Definition & Overview
Intravenous detoxification, also known as detoxification therapy, is an alternative and allopathic treatment procedure wherein amino acids, vitamins, minerals, medical ozone or oxygen, and other important nutrients are slowly introduced into the bloodstream intravenously to purge out toxic materials from the body.
The procedure can effectively and swiftly treat nutrient deficiencies. Compared to oral administration, it allows patients to get about 10 times more nutrients. For instance, the oral dosage of Vitamin C usually peaks at 1.2-4.0mg/dL concentration in the blood, while that in Vitamin C IV therapy is 50-90 mg/dL.
Intravenous detoxification offers many health benefits including:
- Removal of toxins, metals, and other harmful body waste through chelation therapy (using calcium EDTA) to reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular conditions
- Replenishing vitamins and minerals to relieve stress and re-energise the body
- Infusion of vitamins and minerals can help patients to recover from mental and physical stress, as well as recover fast from viral or bacterial infections
- Amino acid infusion (such as glutathione) provides liver support and detoxification; offers skin lightening benefits as well
- Amino acids and vitamin infusion can help relieve fatigue and soreness to treat conditions such as fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, and asthma
- Antioxidant infusion removes free radicals that cause gene mutations and cancer
- Certain nutrients, such as vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, increase moisture and improve skin elasticity and joint lubrication
- Certain nutrients and antioxidants are used for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s, and cancer
- IV detoxification is a standard procedure used for supervised withdrawal from addictive drugs and alcoholism
Who Should Undergo and Expected Results
Intravenous detoxification can safely neutralise and eliminate toxins in the body. It works on the cellular level and is compatible with the body's natural healing system. The procedure is highly recommended for those who are regularly exposed to toxins such as alcohol, cigarette smoke, pollution, pesticides, heavy metals, and acid rain. It is also, in general, very important for those who wish to avoid unhealthy lifestyle and focus on good diet and exercise.
IV detoxification is found to benefit those suffering from the following conditions: menopausal symptoms, headaches, insomnia, hypertension, poor circulation, depression, common cold, general fatigue, elevated liver enzymes, diabetic neuropathy, migraines, chronic stress, cardiovascular disease, hepatitis, viral infection, cancer (and chemotherapy), asthma, upper respiratory tract infection, Lyme disease, facial aging, and fatty liver, among many others.
There is now a good range of options for intravenous detoxification, depending on one's needs. Among common types of IV detox include:
- Myer's detoxification - This replenishes depleted vitamins and minerals and is usually suggested to help invigorate and de-stress the patient
- Energizer detoxification- This enhances stamina and hastens recovery and is thus highly beneficial for athletes and those with busy, on-the-go lifestyle
- O3 detoxification- This makes use of medical ozone or oxygen to stimulate the production of enzymes that provide protection against oxidative stress and free radical damage
- Chelation therapy – This refers to the removal of toxic heavy metals from the body to help prevent the development of chronic degenerative diseases
- Antioxidant therapy - This uses amino acids to stimulate the body's natural antioxidants
- Hydration therapy – This uses an infusion of hyaluronic acid to improve skin texture and remove wrinkles
- Addiction recovery therapy - Enzymes and amino acids are infused to help structure, repair, and remodel cells that have been damaged by addiction or alcoholism
How is the Procedure Performed?
Upon consultation and evaluation, the physician will develop an individualised treatment plan and suggest an appropriate IV detoxification procedure. A trained nurse will then insert an IV into the vein (usually in the arm or wrist), through which the appropriate vitamin, mineral, amino acid, or a combination of them will be slowly infused into the bloodstream.
Patients lie comfortably on a bed throughout the procedure, which can last between one and several hours.
Based on various reports, intravenous detoxification has some immediate, invigorating effect. However, repeated infusion may be necessary to achieve optimum health results. This is especially true for drug and alcohol therapy, wherein physical withdrawal has to be addressed.
Possible Risks and Complications
Intravenous detoxification is a safe, standard procedure and is guaranteed to be successful when performed by trained medical experts. Risks and complications are rare, but a small percentage of patients may experience swelling, burning sensation, tightness on skin, discomfort, or cooling sensation and blanching. Phlebitis, or the inflammation of veins caused by trauma during IV insertion, may also occur but rarely happens.
Armenian, S.H., Chutuape, M.A., Stitzer, M.L. Predictors of discharges against medical advice from a short-term hospital detoxification unit. Drug Alcohol Depend. 1999;56:1–8.
Abstract | Full Text | Full Text PDF | PubMed | Scopus (49) Backmund, M., Eichenlaub, D., Soyka, M. Evaluation of a qualified detoxification treatment of intravenous drug addicts in a general hospital — a Federal German model project. Gesundheitswesen. 1998;60:552–557. PubMed