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Supplements | Health Benefits of Intravenous Nutrient Therapy

Health Benefits of Intravenous Nutrient Therapy

Administering a vitamin and mineral formula (known as the “Myers cocktail”) intravenously may be useful in treating a variety of medical problems, according to a report in Alternative Medicine Review (2002;7:389–403). Although few studies have been published on this therapy, many physicians have observed its benefit in treating migraine headaches, fatigue, allergies, heart disease, acute asthma attacks, fibromyalgia, infections, and other conditions.

The Myers cocktail was pioneered by John Myers, MD, a physician from Baltimore, Maryland, who developed this treatment more than 30 years ago. The doses of the various nutrients were subsequently modified, based on more recent information, by Alan R. Gaby, MD, the author of the report.

The vitamin-mineral combination includes magnesium, calcium, vitamin B12 (hydroxocobalamin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B5 (dexpanthenol), vitamin B complex, and vitamin C. Intravenous therapy can raise blood levels of nutrients to a considerably greater extent than oral therapy can, and some doctors believe that achieving these high blood levels has therapeutic benefits in certain clinical situations. The benefits of the Myers cocktail may be due to the drug-like (pharmacological) effects of some nutrients (for example, high concentrations of vitamin C kills viruses), or to improved transport of nutrients from the blood into the cells. More research is necessary to clarify this issue.

Some physicians who use the Myers cocktail report that it is particularly useful in treating acute asthma attacks and acute migraine headaches. Relief of symptoms usually occurs within minutes of administering the concoction. It is not clear whether the benefits are due to one nutrient or to the combination of nutrients, but other studies have shown that intravenous magnesium alone can reduce the symptoms of asthma and migraines. However, the author’s observation is that the Myers cocktail is more beneficial for acute asthma attacks than is magnesium alone.

The author and other physicians have found that the Myers cocktail is also useful in treating angina, chronic fatigue syndrome, bronchitis, sinusitis, fibromyalgia, hayfever, chronic hives, narcotic withdrawal, hyperthyroidism, muscles spasms, tension headaches, and some cases of mild to moderate depression. While many people improved after the first treatment, others required several treatments to achieve the maximum benefit, suggesting this therapy may have a cumulative effect. The number of treatments needed varies by person and condition. Some individuals obtain long-lasting relief after a few treatments, while others require ongoing treatments to maintain the benefit. The risk of serious adverse reactions is said to be low and the treatment is usually well tolerated.

The most common side effect of the Myers cocktail is a sensation of warmth, particularly if the injection is given rapidly. This effect is primarily due to magnesium, although calcium may also be a contributing factor. People with low blood pressure may be more prone to this side effect than those with normal or high blood pressure. People taking digoxin (Lanoxin®) and medications that deplete potassium should be cautious in using this treatment, since giving magnesium intravenously to such individuals could induce an irregular heart beat. The Myers cocktail can be prescribed only by a medical doctor, osteopath, or, in some states, a naturopath.

Although most of the reported benefits of the Myers cocktail are anecdotal, doctors who use this treatment are convinced that it often produces results not achievable by any other means. Controlled studies are needed to verify these clinical observations.

Darin Ingels, ND, MT (ASCP), received his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. Dr. Ingels is the author of The Natural Pharmacist: Lowering Cholesterol (Prima, 1999) and Natural Treatments for High Cholesterol (Prima, 2000). He currently is in private practice at New England Family Health Associates located in Southport, CT, where he specializes in environmental medicine and allergies. Dr. Ingels is a regular contributor to Healthnotes and Healthnotes Newswire.

Copyright © 2003 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of the Healthnotes® content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Healthnotes, Inc. Healthnotes Newswire is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. Healthnotes, Inc. shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Healthnotes and the Healthnotes logo are registered trademarks of Healthnotes, Inc.

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The health information contained in this site is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical care. Any products mentioned in studies cited in Healthnotes articles are not necessarily endorsed by Bastyr. As with any product, consult with a natural health practitioner to discuss what may be best for you.

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