“Injection therapy,” definitely an eyebrow raiser in the world of naturopathy. Nothing says “natural” like mainlining your fruits and vegetables through plastic tubes. Yet here we are, post food revolution, where nutrient density is scarce, and overprocessed boxed food like product is consumed by the masses in the form of the Standard American Diet (SAD).  Even our homegrown bunny food is lacking as much as 81% of its nutritional content compared to 50 years ago.[1] In addition, 62 million Americans are diagnosed with a digestive disorder annually.[2] Meaning, that even the nutritious food that does make it into your mouth may not actually make it into your body. This problem is often mismanaged by the overuse of nutraceuticals or “supplements.” These are taken by mouth in hopes of absorbing some of the nutrient benefit that our food is lacking or our digestive tract struggles to absorb. In the end, more often supplements are just creating expensive poop.

The body needs nutrition to heal, yet without healthy tissues the body can’t absorb the nutrition needed to do so. Catch 22. Injection therapies, namely Intravenous (IV) therapies help bridge the nutrition gap while the body is healing. Nutrition in the form of electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are made available to the body’s use by being introduced straight into the bloodstream. Allowing the body to heal itself is one of the foundations of naturopathy, and thus injection therapies fall under “natural” treatments.

IV therapy was first invented in 1883 by Dr. Thomas Latta during a cholera epidemic in Britain. Today, IV therapy continues to be the main treatment for this infection over the use of antibiotics.[3] In a clinic setting, IV therapy is safe and effective for helping replenish depleted nutrient stores. The following are just some examples of IV nutrients, why they are important for the body and what happens when we don’t get enough of them.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)

  • Important for red blood cell and DNA production, nerve function and cell metabolism.
  • Without B12 you may become tired, short of breath, have numbness or tingling in your hands and feet, have brain fog or even poor balance. Anemia is a common side effect from low B12 levels and can cause your metabolism to become sluggish leading to toxicity and difficulty restoring tissues to optimal function as you sleep.
  • B vitamins as a whole are one of the first nutrients to become depleted when the body is emotionally or physically stressed.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

  • Important for your body’s healing process. Responsible for healing build blood vessels, cartilage, muscle and collagen. It also helps clear free radicals from the body reducing inflammation.
  • Without Vitamin C you may become tired, depressed and have connective tissue disorders like increased bruising, rashes, bleeding, and slow wound healing. Scurvy is a severe form of vitamin C deficiency causing serious fatigue and bleeding that can lead to death, but is very uncommon today.

Zinc

  • Important for your immune system and metabolism function. Also plays a role with smell, taste and wound healing.
  • Without zinc you may experience hair loss, taste and smell changes and brain fog. Zinc is commonly deficient in those with digestive disorders like IBD/IBS, Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and Ulcerative colitis.

Iron

  • Important for growth and development especially for red blood cells and neurotransmitters. Iron is the rate limiting step for neurotransmitter production and deficiencies can lead to increased anxiety and depression as well as other mental health disorders. In addition, red blood cells require a sufficient amount of iron for hemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen in our blood. Anemia is a common form on iron deficiency.
  • Without Iron you may experience low energy, shortness of breath and other cognitive changes around mood and memory.

Magnesium

  • Important for muscle and nerve function as well as energy production.
  • While low levels of magnesium don’t cause a lot of outright symptoms, chronically low levels are linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis.

Injection therapies don’t end with IV nutrients. The umbrella of injected treatments is vast and continues to grow yearly as our medical and technological wisdom advances. Other useful injection therapies, albeit less “natural” than that nutrient therapy, includes; prolotherapy, platelet rich plasma (PRP), and ozone therapy. While each therapy has many uses for treating a wide range of illness and injury, the following are some of the more common reasons to use each injection therapy as a treatment option.

IV therapy

IV infusions or pushes are typically used for nutrient depletion caused by stress, autoimmune disease, cancer, poor nutrition, infection, or metabolic variants that lead to decreased absorption/creation of a nutrient needed by the body.

Prolotherapy

Prolo injections are an ideal alternative to conditions that are also indicated for steroid injections. Many studies show that prolo injections are more effective in treating a wide range of joint pains than steroid injections. The reduced side effects also make this ideal for chronic pain conditions especially arthritis of all varieties.

PRP

PRP is used to stimulate and accelerate the healing response for tendons, ligaments and muscles. The perfect situations to utilize PRP therapies is to help support wound healing and injuries. Individuals with professions that use repetitive body motions, carry heavy loads or are prone to repeat injuries and flare ups are ideal for this therapy. Athletes also fall into this category for the same reasons and of course Military personnel are great candidates.

Ozone

Ozone injection therapies to joints can help with musculoskeletal conditions in an inverse way that prolotherapy or PRP. Instead of stimulating the inflammation healing response, ozone therapies are anti-inflammatory in nature and have been shown to provide pain relief especially to larger joints like knees and shoulders. Another use of ozone injection therapies is introducing it into the circulating blood stream. This technique has been shown to have a more widespread effect on overall health conditions. The use of ozone therapy in this way really shines when treating Lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, lupus, and many forms of gastrointestinal conditions.