The correct way to administer IV nutrition
-By Dr Clement G. Plaatjies
The popularity of intravenous therapy is increasing, but so too are the potential negative effects associated with putting liquids directly into your bloodstream without the input of a physician. The focus of this blog is to outline the potential side effects of these therapies as well as to offer understanding as to why it’s not a one-size-fits-all service.
Firstly, things can go wrong:
IV drips can be placed by either a doctor or a nurse, but complications can arise (although they rarely do). Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency and IMMEDIATE intervention is needed or death may ensue. As such, it’s advisable to have a doctor on hand to tend to any such eventualities.
You don’t know what you need:
It’s quite simple, there IS such a thing as too much of a good thing. The only way you could know what your body is deficient in is by testing. Assuming you’re feeling tired could very well be a vitamin B deficiency, and while these exist they are rather rare. Vitamin B injections or drips may boost you for a day or two but then you’re back to where you started.
Iron deficiency has actually been found to be the more likely culprit here. Iron drips can only be done at selected medical facilities due to the potentially serious side effects they may present with. To know what your body really needs, ask it by having the CORRECT bloods drawn first.
Your genes determine what happens to the nutrients:
Why is it that some of us can fall asleep after a cup of coffee and for the rest of us, we’re up all night after just one cup? One answer is…your genes!! We don’t all absorb and utilize nutrients in the same way. Some people struggle to absorb iron due to a genetic mutation affecting the stomach. Some people are better at breaking down caffeine or even alcohol so they require higher doses to get a kick out of it. This could all come down to our genetic differences determining how we process what goes into our body. We are all different metabolizers. So thinking one form of therapy will work for EVERYONE is not the best way to practice personalised medicine. This is even true for medications. Panados don’t work for everyone. While genetic testing is possible, a good start is always a thorough history taking first.
Your medication/supplements may be interfering:
If you’re already taking any supplements, or you’re on acute or chronic medication, your IV drip could render those meds or supps ineffective or indeed increase their potential actions. It’s always a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable physician on the interactions of medications or supplements even before deciding to purchase them. A simple example? Calcium reduces the availability of many nutrients, including iron.
The ingredients aren’t of a high quality:
You may be very particular about where you get your meat or how your vegetables should be farmed. Should the same not apply to what you’re putting in your veins? Are the therapies used preservative-free? Have they been stored correctly to ensure no degradation has taken place? Are they, indeed, what they’re advertised to be and in the correct dose? It’s your responsibility to check that all of these are in place before that needle goes into your arm.
Is the nutrient in the correct form?
Unfortunately, even vitamins can be dangerous. As an example, taking cyanocobalamin as opposed to methylcobalamin could raise your cholesterol level. What exactly is cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin? Cyanocobalamin is Vitamin B12 bound to cyanide! Cyanide is, broadly speaking, a poison in sufficient doses.
Vitamin B12 bound to a methyl group (methylcobalamin) is more readily used by your body. Always check what your nutrients are bound to and what the elemental dose is where appropriate. The wrong B12 could actually cause high cholesterol.
There are many other factors to consider but the conclusion is this:
Make sure that you actually need what you’re getting otherwise most of what’s going in will come straight out. Make sure that it’s done safely, should things go wrong, you want to know that you’ll be well taken care of.