The immune system protects the body against infection and disease. It is a complex and integrated system of cells, tissues, and organs that have specialized roles in defending against foreign substances and pathogenic microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The immune system also functions to guard against the development of cancer. Sometimes the immune system becomes compromised or weakened, leading to frequent colds and flus, chronic viral infections, auto-immunity, and potentially even cancer. It’s important to support the immune system by eating a nutritious diet, engaging in regular exercise, and getting adequate sleep. However, in addition to this, targeted supplementation of various nutrients can help to boost the immune system to treat or prevent disease.
A vitamin cocktail, known as a Myers’ Cocktail, can be used to improve immune function. The Myers’ cocktail is an intravenous vitamin and mineral infusion that was developed by John Myers, M.D., in the 1970′s. It contains vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, and magnesium in a base of sterile water. By administering the vitamins directly into the bloodstream, it bypasses the gastrointestinal tract and allows for maximal absorption and utilization of the nutrients.
The Myers’ cocktail is a very effective treatment to boost the immune system. If you have a cold or flu, these IVs can help you to recover much faster or even prevent the onset if others around you are sick. It’s an excellent treatment to consider during the cold and flu season. The Myers’ cocktail IV is very safe and generally well tolerated. For colds and flus, it may be recommended as a single treatment or perhaps a short series to boost the immune system and prevent a recurrence of infection. A more extended series (6-12 weekly IVs) can also be used in treating chronic viral infections such as EBV (Epstein Barr virus), which can become re-activated in people who have a compromised immune system, often leading to chronic fatigue. The frequency of IV treatment varies according to the individual’s needs and is determined by you and your doctor.
A Review of Some of the Key Nutrients Included in the Myers’ Cocktail IV:
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects the body’s cells against reactive oxygen species that are generated by immune cells to kill pathogens (bacteria and viruses). Primarily through this role, vitamin C affects several components of innate and adaptive immunity. Vitamin C has been shown to stimulate both the production and function of leukocytes (white blood cells). Neutrophils, which attack foreign bacteria and viruses, seem to be the primary cell type stimulated by vitamin C, but lymphocytes and other phagocytes are also affected. Several studies have shown that supplemental vitamin C increases serum levels of antibodies and C1q complement proteins in guinea pigs, which, like humans, cannot synthesize vitamin C and hence depend on dietary vitamin C.
Patients with a vitamin B12 deficiency have been shown to have suppressed natural killer cell activity and decreased numbers of circulating lymphocytes. Research has shown that these immunomodulatory effects were corrected by treating vitamin B12 deficiencies with supplemental B12.
Animal and human studies have demonstrated that vitamin B6 deficiency impairs aspects of adaptive immunity, including both humoral and cell-mediated immunity. Specifically, deficiency in this micronutrient has been shown to affect lymphocyte proliferation, differentiation, and maturation, as well as cytokine and antibody production. Correcting the vitamin B6 deficiency with supplementation restores the affected immune functions.
Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) is the chief precursor to coenzyme A (CoA), a necessary enzymatic co-factor in the body. CoA plays a significant role in the metabolism of fatty acids, cholesterol, amino acids, vitamins A and D, and steroid hormones. A deficiency in pantothenic acid affects the adrenal glands, the immune system, the cardiovascular system, as well as the overall metabolism of lipids. While severe deficiencies are rare, many systems are compromised by insufficient pantothenic acid, including the immune system.
Magnesium (Mg) has been the subject of extensive research because it is one of the most essential micronutrients. It is involved in hundreds of metabolic processes in the body, and particularly, magnesium has a strong relationship with the immune system, in both nonspecific and specific immune response, also known as innate and acquired immune response. Evidence shows that magnesium plays a key role in the immune response, as a co-factor for immunoglobulin synthesis, immune cell adherence, antibody-dependent cytolysis, IgM lymphocyte binding, macrophage response to lymphokines and T helper–B cell adherence.
Calcium signals in cells of the immune system participate in the regulation of cell differentiation, gene transcription, and effector functions.
Scientists studying the cellular processes underlying the body’s response to healing have revealed how a flash of calcium is the very first step in repairing damaged tissue. This flash of calcium signal goes on to activate an enzyme known as DUOX that synthesizes hydrogen peroxide, which, in turn, attracts the first white blood cells to the wound. This white blood cell invasion, which is initiated during our inflammatory responses, is needed to kill off invading microbes and stop the onset of septicemia following tissue damage. These findings indicate that the wound-induced calcium flash represents the earliest identified signal after obtaining a wound and might, therefore, orchestrate the rapid recruitment of immune cells. Calcium is an important messenger through which the kinetics of lymphocyte activation is regulated, and plays an essential role in T lymphocyte homeostasis, proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis.
Myers’ cocktail IVs are an effective treatment for boosting the immune system in both acute and chronic conditions. The necessity and frequency of the IVs are individualized and can be determined by your doctor.
If you’d like to learn more about how Myers’ cocktail IV can help your immune system, call 480-588-6856 to schedule a FREE brief meet and greet with one of our naturopathic doctors.