With COVID-19 ravaging the world and causing a global public health crisis, it is no surprise that there is a renewed focus on strategies to support the immune system. While vitamin supplementation is not a cure for infection with coronavirus or SARS-CoV (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome associated with coronavirus), it is well established that deficiencies in essential vitamins can have serious consequences and that their supplementation may be beneficial. As the data around COVID-19 and vitamin deficiency treatments emerge, there is a renewed focus on the role of vitamins and our immunity, particularly under these extreme circumstances.
Vitamins are essential micronutrients required by the body. Their therapeutic range is vast. In fact, the “vit” part of the name stands for vital. These vital organic compounds are required in trace amounts, as they cannot be synthesized either at all or to the extent that they are needed, by the body.
Vitamins are utilized by the immune system to support both innate and adaptive immune responses. For instance, vitamins A and D have a significant role to play in the healthy functioning of the immune system. They are vital for modulating a broad range of immune processes, such as lymphocyte activation and proliferation, T-helper-cell differentiation, and immune response regulation. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that vitamin D reduces the risk of infections by lowering viral replication rates. Some vitamins, such as vitamins C and E and members of the vitamin B-complex, support the immune system in a generic manner. For example, they may play a role as antioxidants.
What is Nutritional Intravenous Vitamin Therapy?
Nutritional intravenous (IV) vitamin therapy is a fast-acting strategy that may be applied to circumvent the digestive system to administer essential vitamins. By accessing the circulatory system, it is possible to administer therapies at speed and avoid issues that may arise due to malabsorption during digestion. The direct application of vitamins into the circulatory system is a long-established strategy, for instance, in patients who suffer from vitamin B deficiency. Vitamin B is one of a cluster of vitamins that may not be successfully absorbed in the digestive tract, requiring administration through nutritional IV therapy to circumvent disease.
There are a wide range of nutritional IV therapy formulas available. Common to all is that they provide fast-acting access to a range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and other nutrients. The vitamins administered via IV are those that are water-soluble, including vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, glutathione, riboflavin, biotin, and pantothenic acid. Such nutritional therapies also supply essential water-soluble minerals such as zinc.
The Therapeutic Potential of Nutritional IV Therapy & Immunity
Nutritional IV vitamin therapy is a well-established practice that ensures the delivery of essential vitamins to patients who are deficient in essential micronutrients, such as those recovering from medical procedures, undertaking chemotherapy, struggling with challenged immune systems, or experiencing recent malnutrition. Malnutrition is not restricted to patients who have suffered gastrointestinal disease or a lack of access to food. Vitamin deficiency is, in fact, common in those suffering from obesity.
Vitamin supplementation, especially in patients with known deficiencies, has been shown to be beneficial in:
- Overcoming malabsorption diseases
- Energy restoration
- Increased immunity
- Reducing the impact of chronic illness
- Mental clarity
- Reducing inflammation
- Pain relief
- Muscle recovery
- Obesity-associated malnutrition
- Skin-condition improvements
- Reducing the risk of infections
In nutritional IV therapy, the vitamins are injected directly into the bloodstream and must be applied and monitored by a trained professional. The patient needs to be relaxed and reassured to ensure that the administration of the IV is pain-free, stress-free, and safe. The IV should be applied promptly, with a single operation and no repeated penetrations.
Most states require, at minimum, a registered nurse credential for application of nutritional IV therapy. Your state’s board of medicine will provide the exact requirements. It is also vital that a full patient history is considered prior to treatment.
Nutritional IV Therapy and COVID-19
In a time of COVID-19, it is particularly interesting to see the data emerge in support of vitamin C as a therapeutic measure to reduce the ventilation time required by patients suffering from severe respiratory problems. Multiple studies have confirmed this finding, with the average required ventilation time in the treatment group being reduced by 1/4. Please note that the mechanism by which vitamin C has provided this therapeutic effect is not yet understood, and professionals must continue to advise their patients that supplementation is not an approved methodology to combat viral infections such as COVID-19.
Vitamin D is also receiving attention in COVID-19 studies because of its role in reducing concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines that induce the inflammation that results in damage to the lining of the lungs. Several studies and clinical trials have reported that vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of influenza for COVID-19 patients.
- The Myers’ Cocktail is the most popular and well-known formulation blend for treating patients and can boost immunity. Learn more about this formulation here.
- All of our sterile compounded medication prescriptions are customized by a prescriber to an individual patient.
- Pharmacists Are Vital to Providing Flu, COVID-19 Vaccines
- Contact us to write a prescription today.
Over the years, VLS Pharmacy has helped medical practices and clinicians get started with nutritional IV therapy. Reach out to our team to learn about best practices and to partner with our experts on custom infusion treatments for your patients.
All medications from VLS Pharmacy and New Drug Loft are prepared in a lab that follows safety and quality standards per our status as a 503A pharmacy.