Intravenous Nutritional Therapy: Changing Cellular Abnormalities

Intravenous (IV) therapy is a method of feeding minerals, vitamins, and amino acids directly into the bloodstream in order to correct intracellular nutrient deficiencies—with the ultimate goal of delivering up to ten times the nutrients than could be administered orally. With thirty-three years of Anti-Aging and holistic medicine, Mitchell Ghen, DO, PhD is an international lecturer on oral and IV nutrition, and stem cell transplantation, and discusses the benefits of intravenous nutritional therapies: “Regardless of what you do orally, the amount that you take by mouth in nutrients or in food is reduced as we get older. Only by IV route can you get sufficient nutrients: If you are over 40, without the IV route, you cannot get the nutrients you need.”

When expounding upon the critical necessity of knowing, implementing, and practicing IV therapy, Dr. Ghen refers to chilling statistics and data. “75% of the United States population has some sort of chronic disease. In the typical Western model, we are just using a Band-Aid…we are handling symptoms, as opposed to treating the underlying cell abnormalities.” As integrative and holistic medicine grows at a more rapid rate than any other sector in healthcare, IV therapy and other alternatives are gaining more traction and popularity, in addition to a greater understanding regarding nutritional balance.

Experts agree that the overarching goal of IV therapy is to recreate the cell-to-cell milieu of someone youthful. “We are the most healthy between ages 18 and 32—we are basically immortal at that time,” says Dr. Ghen. Considering the fact that many patients are consistently overmedicated with prescription drugs and pharmaceuticals, Dr. Ghen is eager to disseminate information surrounding new ways of returning to optimal health. “The first year of medical school everyone studies biochemistry. In the biochemical model, we find all the things that we use intravenously; by using IV therapy, we are returning to the genesis—the beginning—we are trying to create the initial, early ways in which cells become healthy.”

Dorothy Merritt, MD focuses on preventive and environmental medicine, lead toxicity, nutritional genetics, and microcurrent. Dr. Merritt has founded a number of centers that specialize in treatment of lead toxicity, and was one of 100 principal investigators for the NIH TACT trial for chelation therapy—a treatment used for removing heavy metals from the blood. “Based on the results of TACT, a random controlled NIH trial, EDTA Chelation is soon going to be the number one treatment in diabetics to prevent further morbidity and mortality. TACT 2, a confirmatory trial in diabetics with previous heart disease is already underway. If it replicates TACT, the FDA will approve it and every primary care doctor, endocrinologist, and cardiologist will need to know how to do this simple treatment in their offices.”

For those readers who have wondered why healthcare practitioners and professionals are adding IV therapy to their practices, A4M will be hosting an IV Symposium from August 11-12, designed for physicians, nurse practitioners, and any medical professional looking to develop knowledge of intravenous nutritional therapies. The two-day course in Las Vegas, which will include lectures from both Dr. Ghen and Dr. Merritt, will cover the fundamentals of IV therapy, and expand on the use of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other unique parenteral compounds, while also concentrating on chelation therapy. Clinicians completing this workshop will have a thorough understanding of IV therapy, and the ability to immediately implement various IV protocols into their practices. The course has been provided multiple times per year for the past three years, offering hundreds of clinicians training through an actively hands-on experience. Attendees will receive 16 CME credits. Register now.

BHRT Basics: The Myths & The Facts

While there is no magic bullet or cure to effectively reverse or stall the aging process, many experts believe that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) comes close. BHRT technically refers to the use of hormones that mimic the endogenous hormones produced by our bodies, with the ability to restore normal physiological pathways with optimal bodily responses. Because aging results in a myriad of declining health issues, BHRT has the potential to restore declining hormone levels, while slowing the aging process, preventing chronic disease, and restoring vigor and vitality.

Kenneth Orbeck, DO practices bioidentical hormone therapy at his integrative and functional medicine practice in South Carolina, citing that hormonal therapy is in large part effective because it requires doctors to have routine contact with patients. This, in turn, delivers optimal results, as patients are not simply receiving prescriptions, but rather being continuously monitored by physicians. “I have no rejections, no infections…it does take training, and you have to understand the therapy, but this ensures a very consistent, linear delivery.” Dr. Orbeck’s patients have been treated for a range of symptoms often associated with aging, including hot flashes, night sweats, decreased libido, fatigue, and irritability.

Jennifer Landa, MD, Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD, has likewise dedicated her practice to bioidentical hormone therapy and preventive medicine, in order to assist men and women resolve menopausal and andropausal symptoms. Dr. Landa explains that results are often contingent upon the ways in which hormones are administered, in addition to the fact that not all hormones are created equally. “Only someone trained as an expert knows the good and bad, and really understands the studies. When we talk bioidentical, it is a way of saying the same exact chemical structure of what is in our body naturally. People do not realize that there are already plenty of prescriptions with bioidentical hormones.” Like Orbeck, Landa’s patients have continuously experienced positive health and wellness through hormonal balance and preventive medicine, in large part to customized BHRT therapy.

