Intravenous Nutrient Therapy (IVNT) has been shown to be useful in a wide variety of health conditions and most people we treat with IVNT at San Francisco Natural Medicine seek us out as part of their treatment of serious or chronic diseases such as cancer or Lyme disease. But what most don’t realize is that IVNT can support generally healthy people who are recovering from an acute illness or are just run down due to busy lifestyles, overdoing it, and other reasons. A great example of this is when we use IVNT with super-healthy people like peak performing athletes who report benefits when they incorporate IVNT into their fitness regimens.
We have worked with athletes who are at the top of their game, including football players, swimmers and others who have told us that when they add IVNT to their training regimens, they are able to better perform and have shortened recovery times. We may use IVs with athletes weekly during periods of intense training, the day prior to a big event, or after the event to promote a speedy recovery. Even in this class of elite athlete, benefits are frequently seen. Imagine what it can do for the rest of us who try to get our 150 minutes a week of cardiovascular activity or are “weekend warriors.”
WHY IV THERAPY FOR ATHLETES?
Eating a healthy diet and taking appropriate nutritional supplements gives us nutrients which support good health. When ingested, these nutrients must be properly digested and absorbed through the intestinal walls to nourish us. This process takes some time with some nutrients absorbing more easily than others. Most of us handle this process well as nature intended but some don’t, especially people with chronic digestive problems that include malabsorption. Athletes, because of the stress they put on their bodies with training and competition, often have higher needs for health-promoting nutrients than we mere mortals.
IV administration of nutrients such as carbohydrates, amino acids, and vitamins and minerals allows for a much quicker administration in controlled ways without limitations due to intestinal absorption. These nutrients can thus have a more rapid effect on tissues and cells, providing deep nutrition for energy production and tissue health.
IVNT is not blood doping and does not use drugs, banned or otherwise. We most often use a combination of common vitamins and minerals that enhance cellular energy production, promote muscle growth, and helps with tissue repair from microscopic muscle tears to sprains and strains. Heavy exercise also puts oxidative stress on cells and creates metabolic byproducts that need to be eliminated by our liver and other organs of elimination.
The specialty of sports medicine has long recognized the benefits that IV therapy can bring. The main objectives of sports medicine are to enhance athletic performance and as quickly as possible repair the damage from training and injury. IV nutrients have been shown to be supportive for both of these main goals.
WHAT KINDS OF NUTRIENTS ARE TYPICALLY GIVEN TO ENHANCE ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE?
Almost all of our IV protocols for athletes contain a variety of B vitamins that are cofactors for cellular and mitochondrial energy production. Magnesium is also a common ingredient, as it too drives cellular energy pathways as well as promoting promoting relaxation of muscles to prevent spasms and strains. Vitamin C is also a common ingredient, both for immune support (athletes can be especially prone to infections) as well as wound repair; Vitamin C’s chief role in our bodies is to strengthen collagen, the main component of our connective tissue. We also commonly deliver amino acids in our IVs. These building blocks of protein can encourage muscle growth and repair quickly to tissues under the stress that training entails.
All of our IVs are individualized to our patients needs and goals based on accepted protocols for safety and efficacy, and provided by doctors licensed by the state of California to perform this specialized therapy. Our doctors offer a free 15-minute phone consult to help you determine if IVNT could be helpful for you. Please call 415-643-6600 to schedule a consultation.