How Does IV Therapy Work?
IV therapy delivers vitamins and minerals into the bloodstream through a drip. Usually, this takes place in a medical office under medical supervision. But you can also receive IV therapy in the comfort of your home via a mobile provider.
A typical infusion usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour. Still, it can take longer depending on the type of infusion and the patient’s condition receiving the IV treatment.
The circulatory system of the body is made up of the heart, blood vessels, and blood. Blood flows from the heart to all body tissues to supply oxygen and nutrients. Unwanted by-products are also removed from the tissues by the blood for excretion from the body.
The blood vessels which help move blood around the body are the arteries and veins. Blood flow in the artery is at high pressure because the heart pumps blood into the heart. On the other hand, the veins return the blood to the heart at a far lower pressure. This makes the vein an excellent route for delivering therapeutic agents directly to the tissues.
IV therapy directly delivers medicinal substances into the bloodstream via a needle or cannula. The use of IV therapy in treating individuals has existed for decades. In the 1832 cholera epidemic in London, it was recorded that “injecting a weak saline solution into the veins of the patient [had] the most wonderful and satisfactory effect….” Vitamin-laden fluids and mineral-rich fluids can be given via IV therapy.
IV therapy delivers fluids through a tiny needle straight to the bloodstream. These fluids have vitamins, minerals, or medications that hydrate or relieve unpleasant symptoms. Since IV therapy bypasses the digestive system, cells can absorb nutrients much faster than they would otherwise. Because of this, many people experience symptom relief in mere minutes.
Medical Assessment For IV Therapy Infusions
A medical professional takes your medical history and performs a short medical exam. An IV is administered only after a thorough assessment has been conducted to determine the most appropriate treatment.
Some relevant details that will be obtained include your age, work you do, current symptoms you are experiencing, medical history, medications you routinely take, previous surgeries you have undergone, known allergies, relevant family history, and diet.
The assessment also involves a brief examination to check your heart rate, breathing rate, oxygen levels, temperature, and blood pressure. All this information will guide the choice of fluids and add-ins that will suit your body’s needs.
What Happens To Your Body When You Get An IV Drip?
After receiving a vitamin IV drip, your body will feel the effects within minutes. This includes hydration, wound healing, damaged cell repair, electrolyte replacement, and improved joints, muscles, and bodily functions. Additionally, various medications can be added to IV drips to relieve pain, nausea, and other unpleasant symptoms.
How Long Does IV Therapy Take, And How Long Do The Effects Last?
IV fluid therapy takes 15-90 minutes to complete. Some patients still feel the effects for four days to two weeks after the infusion.
An IV drip infusion usually lasts a few hours after absorption. You may experience frequent urination after receiving the IV fluids. This is due to the kidneys filtering your blood and excreting toxins and unwanted substances into the urine.
IV fluids usually take a couple of hours to leave your body. Any IV therapy will leave vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in your body for days, weeks, or months, depending on your needs.
What Are The Benefits Of IV Therapy?
- It has a fast onset of action: The oral route is the most standard route for taking fluids, vitamins, and other medications. However, it has a drawback: it lasts long before the effect is seen. This is because it has to be processed first by the intestine before it can be absorbed into the blood for use by the tissues. This is not the case with IV therapy. By passing fluids via the vein, it is made available to the tissue in a concise time.
- It has a high bioavailability: the “extent a substance or drug becomes completely available to its intended biological destination.” IV therapy bypasses the digestive tract. The stomach acid and the digestive juices of the intestine work upon substances given orally, which go through the digestive tract. In many cases, a significant proportion of the administered therapy may be rendered inactive by this process, such that only a small percentage of it gets to the target tissues and organs where its beneficial effect is to be felt. Apart from the effect of the digestive tract, all substances absorbed from the intestine will first pass through the liver. Unfortunately, a substantial proportion is again processed by the liver, reducing bioavailability. IV therapy easily overcomes this by immediately making the fluid and its component available to its intended destination. The bioavailability of IV therapy is 100%.
- It rehydrates your body: 60% of your body weight is water. Dehydration occurs when fluid intake is insufficient or when excess fluid is lost, such as in diarrhea or vomiting. IV therapy can infuse fluid directly into the blood, rehydrating the body and replenishing the blood volume.