Landa clarifies that much of the hormone literature is inaccurate, because most of the studies are conducted with ‘bad’ hormones, like progestin. Landa further discusses a study at Yale, in which researchers and scientists stated that the women only taking estrogen should have stayed on it, and that many more women died of heart disease because they were taken off of their hormones. Landa states, “Timing is of the essence in hormone therapy. Unfortunately, many doctors are still not schooled properly in this area. Even the American College of OBGYN has agreed that we should not be taking older women off of hormones, as symptoms will likely recur.”

Sahar Swidan, PharmD, President & CEO of Pharmacy Solutions in Ann Arbor, Michigan—a uniquely personal, educational specialty pharmacy—and Clinical Associate Professor of Pharmacy at the College of Pharmacy at University of Michigan, explains that while we continue to lump bioidentical hormones with synthetic hormones, they are physiologically extremely different—“Yet you cannot pick up a medical article without clumping them together. Estrogens are not all the same.” Swidan describes the process of hormone therapy as highly individualized, and that physicians must understand their patients’ levels before prescribing hormones. “The earlier we start hormone therapy, the better people do. I tell people: I promise you, you don’t have a Prozac deficiency…you probably have a progesterone deficiency.”

Thierry Hertoghe, MD comes from a family that has worked with bioidentical hormone therapy for four successive generations. Like Swidan and Landa, he believes that BHRT represents the most powerful tools in order to stay healthy, and maintain physical appearance. He elucidates that BHRT has the capacity to treat causes, conditions, and not solely consequences; more importantly, Hertoghe firmly believes that BHRT is both safer and more efficient. “It is personalized, and I can vary the doses. In standardized pharmaceutical medicine, you have one or two doses—but you certainly do not have the possibility of 15-20 doses, depending on the patient. BHRT allows us to fine-tune treatment.” Hertoghe further illuminates the ability of hormone therapy to treat several types of disorders: both physical and psychological, that stem from hormonal imbalances.

A4M/MMI will be hosting a BHRT Symposium in Chicago, from September 14-16. During the three-day workshop, experts will analyze the medical evidence surrounding BHRT, while participants can learn from instructors actively practicing this specialty: Dr. Hertoghe will discuss the ways in which to identify signs of hormonal deficiencies in patients, and how to subsequently treat imbalances. Sessions will ultimately allow attendees to gain the information needed to safely and effectively merge BHRT into practice. Attendees will receive 23 CME credits. Register now.

The Study of Sleep

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have deemed insufficient sleep to be a public health epidemic, as millions of people suffer from lack of sleep and sleep disorders, with related health problems and cognitive impairment. Sleep disorders and sleep hygiene constitute primary reasons for patients seeking medical advice and intervention, as there are over 100 different types and forms of sleep disorders, which range from excessive sleepiness during the daytime to difficulty sleeping at night.

Sahar Swidan, PharmD and Kelly Olson, PhD, have worked in both sleep and pain management for decades, partially due to the huge overlap and comorbidity between sleep and pain, and because of the similar neurochemistry and neurobiology. Olson is Director of Clinical Research & Development at SleepImage, with a Master’s in Science and a PhD in Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Swidan currently serves as President & CEO of Pharmacy Solutions in Ann Arbor, Michigan: a uniquely personal, educational specialty pharmacy; she also acts as Clinical Associate Professor of Pharmacy at the College of Pharmacy of University of Michigan. While Swidan often receives questions regarding sleep hygiene from people who have tried a host of various sleep aids, she also has many patients with pain problems who simultaneously suffer from sleep disorders and are unable to get restful sleep.

Olson has spent the last decade practicing integrative medicine, with a specific focus on molecular neuro-pharmacology. As previous director of research and development for a medical device company that worked with Harvard on new innovations, she found that there was “so much physiology behind impaired sleep that it is almost like an iceberg—we can just see the tip.” Olson has found that sleep is a fairly uncharted territory, which requires more research in order to understand the neuro-circuitry. “It is very unique,” she says, “just like DNA fingerprints—specific to each person.”

A4M Sleep Workshop

Both Olson and Swidan aim to create teaching practices that are rooted in enjoyment, interaction, and practicality. Due to practicing pain management and neurology for over two decades, in addition to the majority of her publications and clinical teachings surrounding pain management, Swidan attempts to teach better ways of treatment—as her students touch ‘thousands of lives.’ Olson is committed to developing practices and protocols that students can immediately implement and integrate into practice: “I mix in the science with applicable clinical relevancy, while presenting case studies from my own experience. Clinicians need to know how to apply the science to their own patients.”

In conjunction with the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M), Swidan and Olson will be holding a Sleep Workshop on July 29th, in West Palm Beach, Florida, covering topics that include the physiology and neurobiology of sleep; the effects of hormones, adrenal, and HPA dysregulation on sleep disorders; techniques that can assist in healthy sleep hygiene; and tools that reset the circadian clock, regulate HPA, and the neuro-endocrine connection. Pamela Hughes, DO, ABFM, FAARM, an expert in functional medicine, will join Swidan and Olson in discussing elements of brain fitness, in addition to patient clinical case studies. Interested physicians or healthcare practitioners can apply here.

 “I am against money-based medicine,” says Swidan, who has committed years of research and investigation into both sleep disorders and pain management—particularly the recent global spread of the opioid epidemic, and the connections between sleep hygiene and pain management. “This is a national epidemic; we need to do something at our level and teach our students how to treat this.”