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IV Nutrient Infusion: Snake Oil, or Legitimate Medicine?

The modified “Myers’ cocktail,” which consists of magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin C, has been found to be very effective against a host of medical illnesses, including 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 chronic non-specific disorders. There have yet to be any large clinical trials that test the effectiveness of the intravenous infusion of nutrients to treat specific medical disorders despite the fact that doctors have been using this IV therapy on elite college and professional athletes for years.

John Myers, MD, a physician from Baltimore, Maryland, was the originator of the use of intravenous (IV) vitamins and minerals as treatment of various “fringe” medical conditions. “Fringe medical conditions are symptoms that defy doctors’ ability to understand or treat. So we physicians tend to classify them as “psychogenic” (in the patient’s head), like chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. After Dr. Myers died in 1984, a number of his patients sought nutrient infusion from other physicians in the area who were unfamiliar with the intravenous nutrient therapy regimen.

Some of Dr. Myers’ patients had been receiving nutrient injections / infusions monthly, weekly, or twice weekly for 25 years or more. So, there was anecdotal evidence that IV nutrient therapy was helpful and not apparently harmful. What then is the rational for IV nutrient therapy?

Myers used a 10-mL syringe and gave a slow IV push a combination of magnesium chloride, calcium gluconate, thiamine, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, and 20% solution of magnesium chloride.

The Magnesium Chloride dose was safe and effective for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. The vitamin C was used, particularly for problems related to allergy or infection. Various nutrients have been shown to exert pharmacological effects, which are in many cases dependent on the concentration of the nutrient in the blood. For example, an antiviral effect of vitamin C has been seen at Megadose concentration of 10-15 mg/dL, a level achievable with IV but not oral therapy.

Magnesium ions promote relaxation of both vascular and bronchial smooth muscle effects that might be useful in the acute treatment of angina and bronchial asthma, respectively.

The most commonly used Meyers’ regimen has been 4 mL magnesium, 2 mL calcium,

1 mL each of B12, B6, B5, and B complex, 6 mL vitamin C, and 8 mL sterile water given slowly IV over 5-15 minutes through a 25G butterfly needle.

The beneficial effect of IV magnesium as a treatment for migraine has been demonstrated in recent clinical trials. In one study, 40 patients with an acute migraine received 1 g magnesium sulfate over a five-minute period. Fifteen minutes after the infusion, 35 patients (87.5%) reported at least a 50-percent reduction of pain, and nine patients (22.5%) experienced complete relief.

In 21 of 35 patients who benefited, the improvement persisted for 24 hours or more. Patients with an initially low serum ionized magnesium concentration (less than 0.54 mMol/L) were significantly more likely to experience long-lasting improvement than were patients with initially higher serum ionized magnesium levels.

Many patients with unexplained chronic fatigue have responded to the Myers’, with results lasting only a few days or as long as several months. We can’t just ignore that. After all, if someone feels better after treatment, isn’t that the goal?

Fibromyalgia patients have been noted to improve with intravenous magnesium. The positive response to parenteral magnesium is consistent with the observation that nearly half of patients with fibromyalgia have intracellular (inside the cell) magnesium deficiency, despite having normal serum (outside the cell) levels of the magnesium. So, measuring serum levels of magnesium alone won’t give the complete picture.

So, does intravenous nutrient therapy really work? Well, over an 11-year period, Dr. Meyers gave approximately 15,000 injections / intravenous therapies to an estimated 800-1,000 different patients. The vast majority of these patients had positive treatment results. We know that nutrients at elevated concentrations in the blood work differently inside the cell versus outside the cell. But, it is obvious that a beneficial healthy response to these intravenous nutrients is present and needs more clinical investigation.

I recommend finding a doctor who will take seriously your complaints of ailments including pain and fatigue. Ask about intravenous nutrient therapy if main stream medical treatments are not giving you the health result you want. If your doctor says ”it’s all in your head…”, smile; and look for another doctor.

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