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They’re a point of controversy, but intravenous vitamins have been found to boost the immune system, fight fatigue and even help overcome chronic disease. Laura Bond investigates needle-point nutritionCan an intravenous (IV) vitamin infusion help the body heal from chronic illness? A growing body of research suggests the answer may be “yes” and while critics in the medical profession remain sceptical, it’s starting to garner mainstream attention as a promising treatment for myriad ailments.Celebrities such as Madonna and Rihanna have embraced IV infusions, both for health and cosmetic purposes. Vitamin C is, after all, touted to be the natural alternative to Botox. However, what’s most exciting about these vitamin cocktails is their potential to assist the body in coping with disease.Take cancer, for example. A 2008 US study found that injecting large amounts of vitamin C into laboratory mice with aggressive cancers caused their tumours to shrink by between 41 and 53 per cent.
This year, researchers at the University of Kansas found that high doses of IV vitamin C helped to kill ovarian cancer cells and reduce the toxic effects of chemotherapy.Dr Joseph Georghy, of North Shore Cosmetic in Sydney, first used IV nutrition in Europe more than 40 years ago, and his patients now include CEOs, celebrities, elite athletes, cancer patients and women looking for a natural facelift. He says it can also be good for breast cancer patients, too, adding: “When used in the first six months after the diagnosis, vitamin C may be associated with a reduced risk of mortality and recurrence.”So why not just take a vitamin pill?“When nutrients are given intravenously, your digestive system is bypassed and a much higher level of nutrition can be delivered directly to your cells,” he says.The IV drip allows nutrients such as vitamins C and B and selenium to be delivered directly into the bloodstream. It usually takes between 30 and 90 minutes and the average price for a vitamin C infusion is about $250, rising to $1000 for complex nutrient blends.
It’s not only in cases of serious illness that doctors and patients are seeing results. Dr Richard Moore, a Sydney doctor who’s also an osteopath and acupuncturist, treats a variety of patients, from teenagers with glandular fever to those with antibiotic-resistant tonsillitis. “They come in for a couple of drips and it can help them, although intravenous vitamins aren’t suitable or effective for everyone,” he says, adding that patients have a full medical consultation and blood tests before any IV procedure.Critics argue the IV version offers little more than a balanced diet and a vitamin tablet would, however, there are studies that show the efficacy of the intravenous delivery. In 2004, the US National Institutes of Health found that blood concentrations of vitamin C were 6.6 times greater when given intravenously than when the same amount was given to patients orally.As a young doctor in Slovenia, Georghy recalls every patient being given IV vitamins C and B, plus folic acid before and after procedures.
“They tolerated surgery better and recovered faster,” he says.On a purely aesthetic level, vitamin C has a lot to offer. “It improves collagen production,” Georghy says. He also says it’s a secret to avoiding stretch marks during pregnancy, but adds that you should always check with your medical professional before having this treatment.For those suffering from chronic fatigue, depression or conditions of the nervous system, a quick shot of B12 delivered via injection may help regain some equilibrium.Moore uses the active form of B12, called methylcobalamin. “The methyl group of vitamins are necessary for production of serotonin – the feelgood hormone,” he says. “So, sometimes, B12 can help people who have mood issues.”>>10 foods to lift your moodThere’s scepticism in the medical world about IV nutrition. When asked if a healthy person needs to hand over cash for IV vitamins to stay healthy and looking good, London-based GP Dr Michael Wetzler says “absolutely not”.
The patients he treats with IV vitamin C typically suffer from recurrent infections, chronic stress and cancer. “We’ve experienced patients whose lives have been changed by IV vitamin C treatment,” he says.Dr Brian Morton, spokesman for the Australian Medical Association, says: “Well-nourished adults don’t need IV vitamins – there’s no clear evidence of benefit.” He also warns of the risk of allergic reaction and infection. “The issue of any procedure is risk versus benefit. Whether it’s an IV in a hospital or elsewhere, the risk exists and it depends on the location, the sterile environment and the training of the proceduralist.”There have also been reports of potential dangers such as kidney stones. However, Georghy claims there’s “no drug in human history” with a higher safety profile than vitamin C. “There have been less than 15 cases of kidney stones worldwide in the last 60 years [as a result of IV vitamin infusion] and those people already had renal failure,” he adds.
