Call 703-844-0184 | Fairfax, Va 22304 | IV Vitamin Therapy | IV Drip | Vitamin Doctor | IV Vitamin Treatment Center
This is a great question I get asked all the time. My usual answer is that intravenous (IV) vitamins, minerals and nutrients delivered directly into your bloodstream carries the nutrients straight to your cells where they can do their job as cofactors for a wide variety of cellular processes immediately. Intravenous delivery is the most efficient method of administration for any compound or medication, not just vitamins. IV antibiotics work better and faster than oral antibiotics. IV pain medications work better and faster than oral pain medications. IV saline solution works better and faster than drinking a glass of water. It’s simply a universal truth of medicine.
But this answer typically leads to another question: Why do we need to administer extra vitamins and nutrients by an IV? We ingest vitamins every time we eat so shouldn’t that be enough?
My answer is: “Maybe not … especially if you’re feeling a little ‘off’”.
Here’s why. Our digestive tracts have to break down the food we ingest to extract everything from minerals to amino acids to antioxidants to fat and even water soluble vitamins. This process is very complex and it’s actually pretty inefficient. Only a small amount (20-30%) of the vitamins we ingest get absorbed. The rest are excreted. Plus a lot of things can go wrong in the process of extracting nutrients from food… especially when we are STRESSED!
Here’s a quick list:
- Poor breakdown: Eating too fast without chewing and pH changes in the level of stomach acidity affect the breakdown of food and the activation of enzymes and vitamins like B12.
- Poor quality food: Let’s face it …under stress we tend to eat comfort food which is usually of poor nutritional quality.
- Poor digestion: Stress triggers the “fight or flight” sympathetic nervous system which decreases blood flow to the digestive tract and lowers the output of pancreatic enzymes by as much as 20,000 fold. These enzymes are responsible for the break down of fats, carbohydrates and protein into small absorbable pieces and for the release of vitamins and nutrients from food so they can be absorbed into the circulation.
- Poor absorption: The healthy bacteria in the gut, which also produce vitamins and regulate our immune systems, die under stress. Unhealthy “pathogenic” (bad) bacteria and fungi grow in their place. These bugs disturb digestion and trigger inflammation causing damage to the gut lining. When the gut lining of the small intestine (which is where nutrients are absorbed) suffers under stress, vitamins, minerals and nutrients are not taken up properly into the blood to be transported to our cells.
The bottom line is this: nutrients in food are harder to break down, digest and absorb because the digestive tract itself is a very complex, sensitive mechanism that doesn’t perform well under stress.
Now I can hear you ask the next question that inevitably comes up: Who cares if my supply of nutrients is low if nothing else is wrong?
Well, there’s more bad news. Stress increases our need for energy. Brain cells need more neurotransmitters, cells need to divide and make DNA, stress hormones need to be manufactured, muscles need to contract harder. The liver may have to work overtime to clean up toxins if we decide to “soothe” our nerves by drinking alcohol and smoking.
The energy for all this extra activity is made in your mitochondria—the microscopic power plants in each of our cells—with the help of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. We already know these are in short supply, because of the negative effects of stress on the digestive tract. So guess what? You’re going to have a very difficult time making enough energy to maintain your stressed out state if you’re suffering from a nutrient deficit.
Understand this process takes place even under a mild stress from relationships, overworking or over exercising. In these situations our energy needs go up, but our gut function is adversely impacted and we simply don’t have enough of the vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, we need to maintain health. Eventually the low supply and high demand situation leads to a breakdown in health, so it is best to be proactive. Lower stress and increase micronutrients and vitamins, especially with IV nutritional therapy.
This imbalance in the process described above is more dramatically compounded if you are suffering from more severe stressors which have already caused issues like fatigue, headaches, upset stomach, insomnia, frequent infections, aches and pains, and a wide variety of other symptoms. Basically, if something doesn’t feel right you can be pretty certain it’s due to some kind of nutrient deficiency. If this goes on too long cells begin to suffer, symptoms worsen, and chronic illness can result.
To review, here is how intravenous (IV) vitamins and nutrients therapy works:
- IV Therapy bypasses the entire digestive system including your liver. This means we don’t have to worry about the breakdown, digestion and absorption of food, because we administer the nutrients directly into blood.
- IV Therapy increases blood and tissue concentrations of vitamins far above the levels we can ever achieve even by taking vitamins orally.
- IV Therapy temporarily and safely floods cells with an oversupply of the nutrients needed to make energy and the building blocks of our cells like proteins, fats, DNA and cells membranes.
- IV Therapy can deliver fat soluble vitamins (A, E, D and K), water soluble vitamins (C, B1,2,3,5,6,7,8,9,12) , minerals (magnesium, calcium, zinc), amino acids…and more directly to all cells.
The effects of making these nourishing vitamins available to your cells in abundance can be dramatic and almost instantaneous. Many patients report an increase in energy, better mood, less anxiety, improved immunity and sleep, faster recovery from muscle fatigue and a lifting of their mental “fog” very soon after treatment.
Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) Insurance Billing and Reimbursements
NOVA Health Recovery strives to keep your “out of pocket” costs down. For this reason we have the following options:
HSA and FSA accounts:
For the most part, most FSA and HSA plans qualify as a form of payment for your IV Treatments (not applicable for “cosmetic” treatments). If you have a debit card for your FSA or HSA plan, we can usually charge it directly. We also provide you with an itemized Superbill which is a specialized receipt which includes the medical diagnosis and procedure codes applicable for your treatment in case you need to be reimbursed indirectly by your plan. The advantage is that you will be paying with pre-tax money which is already designated for medical spending.
We charge the amount for your treatment upfront and we can generate a Superbill for you upon request. This is a specialized receipt which includes the medical diagnosis and procedure codes your insurance will need from you to reimburse you for what you paid us at the time of your service. Use the Superbill to fill out the 1 page reimbursement form your insurance has available on their website.
Here are some links for certain insurance’s reimbursement forms:
- Anthem Blue Cross Reimbursement Form
- Blue Shield Reimbursement Form
- United Health Reimbursement Form
- Aetna Reimbursement Form
- Cigna Reimbursement Form
We strongly recommend undergoing a comprehensive set of tests that allow us to look deep into your physiology so we can uncover your specific biochemical needs. Doing this helps us to pinpoint precisely what kind of support you require and personalize your IV treatments. It’s like treating an infection with “wide spectrum antibiotics” versus treating it with medication that pinpoints the exact organism causing you problems. One is a scatter shot approach that may or may not help. The other is so laser focused we can be reasonably sure it will produce rapid results.
To give you a sense for how this works, here is an example of results from a recent patient’s tests:
As you can easily see for yourself, this person was severely deficient in vitamin B9, and required high doses to replete this vital nutrient. On the other hand, her B6 and B7 levels were in the normal range. So instead of creating an IV of broad spectrum B vitamins and hope for the best, we were able to pinpoint her precise deficiencies and focus treatment in that area.
We would like to offer you the same opportunity to find out exactly which nutrients you need to achieve optimal health.
Until we receive the results of individual tests, we can give IV vitamins and nutrients based on your history and symptoms. For example, the Immunity & Wellness IV is a “wide spectrum” treatment which covers most common deficiencies and works very well in the interim.
Then when your tests arrive we can develop personalized IVs to fit your unique biochemical requirements.
The tests we use are outlined. We not only use the results to customize your IVs, but also to offer personalized guidelines for diet modifications and oral supplementation.
After the results of these tests are received, we finally glean a lot of information. Many times some of the abnormalities found will point to further investigation. For a deeper understanding we encourage you to consider a full Functional Medicine Evaluation with one of our recommended experienced practitioners.
Functional Medicine is a revolution in our understanding of the human body and how illness occurs. It investigates and attempts to fix the root problems compromising your health instead of simply treating the symptoms of illness as most of Western medicine does.
Rather than breaking down medicine into a series of specialties and whole people into parts, functional medicine asks: What are the common underlying links depriving your cells of the nutrients and energy they need to function properly? What are the core factors that are driving all of your health conditions? And what is the simplest, most straight forward way to treat these root problems and resolve illness instead of focusing solely on a reduction in symptoms?
Using a detailed chronological history and sophisticated new laboratory testing, functional medicine practitioners prescribe diet, lifestyle, supplements, hormones and medicines which can help you shift back to your natural healthy state.
For more information on functional medicine and to watch a short video by Dr. Rountree please click here: The Institute for Functional Medicine.
Your Functional Medicine Visit
A full functional medicine evaluation is very detailed, it takes time, and it needs to be done in person. So you should expect your first visit to take 1.5 to 2 hours. During this visit a functional medicine doctor will evaluate some of the following:
- Your symptoms: their nature, what triggers them, what alleviates them, and their chronology
- Your environment
- Your stressors and your stress relievers: work, relationships, sleep, exercise, and others
- Toxin exposure and measurement
- Digestion and Absorption of nutrients
- History of antibiotic use
- Genetic testing (this includes tests for methylation, neurotransmitters, mitochondrial and other mutations, and more)
- Hormonal Testing
- Immune function assessment
- How your elimination pathways are functioning
….and much, much more
The two tests we use the most are the Genova Labs NutrEval and the Spectracell Micronutrient testing. These tests help us measure:
- Vitamin levels such as all the B vitamins important in energy, metabolism, neurotransmitter creation, and DNA formation.
- Antioxidants such as vitamins A, E, C, alpha lipoic acid and CoQ10 all of which are important in neutralizing “free radical damage” to DNA and preventing illness and aging.
- Minerals such as zinc, magnesium, molybdenum and manganese important in cellular energy reactions.
- Amino acid levels which are needed to make protein, such as in the creation of collagen and muscle; and perform a wide variety of other important tasks such as the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the body.
- Absorption markers: These show how well you absorb the nutrients from your food in your intestines Do you have “malabsorption” or “leaky gut syndrome”? These tests help tease apart these questions.
- Dysbiosis: Do you have “bad” bacteria and/or fungal overgrowth in your intestines causing digestive issues like malabsorption, bloating, diarrhea or constipation? This test allow us to find out.