- It can correct electrolyte abnormalities: Electrolyte abnormalities such as low levels of sodium, potassium, or chloride in the body can be corrected by IV therapy. Various types of fluids containing the needed salts can be administered based on the requirement of each individual.
- It can be used to administer vitamins: Vitamins are essential for physical and emotional well-being. A deficiency of vitamins can cause several symptoms, such as poor eyesight, weak bones, fatigue, bleeding gums, pins and needles, and lack of energy. IV therapy can supply the needed vitamins to refill and replenish your body store.
- It causes physical and emotional wellness: Since many Americans don’t receive all the nutrients they need from food, they don’t feel as healthy as they should. This can lead to chronic fatigue, poor sleep, low energy, and other problems.
People receiving IV therapy report improved mood, sleep, and energy levels.
What Conditions Benefit From IV Therapy?
Vitamin IV therapy offers unique advantages in Lyme disease treatment. Key vitamins and nutrients are delivered directly into the bloodstream, bypassing gastrointestinal absorption issues often associated with Lyme disease. High doses of Vitamin C can enhance immune response and aid in combating the Borrelia bacteria.
Vitamin IV therapy can be an integral part of a comprehensive detoxification program for mold toxicity patients. Vitamin C, in particular, acts as a potent antioxidant that can counteract the oxidative stress caused by mycotoxins, aiding in cellular repair and bolstering immune function.
Epstein-Barr virus, a common viral infection, can benefit from high-dose Vitamin C infusions through IV therapy. Vitamin C has demonstrated antiviral properties and can boost immune response, enhancing the body’s ability to fight off the virus and potentially mitigate symptoms.
IV vitamin therapy is beneficial for patients with gastrointestinal disorders where absorption of nutrients from the digestive tract may be impaired. Delivering essential nutrients directly into the bloodstream can help address nutritional deficiencies and improve overall gut health.
Patients with neurological disorders can benefit from IV therapy with vitamins and nutrients to enhance neuronal function and reduce oxidative stress. B vitamins, for example, are crucial for nerve function and energy production, while antioxidants like glutathione can help protect neurons from oxidative damage.
What kind of nutrients can you get from IV therapy?
IV therapy is a potent method of delivering vital nutrients to the body without interference from the digestive system. The nutrients delivered can be adjusted based on an individual’s needs and requirements.
The saline solution contains sodium and chloride at a concentration similar to the body’s. Thus, it helps to rehydrate the body and maintain the proper functioning of the cells.
Vitamin C is essential for repairing the body’s cells. It maintains the strength and integrity of the tissues and is needed for wound healing.
This is a ‘wonder’ antioxidant that has powerful anti-aging properties. It removes the harmful and toxic by-products of cell metabolism known as free radicals from the body. It renews the cells and tissues and promotes adequate immunity.
Vitamin B complex:
B vitamins are needed for nerve cells to function appropriately. They also help in the production of red blood cells.
Zinc is essential for the production of DNA. It is also needed for a healthy immune system and cell repair.
Magnesium helps to regulate blood pressure and glucose levels.
Some amino acids IV therapy supplies are taurine, glutamine, arginine, citrulline, ornithine, and lysine. Amino acids are used to produce proteins in the body. The body does not produce some of these amino acids, which must be obtained from external sources. Vegans will particularly benefit from amino acids in IV therapy as most are only present in animal protein and dairy products.
When Should You Not Get IV Therapy?
There are certain circumstances where it is unsafe to receive IV fluid therapy. You should not get IV therapy if you have any condition in which the body is producing excess fluids or is unable to remove fluids easily from the body. These include:
- Heart failure
- Kidney disease
- Liver cirrhosis
What Are The Side Effects Of IV Therapy?
Taking IV therapy can cause side effects in some people, so you must receive treatment from a trained professional who can monitor your body’s response.
IV fluid therapy has been associated with the following side effects:
- Infection at the injection site: Using non-sterile materials and needles for the therapy can introduce infection. The sterility of all materials used is ensured. Also, disposable needles are used.
- Vein inflammation and bruising: Some inflammation may occur in the vein after the infusion. This can be avoided by using a suitable insertion site and intravenous device.
- Rashes: Rashes may occur if you are allergic to any of the constituents of the drip. The health professional will ask questions about your allergies to reduce the chances of this occurring.
