IV Therapy for Immune Support
It’s cold and flu season, and many people are suffering from lingering coughs and recurrent upper respiratory infections. After the holidays, when overconsumption of sugar, fatty foods, and alcohol have depleted the immune system, we can be left with the perfect setup for viruses and bacteria to invade our system and cause illness.
Severe symptoms of nasal congestion and discharge, sinus fullness and pain, and coughs that persist for weeks after the initial illness can mean your immune system needs support. For many patients, back-to-back infections can also be a sign that your system needs a boost, and IV therapy can help.
So, how does IV therapy help? Delivering nutrients directly into your blood stream means you are getting them right to the cells that need them most — your immune cells. White blood cells including macrophages, lymphocytes, and neutrophils are the keys to warding off harmful foreign invaders.
Adequate intake of vitamins and trace elements is required for the immune system, including your white blood cells, to function efficiently,5 and substantial evidence shows that depletion of important nutrients is associated with more infections.6 At Vitality, we formulate specific IV therapies to support the immune system and include key nutrients.
Immune-Boosting Vitamins and Minerals
Zinc is a trace element that is necessary for a healthy immune system. A lack of zinc can make a person more susceptible to disease and illness. It is responsible for a number of functions in the human body, and it helps stimulate the activity of at least 100 different enzymes.
Some studies have found that zinc may reduce the duration of colds, perhaps by as much as 50% if taken within 24 hours,1 and it may reduce the number of upper respiratory infections in children.2 Zinc has been shown to inhibit rhinovirus activity, the most common virus that causes colds, and have activity against other respiratory viruses, like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).3 RSV is a virus that causes a lung infection in pediatric patients called bronchiolitis, which can lead to severe respiratory problems.
Vitamin C is well known for its immune-boosting benefits, and loading up on vitamin C containing foods is often used as a first line of defense during cold and flu season. Studies have repeatedly confirmed the immune-boosting role of vitamin C, and getting enough vitamin C may help reduce the symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory tract illnesses.
Vitamin C plays two roles in infections: it helps improve the function of the immune system, and it acts as an antioxidant to protect cells during the inflammatory process. During activation of the immune system, reactive toxins are produced that can lead to damage of even healthy cells,4 and vitamin C helps to mitigate the process.
B vitamins, in conjunction with adequate levels of C, selenium, zinc, copper, and iron, support a healthy immune response by allowing the production of proinflammatory Th1 cytokines, which can maintain the immune response to help prevent extracellular infections.5
B vitamins also help maintain a process called methylation, which is a chemical process that keeps the cells functioning properly and can become impaired when there is inflammation.
Like vitamin C, glutathione is a major antioxidant that helps calm down the inflammatory process once it’s done its job. It protects healthy cells from the toxins produced during the process of an illness.
Glutathione can easily become depleted during an acute illness, which can then leave the body susceptible to toxicant build-up and ongoing inflammation even though the inciting agent (virus or bacteria) has been eradicated.
Supporting adequate nutrient status before, during, and after an infection is important, as infections can lead to micronutrient deficiencies by depleting valuable vitamins and minerals needed for the body’s systems to function.5
Most studies show that providing nutrient support (most studies are done with oral supplementation) within the first 24 hours is probably the most beneficial, but if you are having back-to-back infections, it may be that your nutrients are being consumed by a continual state of inflammation, and restoring those nutrient levels can help bring you back to balance.6
- Rashmi Ranjan Das, MD, FCCP; and Meenu Singh, MD, FCCP. “Oral Zinc for the Common Cold.” JAMA. 2014;311(14):1440-1441. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.1404