Monday, December 23, 2013

Basics Relating To IV Nutritional Therapy

By Cornelia White

IV nutritional therapy has taken the world by storm. Proponents have come up with endless lists of their benefits. But are they really what they are said to be? We will look at the benefits of this approach of supplementation and also explore the shortcomings if they exist. The most important thing to know is that these supplements should be done with a qualified healthcare provider whenever they feel that there is a proper need to do so.

IV nutrients are routinely administered in hospitals to patients who have become too sick to eat. This is taken as a survival measure and not because the route is better. In other patients the nutrition is used as a way of supplementing deficient nutrients.

Nutritional therapy is now commonly used alongside other therapies in the treatment of cancer patients. Cancer patients are exposed to both chemotherapy and radiotherapy. These treatments are associated with the destruction of the immune system and increased susceptibility to infections. Proper nutrition helps in the maintenance of a proper immune system even after most of the cells have been destroyed.

IV therapies have been shown to be more effective in the correction of intracellular deficiencies when compared to oral supplementation. The main reason for this is that they are delivered directly to their intended targets. The digestive tract which frequently lowers the bioavailability of oral supplements is bypassed. This is particularly important to persons that have low hydrochloric acid production.

There are very many varied types of nutrients that can be administered via the intravenous route. Calcium is one of the most important of them. Calcium has been established to have very important functions both in the structure and the physiology of human beings and animals. It is one of the main constituents of bone and teeth. It also plays a central role in the transmission of nerve impulses and contraction of muscles. Its deficiency leads to conditions such as osteomalacia, osteoporosis, muscle cramps and irritability.

Magnesium and zinc have also been successfully supplemented intravenously. These minerals share in some of the functions of calcium. Magnesium in particular is involved in hundreds of biological reactions that include maintenance of the immune system, nervous system and muscle function. Zinc plays an important role in wound healing, immune system integrity and normal pregnancy development among others. Other minerals that are commonly supplemented include vitamin E, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.

Getting the treatment is quite easy. There may be a small amount of pain when the vein is punctured but this may be eliminated completely by the use of analgesic medication. One does not usually need to prepare. In most centres, all that is required is to call the day before. On average the whole process lasts between 1 and 2 hours. The nutrients go in at a slow, controlled rate to avoid overwhelming the body.

There are a number of side effects that are associated with IV Nutritional Therapy. For example, some people have been reported to react to the supplements. Most nutrients have preservatives and these may act as allergens in some patients. It is important that you enquire on whether preservatives have been used or not. Newer products without preservatives have now been developed. The other smaller risks that may occur include bleeding, formation of clots and infection.

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