- Air embolism: In some rare cases, air can get trapped in the blood circulation. This can be prevented by properly expelling air from the drip set before administering the infusion.
- Blood clots: Blood clots may form from an inflamed vein. Measures to prevent thrombophlebitis can also stop blood clots from forming.
- Electrolyte imbalances: Electrolyte derangements may ensue if the administered fluids are not tailored to each individual’s needs.
- Vitamin overdose/toxicity: It is essential to add the correct dose of vitamins to your IV drip, or else some side effects, such as fainting, mood changes, or diarrhea, may occur.
To avoid these side effects, you must inform your healthcare professional of any medications or supplements you take and any previous reactions you have had. Most of these adverse events will only occur when universal precautions on safety are not adhered to or when untrained personnel administers the therapy. A reputable provider will have fewer risks, so ensure you speak to the right team.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of IV Fluid Therapy?
Pros of IV Therapy
- Available Customization: You can customize your IV package to suit specific needs. For example, if your diet is low in vitamin B12, as with most vegetarian diets, you can request a B12 add-in.
- Optimal hydration: Up to 60% of the human body is water, yet many Americans suffer from chronic dehydration. Getting enough water isn’t always easy, and if you’re sweating it away frequently, staying hydrated is even harder. Traditional oral supplementation may not suffice in some cases. The saline present in all IV therapy packages can allow you to experience how optimal hydration feels.
- Immediate Benefits: One of the best features of IV therapy is that its effects set in very quickly. Many people begin to feel more energized and alert within minutes of treatment. IV therapy has nearly immediate benefits compared to medication or drinking water. So if you need to feel better fast, you’ll find no better option than IV therapy.
- Convenience: IV therapy is fast and convenient. The process requires little effort aside from answering a few questions and holding out your arm. You can even receive this therapy from the comfort of your home. If you’re feeling terrible due to a hangover or an illness, you can easily get relief from your symptoms.
- Cost: Health insurance doesn’t usually cover IV therapy, so you must pay for it out of pocket or use a company such as Medical Bill Gurus to help submit out-of-network claims for insurance reimbursement.
- Potential Reactions: Some IV therapy components may cause allergic reactions. However, an initial assessment by an RN or paramedic will include questions designed to minimize the possibility of a reaction occurring. Because most of the ingredients in an IV drip are present in various foods, it is rare for someone to have an unexpected reaction.
It should be noted that IV therapy should not be used long-term or as a substitute for a healthy diet. Despite vitamin IV treatments’ drawbacks, most can be minimized with close supervision by a qualified healthcare professional.
What should you do before receiving IV fluid therapy?
Here’s a quick list of things to do before IV therapy to enhance your experience:
- Hydrate: Your body will be more responsive if you are hydrated before therapy begins. Your veins can be smaller if you are low on fluids. Drinking water before your appointment will improve your response to the drip and make your veins more visible.
- Relax: Relax while you wait for your IV to start. Close your eyes and take five deep breaths in and out. Count slowly on each inhalation and exhalation to help release any nervous tension.
- Eat: Before your appointment, eat a meal/snack if you are able, and ensure it contains protein. Some vitamins and minerals can cause nausea if taken on an empty stomach.
- Have a book or music: Depending on your treatment plan, your IV could take up to 90 minutes to infuse. Bring your favorite magazines, books, and headphones to enjoy and relax.
- Dress comfortably: Wear a short sleeve top and comfortable pants and socks. Have a blanket nearby if you tend to get cold.
FAQs about IV Therapy
How long does IV therapy take?
Generally, IV therapies take 15 – 90 minutes. The average is about 30 minutes.
How long do the effects of IV therapy last?
The effects of IV therapy usually last about three to four days. But this depends on the individual. Sometimes, the effects can last up to two weeks after treatment.
How often should you get IV therapy?
Many get IV therapy as often as once a week or once a month. You may need more frequent IV therapy for morning sickness or regular nausea.
What are the side effects of IV therapy?
Although rare, side effects of IV therapy include light bruising and soreness around the injection area. Some people may also experience an incredible feeling in the arm, a metallic taste in the mouth, and a flushing feeling.
Are there age requirements for IV therapy?
