Intravenous (IV) therapy involves delivering high doses of vitamins, minerals, and/or other medicines directly into the bloodstream to provide rapid, effective therapeutic benefit and relief of symptoms. Naturopathic doctors require additional training, experience and board regulated certification in this highly specialized area of medical treatment. IV therapy can provide the necessary nutrients to reduce side effects, and improve quality of life in people undergoing conventional cancer treatments. On its own, it has also proven to extend primary therapeutic benefit through multiple physiological pathways which enhance a person’s overall health and outcomes within cancer care. Aside from cancer, IV therapy has also been documented to benefit, support and treat other common health concerns and diseases as well.
IV therapy can achieve blood levels of relevant nutrients that are otherwise unobtainable by oral dosing (up to 100% absorption). At such doses, these higher concentrations can exert different pharmacological effects versus that of oral therapy alternatives (i.e. such as anti cancer effects, immunological effects, anti fatigue effects etc.). Essentially, IV administration bypasses the digestive tract, allowing enhancement of higher dosing therapeutic outcomes, as well as eliminating the possibility of compromised digestive issues limiting or interfering with such therapies. Overall, IV therapy can provide quicker and more effective results than oral treatments in many cases.
IV THERAPY - VITAMIN C
Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid (AA) was first implicated as an anti-cancer agent through the research of Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Linus Pauling PhD and Dr. Ewan Cameron MD. Their first clinical trial began in 1971 and the results of this and other research was published in the book “Cancer and Vitamin C” in 1979. In their clinical trial they found a four-fold increase in survival time by those individuals treated with 10,000 mg of AA intravenously. A later trial done by the Mayo clinic could not repeat these findings leading to a dismissal of AA potential role in Oncology. Dr. Pauling’s subsequent work in this field led to him being widely criticized as a “quack”. Due to his ongoing research and years of anecdotal evidence from naturopathic and medical doctors alike there is a renewed interest and research into high doses of AA.
Oral AA is absorbed through the intestinal lumen in an energy and dose dependant process. It rapidly peaks so that at doses over 2g orally less than 20% is actually absorbed. The result is a large quantity of Ascorbic Acid in the intestinal tract which brings water with it leading to gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea. Recent research has shown that high doses of vitamin C have significant cyto-toxic effects. These doses can only be achieved in humans by high dose intravenous administration.
Vitamin C is an important extracellular anti-oxidant and plays a role in a host of biochemical reactions in the body. Vitamin C has been validated as supportive therapy in Case studies, Preclinical trials and cancer cell research. The results of these studies show that vitamin C acts in the following ways:
- Selective Cytotoxicity (cancer cell killing) Effect – vitamin C in high doses leads to the production of large amounts of hydrogen peroxide in the connective tissue of the body. Hydrogen peroxide is an important oxidative molecule involved in many immune reactions in the body. In healthy cells the hydrogen peroxide is absorbed and then quenched with intra-cellular anti-oxidants, but in cancer cells they often lack sufficient levels of anti-oxidants so hydrogen peroxide will build up. As levels of hydrogen peroxide rise in cancer cells they eventually go through apoptosis (programmed cell death).
- Inhibition of Tumour Growth and Metastasis – most tumours require the activity of various enzymes in order to invade and metastasize. Ascorbic Acid inhibits the activity of these enzymes and promotes the production of collagen which may play a role in stabilizing the tumour and preventing local tissue invasion.
- Chemosensitization – Ascorbic Acid has been tested in tissue cultures and animal models in combination with many different chemotherapeutics to evaluate a combined effect on tumours. Most well designed trials have shown a generally positive enhancement of chemotherapeutic success in studies where chemotherapy is combined with Ascorbic Acid. There are only a few select studies that show a negative interaction and we avoid concomitant therapy in those cases.
IV THERAPY - MISTLETOE
Mistletoe extract (Viscum album) has been used for intravenous infusion therapy since the 1950’s. According to clinical research, the primary purpose and benefit of IV mistletoe therapy is that of a stronger cancer inhibition, and enhanced pain reduction in cases of ineffective standard cancer therapy. Generally speaking, IV route mistletoe therapy allows for an accelerated dose administration higher doses) thus correlating to accelerated therapeutic outcomes.
Scientific studies have shown the following results with the introduction of IV mistletoe therapy:
- Improved quality of life
- Improved immune status
- Improvement in cancer related pain
- Reduction in cancer growth
- Tumour marker reduction
- Improved mood
- Cancer response
- Improved tolerance and efficacy of some chemotherapeutic drugs
Overall results of intravenous mistletoe therapy has shown excellence in both safety and tolerability, as well as significant improvements in quality of life.
Although there are several methods of administering mistletoe extracts, IV mistletoe has been shown (pending individual case assessments), to be more effective than the more common subcutaneous application of mistletoe. This specifically holds true for persistent tumour pain, and retardation of metastases (especially bone and liver mets). It should be noted however, that concurrent IV and subcutaneous mistletoe therapy, together, has been shown to provide synergistic benefit versus IV or subcutaneous administration on its own. As with subcutaneous mistletoe injection, infusion therapy of mistletoe has been proven safe before, during (in combination with), and following chemotherapy and radiation cancer therapies.
Infusion mistletoe therapy has also often been shown to have benefit in conjunction with high dose vitamin C IV therapy. The overall benefit of such a combination is that of improved cytotoxic (cancer cell directed) effects.
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