- Fatty acid analysis: Your ratio of omega-3, omega-6, omega-9 and other fats play a major role in your immune response and inflammation Find out how your cellular levels of these important fats are doing.
- Oxidative stress: Shows how well your body is taking care of damaging molecules such as free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) which do harm to your cell’s DNA, proteins and membranes and cause aging.
- Heavy metals: Provides a “snapshot” into the levels of circulating heavy metals present inside your red blood cells.
- Organic acids and toxin detoxification markers: Interesting in discovering what common toxins you are exposed to and how your body is detoxifying them? This test will show you.
Here’s a deeper look inside each one of these tests:
Genova Laboratories “NutrEval FMV”
The NutrEval is the most comprehensive metabolic test available and has become the “gold standard” test I perform on most of the patients who request this type of evaluation. It is a blood and urine test performed being off vitamins and nutrients of any type for 5 days. This allows your body to return to its natural “baseline” so we can more accurately assess specifically what you need. (Please see the sample report below.). Because of the sheer amount of data generated, interpretation of the results often requires around 60 minutes of discussion with our experienced practitioner and will cost a certain fee amount.
Spectracell Laboratory’s “Micronutrient Test”
Spectracell’s Micronutrient Test is very versatile. It measures a wide array of nutrients critically important for an optimally functioning metabolism. Just as with the test by Genova Labs, we recommend you stop all supplements 5 days before you take the test to reach your body’s natural baseline.
This test has a very sophisticated and unique system of measuring your total antioxidant status and overall immune system functioning by growing white blood cells in different culture mediums.
Methylation is a universal process happening in all of our cells, which profoundly affects the way we function. It is how your body generates carbon groups(C-H3) which are essential for managing just about every operation in every cell in the human body. These carbon units are then moved around and attached to different proteins, enzymes and even DNA.
Methylation is critically important for:
- Turn on and off genes (gene regulation)
- Process chemicals, endogenous and xenobiotic compounds (biotransformation)
- Build neurotransmitters (norepinephrine, epinephrine, serotonin, melatonin)
- Metabolize neurotransmitters (dopamine, epinephrine)
- Process hormones (estrogen)
- Build immune cells (T cells, NK cells)
- DNA and histone synthesis (thymine aka 5-methyluracil)
- Produce energy (CoQ10, carnitine, creatine, ATP)
- Produce protective coating on nerves (myelination)
- Build and maintain cell membranes (phosphatidylcholine)
Like Goldilocks and her soup, methylation needs to be just right. Neither too much nor too little is good for optimal health. A direct test of how well you “methylate” is the Doctor’s Data Methylation Pathway Profile (Plasma Test).
This test measures the different products of methylation and also gives a “Methylation Index”. Again you want average, balanced methylation. Here is an example of how the results for this test look:
In addition there are two other tests you can take that will allow you to look even more deeply into how you methylate.
23andMe: Methylation Genetic Testing
There are several ways to test for genetic SNP’s in the methylation pathways, which are variations in DNA sequencing that impact this process. Interpretation of these tests requires expertise, because these SNP’s have such complex interactions. However, the results can be very useful in improving function and correcting even long-standing symptoms from fatigue to hormonal problems to behavioral abnormalities especially when put together with the “Methylation Profile: Plasma” results.
www.23andme.com ’s saliva test kit costs $99 and takes at least one month to process. It maps out your entire genome. In other words it “reads” all of your chromosomes and the SNP’s (variations) observed. The very lengthy “raw data” report that is generated is not interpreted by the company, because of FDA regulations that went into place in 2014. The results can be interpreted through a variety of other websites which have programs to scan the raw data from 23andme for a nominal price between $10 and $30.
Even after this report is available, unless you are very familiar with medical terminology you will likely need to sit down with an expert in functional medicine if you wish to understand the report. When you do, your doctor should cover what mutations you may have and recommendations about supplementation, diet, and lifestyle changes that may be needed as a result. Because of the sheer amount of data available, interpretation of the results often requires 90 minutes of discussion (in person or in remote video conference on Skype) and will usually cost around $250.
Doctor’s Data DNA Methylation Pathway Profile (Whole Blood Test)
A less overwhelming but extremely useful option is the DNA Methylation Whole Blood test by Doctor’s Data Labs.
This test measures the most common and well-known SNP’s rather than reading your entire genome the way 23andme does. SNPs are DNA sequence variations that occur relatively frequently in the general population. They are different from disease mutations, which are very rare. Huntington’s disease is an example of a disease mutation. If you inherit the altered gene, the disease will develop. Certain SNPs may be associated with particular health conditions, but they are not known to directly cause disease. The majority of SNPs affect protein, enzyme or cell receptor structure and function.
At a cost of around $250, the Doctor’s Data DNA Methylation Pathway Profile includes a analysis of variety of SNPs known to influence many aspects of health including:
- Insulin sensitivity
- Bone health
- Cancer risk
- Cardiovascular health
- Detoxification processes
- Mitochondrial function and metabolism
- Neurotransmitter balance
You will still need to go over the report with an expert doctor who can guide you through what the test means and what changes you should make to optimize function based on your results.