The Myer’s Cocktail is named for the late John Myers, MD, an internist from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore who used intravenous injections of nutrients to treat his patients. During the 1960s, Dr. Myers concluded that because of our digestive, absorptive and detoxification systems, only a small fraction of the vitamins and minerals we take in (either in food or in pills) was actually being absorbed into our bloodstream. He proposed that a harmless mixture of key nutritional supplements might be given in a single intravenous infusion, literally flooding each cell in the body with nutrition to improve performance.
The Myers’ Cocktail has been popularized by Alan Gaby, MD, president of the American Holistic Medical Association and a physician who writes extensively about nutritional factors in medicine. Hundreds of physicians around the US use this therapy.
The idea of the Myers’ Cocktail is that many illnesses and conditions are associated with digestive disturbances such as bloating, mal-digestion, and food sensitivities and that people with theses conditions may not absorb all the nutrients needed to return them to good health. Also, many medical disorders cause the body to use nutrients at a faster rate or require greater amounts for proper healing. When nutrients are injected intravenously, digestion is bypassed. Nutrient levels in the bloodstream are temporarily increased and nutrients are coaxed into cells and often also into the mitochondria, the cell’s “power plant”. This temporary boost often kick-starts cells to begin producing energy more efficiently on their own.
Many chronic conditions respond to a series of Myers’ Cocktails. People with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and chronic depression may experience an energy boost lasting days or weeks. In the case of fibromyalgia, there may also be a decrease in pain. In those who have other chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis, there is a electron microscope evidence that the gut “leaks” nutrients and in these people Myers’ Cocktail injections can help move necessary nutrients into cells. Chronic asthma and other lung disease, congestive heart failure, and chronic allergies also respond with fewer symptoms and increased energy. Patients who get sick constantly with infections may experience an increased immune response, with less susceptibility to acute viral illnesses.
The most common composition of the Myers’ Cocktail is:
- B Complex 1cc
- Vitamin C 1 – 10cc or more, usually 222mg cc or 500mg cc
- Magnesium 1 – 4cc either 20% chloride or 50% sulfate
- Dexpanthenol (B5) 1 – 2cc
- Calcium 1 – 4 cc (sometimes not given to those who have cardiac problems or older patients)
Frequent additions are:
- B12 1cc
- B6 1cc
- Adrenal cortical extract (ACE) 1 – 2cc
- Glyceron (an extract of licorice called glycyrrhizin) 1 – 2cc
- Glutathione (an antioxidant) 1 – 2 cc
The last three are not FDA-approved and thus can’t be imported by physicians across state lines for the purpose of treating patients.
Injections are diluted to 20 or 30cc, more with increased vitamin C. A butterfly needle is inserted into a vein and the injection is given very slowly, at 1 – 2 cc per minute. Side effects are remarkably rare, almost always limited to local irritation of the vein. Allergy to the preservative in the nutrients must be tested for. The most common sensations are heat and flushing (a magnesium effect), and the taste of vitamins soon after the injection starts.
Myers’ Cocktail injections are usually given one to two times per week, and beneficial effects are usually felt by the fourth shot. Many patients with chronic conditions choose to continue the injections every one to four weeks or whenever they feel their energy slipping.
Why aren’t more physicians offering this therapy with wide applications and a strong record of safety? First, most of them haven’t heard of it. There have been no studies of the Myers’ Cocktail, though studies exist supporting the need for injectable magnesium and other nutrients in asthma, heart disease and other chronic conditions. Another reason is the bias in medicine against nutritional treatment of illnesses, borne of the fact that pharmaceutical companies support much of the research in medical therapies and no drug company will fund a study looking at the effects of simple vitamin shots. Also, there is a tendency to look for single-ingredient therapies (for instance, vitamin C for the common cold) even though the blend of nutrients is more effective, in the opinion of its proponents, than using nutrients individually.
Finally, old habits die hard in medicine, and the habit of reaching for a prescription pad for every illness will die harder than most. However, the need for safe, inexpensive therapies for chronic illnesses is becoming urgent and it is possible that the Myers’ Cocktail will be re-discovered as a good example.