Intravenous Nutrient Therapy

Dr. Sanjay Mohan Ram, B.Sc.(Hon.), N.D.

The Meyer’s Cocktail: What is it?

The “Myer’s Cocktail” was created by the late John Myers, MD, a physician from Baltimore, Maryland. He pioneered the use of intravenous (IV) vitamins and minerals as part of the overall treatment of various medical problems. The modified “Myers’ cocktail,” which consists of magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin C, has been found to be effective against acute asthma attacks, migraines, fatigue (including chronic fatigue syndrome), fibromyalgia, acute muscle spasm, upper respiratory tract infections, chronic sinusitis, seasonal allergic rhinitis, cardiovascular disease, and other disorders. Chronic problems such as anxiety, depression, low thyroid function and stress are well controlled by these treatments.

For other patients, there are protocols to help with detoxing, improving energy, pain management, rehydration and regeneration in athletes, as well as boosting hormones.

Originally, it appeared that Myers used a 10-mL syringe and administered the nutrients by slow intravenous push with a combination of magnesium chloride, calcium gluconate, thiamine, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B complex, and vitamin C. The exact doses of individual components were unknown, but Myers apparently had variations for each nutrient.

Intravenous or IV administration of vitamins and minerals, by producing a noticeable, though transient, increase in the serum concentration, provides a window of opportunity for injured cells to take up the nutrients. Nutrients taken up by cells after an IV infusion may leak out again, but some repair does take place while the nutrients are inside the cell. Nonetheless, if cells are repeatedly “flooded” with beneficial nutrients, the improvement can be amassed. Patients who receive a series of IV injections become progressively healthier. In these patients, the interval between treatments can be gradually increased, and eventually the injections are no longer necessary.

For each condition, a Naturopathic Physician can customize a variety of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to suit each patient. Many relatively healthy patients chose to receive periodic injections because it boosted their overall well being for up to several months.

What is the theoretical Basis for IV Nutrient Therapy?

Intravenous administration of nutrients can achieve serum concentrations not obtainable with oral, or even intramuscular (IM), administration. Let us look at two examples of nutrients, Vitamin C and Magnesium, that are important in the intravenous treatment.

As an oral dose of vitamin C is increased gradually, gastrointestinal absorption is saturated and there is a sharp increase in the kidney clearance of the vitamin. When the daily intake of vitamin C is increased 12-fold, the plasma concentration increases by only 25 percent. In contrast, IV administration of 50 g/day of vitamin C resulted in a mean peak plasma level of 80 mg/dL – an increase of almost 80 times. This high plasma concentrations are important in helping cancer patients.

Various nutrients have been shown to exert pharmacological effects, which are in many cases dependent on the concentration of the nutrient. For example, an antiviral effect of vitamin C has been demonstrated at a concentration of 10-15 mg/dL, a level achievable with IV but not oral therapy. At a concentration of 88 mg/dL in vitro, vitamin C destroyed 72 percent of the histamine present. However, lower concentrations of vitamin C attainable by giving several grams in an IV push can produce an antihistamine effect. Such an effect would have implications for the treatment of various allergic conditions.

Similarly, oral supplementation with magnesium results in little or no change in serum magnesium concentrations, whereas IV administration can double or triple the serum levels at least for a short period of time. Magnesium ions promote relaxation of both blood vessels and the smooth muscles of the lung – effects that might be useful in treating vasospastic angina and bronchial asthma, respectively.

As such, these and other nutrients exert additional beneficial effects when present in high concentrations. In addition to having direct pharmacological effects, intravenous nutrient therapy can be more effective than oral or IM treatment for correcting intracellular nutrient deficits.