naturopath victoria

Intravenous Nutrient Therapy

You may have heard about intravenous (IV) vitamin and mineral therapies, or the “Myers' Cocktail,” but are unsure of what this therapy entails, and whether or not it will benefit you. At Juniper Family Health our naturopathic doctors provide IV nutrient therapies for a wide variety of health concerns and individual health needs. Read on to learn more…

What is a Myers' Cocktail?

The Myers’ Cocktail has been used by naturopathic doctors and other complementary and alternative health care practitioners for over half a century. This therapy was initially developed by Dr. John Myers MD, and further refined and popularized by Dr. Alan Gaby MD.  

A Myers' treatment is typically a combination of vitamins C, B complex, B5, B6, B12, folic acid, magnesium, calcium, and selenium (blended with saline or sterile water). The amounts of these vitamins and minerals will depend on the patient and the particular health concern being treated. The nutrient combination is infused directly into the circulation, through a vein, generally over 10-20 minutes by a gentle “push,” or 30-45 minutes by “drip.”

Why give IV nutrients as opposed to oral?

Infusing a nutrient solution directly into the blood allows for more thorough and rapid absorption and utilization of the vitamins and minerals in tissues. This is because adding a mixture directly into the circulation will bypass the digestive system, where absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream can be impaired.  Additionally, some side effects from high dose oral administration (for example loose stools from high doses of oral vitamin C and magnesium) are avoided.

Who can benefit from Myers' Cocktails?

Many individuals can benefit from this therapy. This includes those who would like to improve their mood, cognition or energy levels. It may be useful in those that have higher needs for specific nutrients such as athletes, and students or professionals under high levels of acute and chronic stress. Those with lowered immune function, or chronic digestive concerns that impair absorption of nutrients may also benefit from this therapy. Additionally, clinical improvement has been documented after administration of IV nutrients in people who suffer from the following health conditions:

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Migraine and tension headache

  • Acute or chronic muscle spasm

  • Muscle recovery from endurance activities

  • Upper respiratory tract infections

  • Chronic sinus infections

  • Chronic hives

  • Environmental allergies

  • Depression, anxiety, and acute and chronic stress

  • Poor memory and concentration

  • Chronic digestive concerns such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, or Ulcerative Colitis

How often is a Myers' Cocktail given?

The frequency of treatments depends on the individual patient and what health concern is being treated. For acute health concerns, such as muscle spasms, sinus infections, or upper respiratory infections, two to three treatments may be required, however in more chronic health concerns a Myer’s Cocktail may be given weekly for a period of four to six weeks or more. Frequency is tapered down when symptom improvement is noted.

Are there any side effects?

The most common side effect of a Myer’s Cocktail is the sensation of heat. This effect is caused by magnesium, which is a potent vasodilator. Vasodilation can also cause your blood pressure to lower, which can lead to light-headedness and fainting. During the therapy, your naturopathic doctor will watch for signs of heat, and low blood pressure, and adjust the infusion accordingly. These side effects are easily avoided with slower administration of the therapy. Other side effects may include redness or irritation at the site of injection, which resolves shortly after the treatment.

Additional Resources:

Intravenous Nutrient Therapy: The Myers’ Cocktail. Alternative Medicine Review. 2002 Oct;7(5):389-403.

Intravenous Micronutrient Therapy (Myers' Cocktail) for Fibromyalgia: A Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2009 Mar; 15(3): 247–257.

Intravenous Vitamin C administration reduces fatigue in office workers: a double-blind randomized controlled trial. Nutrition Journal. 2012; 11: 7.

Intravenous vitamin C as adjunctive therapy for enterovirus/rhinovirus induced acute respiratory distress syndrome. World Journal of Critical Care Medicine. 2017 Feb 4; 6(1): 85–90.

Intravenous Vitamin C in the treatment of shingles: Results of a multicenter prospective cohort study. Medical Science Monitor. 2012; 18(4): CR215–CR224.

Intravenous vitamin C in the treatment of allergies: an interim subgroup analysis of a long-term observational study. Medical Science Monitor. 2018 Sep; 46(9): 3640–3655.

Effect of high dose vitamin C on Epstein-Barr viral infection. Medical Science Monitor. 2014; 20: 725–732.

Efficacy of intravenous magnesium sulfate in the treatment of acute migraine attacks. Headache. 2001 Feb;41(2):171-7.

Intravenous magnesium sulfate rapidly alleviates headaches of various types. Headache. 1996 Mar;36(3):154-60.