Moore cautions that vitamin infusions shouldn’t be used in place of good nutrition and lifestyle, adding: “We want to address the cause of the problem rather than using vitamins as a bandaid solution.”>>5 emotions that make you sickIV vitamin C should only be administered by a registered medical practitioner. ) of those who offer IV supplements. While not mandatory, they should have had training with the ACNEM.>>How to budget-proof your health>>4 herbs to keep you healthy>>Eat your way to immunity Using Vitamin C for Heart Disease, Cancer and Cell ProtectionPage Contents1 What is Glutathione?2 What is Vitamin C?3 Interaction of Glutathione and Vitamin C4 Best Route of Administration5 Recommended Dosage6 Side Effects of Glutathione with Vitamin C7 Points to Consider Every day, the skin is exposed to the damaging effects of the environment pollutants, toxins, and radiation. This leads to the interference of the normal interaction of the body molecules. Aside from that, even the physiologic metabolic processes produce reactive oxygen species (ROS).
The ROS generated by the metabolic activities leads to further cellular injury. Glutathione, together with Vitamin C, is a powerful antioxidant. It aids in decreasing the damaging results brought about by environmental hazards. Also, it neutralizes the effects of the ROS in the body . These two are best used in whitening the skin. Their combination causes a youthful glow. Furthermore, the Vitamin C added to the glutathione creates a longer-lasting effect . Picture 1: IV injection administration of Glutathione with Vitamin C Glutathione is a substance in the body made from three amino acids, namely, glycine, cysteine, and glutamic acid. This is known to be a detoxifying agent as well as an antioxidant. According to Dr. Elson Haas, a nutritionist, the primary composition of Glutathione that plays a vital role in its antioxidant properties is cysteine. Glutathione pairs up with two substances to accomplish its functions. First, the glutathione peroxidise. This enables the conversion of ROS to water molecules.
Second, the glutathione S-transferase allows the attachment of glutathione to the toxic by-products of the body for excretion . Other functions of Glutathione in the body include the following: Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient responsible for various functions. It plays a vital role in the maintenance of antioxidants in the body which involves aiding the effects of glutathione and vitamin E. It performs its functions by neutralizing the damaging effects of ROS. Then, it is oxidized to the form of dehydroascorbate. After it is recycled to dehydroascorbate, it is again converted to Vitamin C. Vitamin is commonly found in food sources such as acerola cherries, citrus fruits, and rose hips . Other vital roles played by vitamin C are: In the review published in April 1994 by The Journal of Biological Chemistry, the interaction between Glutathione and Vitamin C is described as a partnership which aids in the body’s maintenance of antioxidants.
These two help the body in getting rid of the harmful effects caused by toxic hydrogen peroxide and free radicals. This process happens when the glutathione enables the recycling of dehydroascorbate to vitamin C. In return, vitamin C performs its role by storing the glutathione in the tissues. However, they both have functions which are independent of one another. Together, Glutathione and Vitamin C are considered to be one of the most effective skin whitening products. They both decrease the production of melanin. As a result, this leads to lighter skin color. According to medical professionals, glutathione is better absorbed if administered through intravenous injections. Aside from that, it is proven that it is more effective when given intravenously since 100 percent of it is readily absorbed by the system. If taken orally, only 20 percent of it will be absorbed by the body because it is broken down by stomach acids. Since glutathione is a non-essential nutrient, it is manufactured in the tissues of the body.
However, if the body will be exposed to higher oxidative stress, this can lead to the depletion of glutathione levels. To resolve this, glutathione supplementation may be recommended at the dosage of 250 to 750 mg of cysteine everyday. Another option is to take 100 to 250 mg of reduced glutathione on a daily basis. As for the case of Vitamin C, it is known to be an essential nutrient. The recommended dietary intake of this nutrient ranges from 40 mg (infants) to 120 mg (nursing mothers) daily. Some even take higher doses as tolerated. IV glutathione injections are generally advised only for people who are 27 years of age and older . The administration of glutathione and vitamin C through intravenous injections presents a small risk for infection at the injection site if not given properly and aseptically. Vitamin C supplementation may cause side effects such as diarrhea, indigestion, and nausea. Glutathione IV injections with vitamin C have been proven to give lots of benefits to the body especially in the maintenance of body’s antioxidants.