Ever wonder why we can’t just get all our nutrients from the foods we eat?

Unfortunately, the typical American diet is known for its excess sugars, saturated fat and sodium, while having a deficiency in the recommended fruits, vegetables, dairy and healthy oils (1). It’s referred to by dieticians and nutritionists as the Standard American Diet (this is often abbreviated as SAD, a fitting acronym).

With our busy lifestyles, it is all too easy to reach for processed and fast food to fuel our bodies, which may leave us depleted of essential nutrients. But even if we have a perfect diet, that still doesn’t mean that our bodies can absorb all the necessary nutrients from our food due to poor digestion issues.  

When we eat food, our bodies break it down into nutrients like vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. These nutrients are then absorbed from our gut into the bloodstream, where they are circulated throughout our bodies. The prevalence of digestive issues such as leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, or aging, means that our bodies may not be efficiently absorbing these nutrients from the food we do take in (2,3).

With these challenges, it’s no wonder that studies show 31 percent of the US population to be at risk for at least one nutrient deficiency or anemia (4). You may choose oral vitamin supplementation, but that is still subject to digestion before the vitamins can be absorbed and utilized.  Since absorption rates vary from person to person, you may never know exactly how much of that supplement you are taking orally is making its way into your cells.  

In the pursuit of optimal health and well-being, sometimes our bodies need an extra boost of essential nutrients that just can’t be provided by a healthy diet alone. As a result, intravenous (IV) nutrient therapy has gained recognition in recent years as a powerful tool for meeting additional health needs.

What is IV nutrient therapy…?  
IV nutrient therapy delivers essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients directly into your bloodstream. This allows the nutrients to bypass the digestive system to be quickly and efficiently utilized by your cells.

There are several benefits to utilizing IV nutrient therapy to optimize your health:
• Nutrients delivered directly to your blood via IV are immediately available to fuel your body.
• IV administration bypasses your gut and can prevent unwanted side effects that oral supplementation may cause.
• In some instances, it may be desirable to receive higher concentrations of nutrients via IV than what would be achievable using oral supplementation (5).

…And how do I determine if IV nutrient therapy can help me? 
Fine tuning your nutrient ratios is a customized approach that ensures your body receives the necessary building blocks for proper cellular function and health.

Patients should first consult with a qualified medical professional who can assess your individual needs and determine if an IV nutrient therapy is appropriate for you. If it is, the prescriber will write a patient-specific prescription for the protocol that meets your nutritional needs. You then take that prescription to a compounding pharmacy to have it filled.

What’s a “compounding pharmacy”?
A traditional compounding pharmacy creates a customized medication, most often from raw ingredients, for an individual patient pursuant to a prescription. Pharmacists’ ability to compound medications from pure ingredients is authorized in federal law and for good reasons: Manufactured drugs don’t come in strengths and dosage forms that are right for everyone, and physicians need to be able to prescribe customized medications when, in their judgment, a manufactured drug is not the best course of therapy for a patient.

Similarly, compounding pharmacies can take individual vitamins, minerals, amino acids, or other nutrients to make a preparation that meets your personalized nutritional needs. This customization ensures that you receive precise and optimized nutrient blends to support your individual health goals.

Compounding pharmacies adhere to strict quality control standards to ensure the safety, sterility, and efficacy of their formulations, including compounded IV nutritional therapies. They source high-quality ingredients from trusted suppliers and follow rigorous compounding protocols. By meeting or exceeding industry standards, compounding pharmacies provide healthcare professionals and patients with confidence in the reliability and consistency of the compounded IV nutrients.

Compounding pharmacies offer personalized care and offering customized solutions to meet your individual needs. IV nutrient therapy is an example of this and can be a valuable addition to your wellness toolkit.  

To learn more about compounding and to find a compounding pharmacy near you, visit a4pc.org and compounding.com.

By Lori Harrison, INHC, Director of Therapeutic Line Specialists, Revelation Pharma

1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/previous-dietary-guidelines/2015.
2. Lindsay H Allen. How common is vitamin B-12 deficiency?, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 89, Issue 2, February 2009, Pages 693S–696S, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2008.26947A
3. Bischoff SC, Barbara G, Buurman W, Ockhuizen T, Schulzke JD, Serino M, Tilg H, Watson A, Wells JM. Intestinal permeability--a new target for disease prevention and therapy. BMC Gastroenterol. 2014 Nov 18;14:189. doi: 10.1186/s12876-014-0189-7. PMID: 25407511; PMCID: PMC4253991.
4. Bird JK, Murphy RA, Ciappio ED, McBurney MI. Risk of Deficiency in Multiple Concurrent Micronutrients in Children and Adults in the United States. Nutrients. 2017 Jun 24;9(7):655. doi: 10.3390/nu9070655. PMID: 28672791; PMCID: PMC5537775.
5. Spoelstra-de Man AME, Elbers PWG, Oudemans-Van Straaten HM. Vitamin C: should we supplement? Curr Opin Crit Care. 2018 Aug;24(4):248-255. doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000000510. PMID: 29864039; PMCID: PMC6039380