Joining the staff in 2016 as the Director of IV Therapy, Dr. Shannon Hudson is a California licensed naturopathic medical doctor (ND, NMD). She recently shared some of her insights and expertise with us about how intravenous nutrient therapy can help people overcome health challenges or even just enhance their wellness. The following Q&A highlights the key takeaways:
Who’s a good candidate for IV therapy?
Almost anyone can potentially benefit from IV therapy because the vitamins and minerals we commonly use are so fundamental to the body’s biochemistry. Everybody needs them for basic metabolism, cellular repair, detoxification, proper functioning of the immune system, neurotransmitter and hormone synthesis, etc.
While the nutrients we use in the IVs are certainly available in food, the reality is that many of us still probably don’t get these nutrients in ideal amounts. This is true even when we’re careful with our diets.
(It is worth noting frank nutrient deficiencies are rare in this country. You don’t hear of people getting scurvy these days, for example. Still deficiencies remain common.)
Taking supplements orally is certainly helpful and oftentimes necessary. However, we might only absorb half the amount we take--or even less, depending on how well our digestive system is working.
IV’s bypass the digestive tract and enable us to deliver key nutrients to practically every cell in the body, very efficiently. Plus, these nutrients get used faster whenever we’re under a lot of stress. This could be emotional stress related to school, career or family. Or it could be physical stress just from being really active or exercising a lot.
Usually patients at our clinic seek us out because they’re dealing with physical stress in the form of an illness or health challenge. These patients have an even greater need for nutrients than the average individual. IVs can really help them jump start their healing process and get them feeling better more quickly.
What are some of the most common reasons a patient receives IV therapy?
Most people who receive IV therapy are looking to improve their energy, which is the most common benefit. This is true whether a patient is dealing with a health challenge or just wants to be healthier.
Many patients report feeling greater mental clarity after a few IVs. They can see sleep and memory improve. It’s also common to hear patients have an enhanced capacity to deal with stress. After a series of IVs, many of my patients report feeling more able to deal with situations that were previously very challenging.
In terms of specific health conditions, again because these nutrients are so fundamental to basic biochemistry. The applications of IV therapy and the potential benefits are very broad.
At our clinic we see a lot of patients with adrenal fatigue, digestive disorders, thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, and chronic infections like Epstein-Barr.
IVs can also be enormously helpful to patients who are recovering from chemotherapy or radiation treatments. IVs can also serve as an adjunctive treatment during chemo or radiation.
In most instances, patients being treated for a specific health condition will have an oral protocol and lifestyle changes recommended by their primary naturopathic doctor. It’s crucial they adhere to those recommendations. But IV therapy can help supplement this process, so they can see progress more quickly. For some people the improvement is quite dramatic.
Is there a best time of day to receive IV therapy?
I haven’t found time of day to be very significant. Some patients may find they have more energy after a treatment, so they might plan to receive it before a workout. Others find the treatments relaxing. It’s really a matter of personal preference and what works for your schedule.
How often should a patient plan on receiving IV therapy?
This is also somewhat specific to each individual and what their goals are. I almost always recommend a ‘cluster’ of treatments, where the IV’s are given more frequently at first and then tapered off as improvement takes place. This is especially true if a patient is being treated for a health condition. By doing a series of weekly treatments, patients see the most noticeable benefits to their overall health.
What do you recommend more often, Slow Drips or Quick Drips?
Generally I recommend slow drips because patients receive twice the amount of nutrients. This is especially true for someone who might be struggling with a health challenge or is having a lot of symptoms, but it really depends on the individual and their needs and goals. Some patients do quite well with the quick drips.
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