What Is Chronic Illness?
Chronic illness is a broad category that includes a variety of conditions stemming from multiple sources. What all chronic medical conditions have in common is that they typically are not in themselves a cause of death—or stated in other words, they do not fall under a category of a terminal illness.
Although conditions that cause a chronic illness are not terminal, they have many devastating effects on an individual’s quality of life, such as pain, suffering, and loss of employment, just to name a few. Unfortunately, our governments and centralized medical bodies focus most of the research effort and allocating of funding for diseases that cause the highest rates of mortality, even though these diseases only comprise a small percentage of serious medical conditions impacting populations at large.
Next, I’d like to talk about intravenous (IV) therapy, but before doing so, I must define integrative medicine, which has long embraced IV therapy for treatment of chronic illnesses.
What Is Integrative Medicine?
Integrative physicians practice medicine in a way that selectively incorporates elements of complementary and alternative medicine into comprehensive treatment plans alongside solidly orthodox methods of diagnosis and treatment. They use a holistic approach that incorporates diagnoses of individuals’ lifestyle factors, such as diet, exercise, quality of rest and sleep, and the nature of relationships.
Among many other differences between integrative medicine and traditional medicine, one of the main differentiators of integrative from mainstream medicine is that integrative medicine focuses on chronic illness. An integrative medical practice is often where people end up when they have been ignored, rejected, or mismanaged at their traditional points of medical care.
Integrative doctors will use their extensive knowledge of nutrition, herbal medicine, metabolic and hormonal imbalances, and the impact of various toxins on health to create a comprehensive plan to promote healing, reverse imbalances, and reduce toxic burdens on the body. This effort does not always result in complete reversal of chronic illness, but under expert integrative guidance always leads to an improvement in quality of life and a reduction of the burden of a particular illness on the individual.
What Are Some Examples of Chronic Illnesses?
- Central neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, although progressive, are considered chronic illnesses because they progress slowly, and their burden can be significantly reduced with integrative medical techniques.
- Autoimmune disease such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease are chronic conditions that cause pain, swelling, fatigue, and many other issues. All are poorly treated by conventional methods.
- Post-viral and other post-infection syndromes, including Epstein-Barr, post-Lyme, and now post-COVID-19, are poorly understood, poorly managed at best, and completely ignored at worst.
- Peripheral neuropathy conditions create a significant loss of quality of life and are often under-treated and mismanaged by the traditional medical community.
- Mitochondrial disease is a broad category of illness with many potential causes. Both the causes and treatment options for mitochondrial disease are inadequately investigated and treated.
- Cognitive impairment disorders, which can be tied to many causes, include traumatic brain injury, post-stroke syndromes, and post-anesthesia syndromes, to name just a few examples.
- Mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are imperfectly managed by traditional medications, which often produce many side effects.
What Are Some of the Commonalities between Various Chronic illnesses?
First and foremost, the presence of inflammation is part of all chronic illnesses. In addition, there is typically a depletion of key nutrients and molecules involved in energy production, a reduction of the cells’ ability to extract oxygen from the circulating blood, and a breakdown of the integrity of the cell walls of the tissues of the body and brain.
One of the most effective ways to treat and reduce the burden of chronic illness if through IV nutrition.
How does IV Therapy Help?
IV administration of any substance has advantages over oral administration due to either its 100% absorption or bioavailability of that substance when it is administered intravenously.
Unlike conventional medical uses of IV therapy, primarily for end-of-life support, integrative medical practitioners embrace IV therapy as a way of quickly restoring balance in the body and improving quality of life while the individual still has many productive years of life ahead of him- or herself.
What Are Some Examples of IV Therapies for Chronic Illness?
Medical IV ozone has been used in the US for over thirty years. Its benefits include improvement of the cell’s ability to extract oxygen for its many metabolic functions, improvement of energy production, enhanced ability to clear infections, and increased immune strength in fighting current and incoming infections. It is also widely used to reduce the immune system’s reactivity against an individual’s organs and tissues, known as an autoimmune reaction.
NAD, or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, is a molecule essential for life and is involved in many essential functions in our cells. Some of the key functions of NAD include energy production and cellular repair. Chronic illnesses deplete this molecule. When NAD is administered intravenously, many key functions of the musculoskeletal and neurological system can be improved and even normalized. NAD has also been shown to be effective in treating addiction and depression.
Known as one of the most potent antioxidants made by our body, glutathione also plays many key roles in the cells of the body and the brain. All chronic illnesses drain glutathione stores, which creates a state of weakness, vulnerability to stress, and inability for the body to repair itself. Restoring glutathione levels is vital in reducing any chronic condition’s burden on the body, and IV glutathione administration is a popular integrative wellness solution.
IV Alpha-Lipoic Acid
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is another potent antioxidant that helps our cells recycle vitamins C and E as well as glutathione. ALA is essential in cell repair, energy production, and inflammation reduction. When given intravenously, ALA can be effective in stimulating nerve repair, reducing blood sugar levels, and reducing pain and inflammation.
IV High-Dose Vitamin C
Vitamin C functions differently when administered in small quantities, less than 10 grams, from when it’s administered in large quantities, greater than 25 grams. In small quantities, vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps with reduction of inflammation and bolstering of our immune system. When given in large quantities, it is considered an oxidative treatment that can effectively increase cells’ ability to make energy, clear waste products, and eliminate viruses and bacteria. There is also evidence of high-dose vitamin C therapy weakening cancer cells, which confuse vitamin C with glucose. Because a cancer cell does not share a normal cell’s ability to process vitamin C, it becomes impaired in the process of mistakenly attempting to do so. Frequently, high-dose vitamin C can help traditional chemotherapy be more effective. Administering high doses of vitamin C is often best accomplished intravenously as part of an integrative wellness approach.
Although ketamine’s benefits in treating mental illness have been known since the early 2000s, its entrance into most integrative medical practices has been relatively recent. Ketamine is a potent blocker of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, a receptor that allows for transmission of the nervous system’s noxious signals of pain, fear, anxiety, and depressed mood. A ketamine blockade of this receptor has been related to nerve repair and reductions of brain inflammation, anxiety, depression, and PTSD-related symptoms. Administering ketamine intravenously as part of an integrative wellness approach is an effective and efficient method of creating an effective blockade against NMDA receptors.
At OWM Integrative Wellness, we incorporate IV therapy into every aspect of care, from enhancing wellness to managing illness. In the treatment of chronic illnesses, IV therapy frequently takes center stage due to its ability to quickly impact the body.
To learn more about the benefits of IV infusion therapy, please visit us here.