol. Since then, his recipe, known as the “Myers Cocktail,” has become famous.

Nutrients in “Myer’s Cocktail” – Mixed in Sterile Water
Hydroxycobalamin (B12)
Pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6)
Dexpanthenol (B5)
B Complex
Vitamin C

Alan Gaby, MD, another Baltimore physician, took over Dr. Myers’ patients after he passed. Dr. Gaby is known as one of the first functional medicine doctors in America. He was a colleague of Jonathan Wright, MD, who is considered the founder of functional medicine, along with Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D. These doctors set the paradigm for medical doctors to get involved in natural therapies. However, osteopathic doctors (DO) and naturopathic doctors (ND) were already hooking patients up to IVs.

I began referring patients to DOs for nutrient and chelation IVs in the late 1980s. Back then, DOs were about the only ones offering IV therapy in California, where I practiced from 1983 to 2004.

The American College For Advancement In Medicine (ACAM) is an authority on IV infusions. For years, ACAM provided training for physicians leading to certification in IV chelation. They also offer an annual course in nutritional IV therapy. ACAM continues to lead the field of IV therapy in the 21st century.

Difference Between Oral and IV Nutrient Therapies

Just like the food you eat, pills require digestion, absorption, and assimilation. Pharmaceutical grade nutrients are considerably more bioavailable than vitamin pills or capsules. Sublingual preparations, nasal sprays, and patches act quicker than swallowing pills, but dosages found in these forms are low.

Like direct deposit when banking, nutrients given by intramuscular injections (IM) or IV go straight into the blood stream. Once in the blood, nutrient levels go up fast and achieve considerably higher levels in the serum than pills or capsules.

For example, when taken orally, vitamin C levels in the serum go up only as high as about 9mg/dL. When given by IV, 50g of vitamin C reaches blood levels as high as 80mg/dL.

In fact, blood levels of IV vitamin C go so high that LabCorp developed a special test calculation called “Vitamin C With Dilution” to accommodate for the difference between oral and IV administration.

Several studies show that high concentrations of Vitamin C are required in the serum and intracellular fluid before it can exert a beneficial effect. For example, only when vitamin C levels are pushed very high can it exert pharmacological effects against viruses, cancer, and other conditions.

Advantages of Intravenous Vitamin Therapy:

  • Nutrient levels in the blood go up fast.
  • Nutrients get delivered directly to cells through the bloodstream.
  • No gastrointestinal side effects like cramps, nausea, or diarrhea.
  • Allows for high-dose therapy necessary for effective treatment for certain conditions.
  • Allows for customizing formula ingredients and dosages for individual conditions.

Downside Of IV Therapy

If administered safely by IV-certified doctors and competent nursing staff, IV nutrient therapy is safe and without risks. However, there are a few precautions you should keep in mind. One of the most important is to never get more than 25g of vitamin C at one time before checking your Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) level. G6PD is a blood marker that checks for vitamin C intolerance.

There are other intravenous methods besides nutrient therapy, including chelation to remove heavy metals and calcium deposits. However, IV chelation doesn’t selectively rid the body of metals; it also removes other minerals including electrolytes. If levels of magnesium and potassium go too low, you can experience a sudden drop in blood pressure.

Too much vitamin C can cause kidney stones in susceptible people. In some people, it acts as a powerful diuretic. It’s no fun to have to get up and navigate to the bathroom hooked up to an IV pole. If administered too fast, it can cause nausea and dizziness.

Other risks of IV therapy include hypersensitiveness to ingredients in the IV solution. Though the insertion of the IV needle smarts, it’s a relatively painless process. However, problems can occur at the needle stick site or in the vein. Common complications include infiltration and extravasation (leakage of fluid into the surrounding tissue), and phlebitis (inflammation in a vein). Discomfort around the needle site is common.

Common Adverse Effects Of IV Therapy:

  • Soreness at the needle site.
  • Inflammation of the vein.
  • Leakage of fluid into tissue.
  • Hypersensitivity or allergic reaction.

Rare adverse effects include infection at the needle site, fainting, and heart palpitations. Make sure the IV staff takes your blood pressure and measures your heart rate before starting your IV.

IV nutrient therapies can be pricey. The cost for a basic Myer’s Cocktail can range from $75 to $275. Increasing dosage of vitamin C raises the price. Adding amino acids or other nutrients pushes cost up. Adding on a glutathione push costs more.

Upside Of IV Infusion Therapy

You’ll feel a boost when key nutrients get maximized, and an IV is hands-down the best way to do it. However, don’t expect a dramatic effect unless you’re very deficient in vitamin B12, or one of the other nutrients in the cocktail.

Whether you’re a mother managing a household and raising children, or a professional athlete, IVs promote wellness, manage stress, and assure optimal performance.

People with chronic conditions associated with stress, allergies, sore muscles, and fatigue often report benefits from regular infusions. However, IV cocktails are not a cure for disease, but make for a great complement with other clinical therapies.

Conditions Treated With Myer’s Cocktail IV:

  • Asthma
  • Migraine
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Allergies
  • Stress
  • Hangover

We provide basic and advanced IV therapies in our health center in Sarasota, Florida. Besides nutrient IVs we offer intravenous ozone, ultraviolet blood irradiation, and other therapies including stem cell boosters. We treat up to 40 patients every day with IV therapies. That’s a lot of IVs. Among our physicians, we have a combined experience of more than thirty-five years.

The bottom line is that IV nutrient therapies have earned a place in wellness and clinical medicine. They’re trendy now, but once the glitter fades, patients will continue to get the classic Myer’s Cocktail, as well as newer advanced versions like herbal extracts for immune enhancement and anti-aging antioxidant cocktails.

Have you gotten your IV cocktail this month?

Dr. J. E. Williams


Dr. Williams is a pioneer in integrative and functional medicine, the author of six books, and a practicing clinician with over 100,000 patient visits. His areas of interest include longevity and viral immunity. Formerly from San Diego, he now resides in Sarasota, Florida and practices at the Florida Integrative Medical Center. He teaches at NOVA Southeastern University and Emperor’s College of Oriental Medicine.

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  1. June Hanson says:

    Meyers and Glutathione IV’s have helped to restore my health for over four years. Drinking lots of water hours before Iv helps plumb up veins, making it easier for nurse and very little discomfort. Eating snack helps regulate glucose.

    Highly recommend IV’s and other therapies to keep our body healthy .

  2. Neil says:

    Miami and Beverley hills right? Say no more. Where materials and plastic rule, where natural life has vanished from the mind. Let me think………na, I will go to my garden of whom i trust and get my intravenous fix.

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