Patients must be at least 12 years of age and weigh 100 or more pounds to receive treatment.
Is IV therapy better than drinking water?
IV hydration uses vitamin- and mineral-rich saline solutions, which provide faster and more effective dehydration relief than ordinary water. Due to the IV’s direct entry into the bloodstream, symptoms are relieved sooner. If you are nauseated and have trouble keeping food down, your irritated stomach won’t have to digest anything, allowing it to heal.
What is IV therapy used for?
IV therapy delivers medications or fluids directly into the body through a vein. This therapy can treat various conditions and is often used when other medication delivery methods are not possible or practical. IV therapy can deliver medications, hydration, or nutrition.
Does IV therapy work for weight loss?
IV therapy may help promote weight loss. It delivers nutrients and hydration directly to cells, increasing metabolism and promoting weight loss.
Further, IV therapy can help detoxify the body and reduce inflammation, leading to further weight loss.
What are the main types of IV fluids?
The main types of IV fluids include saline, dextrose, and Lactated Ringer’s solution. These solutions are customized based on the health status of each patient.
Do IVs make you sleepy?
If you’re dehydrated, you may feel sleepy after receiving IV fluids. This is because IV fluids help to rehydrate your body and can also contain medications that can make you drowsy.
Can you drink water while receiving IV therapy?
You can drink water while receiving a drip unless your doctor or nurse has told you otherwise.
How much fluid is in an IV bag?
Many IV bags have 1000mL of fluid, and one liter of IV fluids weighs about one kilogram. There are many IV fluids, but the most common type is Normal Saline Solution (NSS). NSS contains 0.9% NaCl (salt) and replenishes bodily fluids.
Other IV fluids include Lactated Ringer’s Solution (LRS), used to treat low blood pressure, and Dextrose 5% in Water (D5W), used to treat low blood sugar levels.
Can you eat before IV therapy?
In general, it is recommended that you have a small protein-rich snack before your IV treatment. This will help to ensure that the IV fluids are correctly absorbed and will not cause any gastrointestinal upset. However, if you are receiving IV fluids, following your healthcare provider’s instructions regarding eating and drinking is essential.
How do you feel after IV therapy?
After IV therapy, you should feel like you have more energy. And if you had pain or nausea, those symptoms should have disappeared or improved. As a result of the magnesium in many IV drips and the increased fluids, you may feel sleepy. Your body will need time to adjust to the increased fluids since magnesium relaxes the muscles.
Does IV therapy hurt?
The initial sting of the needle going in will feel like a pinch, but once it is placed, it should not hurt. Healthcare professionals well versed in IV therapy are skilled at finding the right vein for infusing the therapy. As a result, you may experience a dull burning sensation if your IV includes glutathione or certain medications. IV professionals know to infuse these add-ins slowly, reducing discomfort.
In summary, IV fluid therapy can quickly and effectively deliver vital nutrients to your bloodstream to keep you fit and healthy. It can also be used to administer medications to quickly resolve symptoms of nausea, cold, flu, ulcers, hangovers, or morning sickness.
IV fluid therapy offers these additional benefits:
- It corrects vitamin deficiencies or imbalances
- It is a more effective way to absorb vitamins than oral or food as it bypasses the digestive system to deliver nutrients directly.
- It delivers a calculated dose of vitamins that can be tailored specifically to your body’s needs.
- It provides a suitable alternative to oral supplements for those who cannot ingest them or have not responded to them.
If you’re interested in trying out IV therapy for yourself, the Sponaugle Wellness Institute is here to make the process comfortable and convenient with our state-of-the-art integrative wellness center in Oldsmar, FL
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Dr. Rick Sponaugle, MD, is a licensed medical doctor in Florida, integrative physician, and board-certified anesthesiologist. With an emphasis on Environmental Medicine, Dr. Sponaugle specializes in treating brain and neurological disorders derived from Mold Toxicity, Industrial Toxicity, Gut Toxicity, Neurological Lyme disease, and five additional stealth infections that attack the Brain and Neurological system of most patients. Our Medical Director, Rick Sponaugle, MD, is an integrative physician who attempts to prioritize treatment through quality forensic medicine. Performing an analysis of 400 numerical bio-markers in his initial consultation, Dr. Sponaugle's goal is to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of your multiple symptoms.