Articles by Dr. Amell, N.D.

A New Safe and Natural Game-Changer in Resolving Chronic Inflammatory Conditions

Acute inflammation is a localized, protective immune response that occurs in an attempt to eliminate invading pathogens and/or repair injured tissue as in a sprained ankle. Poor foods choices have also been linked to inflammation. Hopefully, the initiation phase or acute inflammatory response is self-limited and leads to a resolution that allows tissue to heal and return to normal.

If left unresolved a prolonged state of chronic inflammation that causes damage to the patient can occur and result in pain and/or a chronic disease. Many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, periodontal disease, asthma, and age-related macular degeneration, as well as some neurological disorders such as dementia and Alzheimers, have been linked to chronic inflammation. Aspects of aging are associated with a chronic pro-inflammatory state.  The acute inflammatory response (initiation phase) begins within seconds to minutes following the presence of harmful stimuli such as pathogens, injuries, or irritants. It is controlled by pro-inflammatory eicosanoids, cytokines, chemokines, and other chemical messengers. The most well known responders are white blood cells that travel from the blood stream into the inflamed site and forms exudates (like whitish creamy pus) to surround the area. This is called phagocytosis.

Then comes the resolution phase. Always thought to be a passive process, the new research shows resolution is an active process controlled by specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs) that are produced in tissue exudates during the resolution phase and function as “resolution agonists” to accelerate the return to normal.

To return to normal, the white blood cells present in the area of damage need to be removed from the inflamed site and white blood cells on their way to the site need to be stopped. If they are allowed to continue to the site, they would cause additional tissue damage and continued inflammation. Extensive experimental research has shown that SPMs block excessive infiltration of white blood cells and control a timely cell death of existing white blood cells, and stimulate macrophages to remove dead white blood cells, debris, and microbes.

In the resolution phase of acute inflammation, long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in tissue are converted into SPMs. The majority of SPMs are biosynthesized from omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA.

SPMs have shown to be pro-resolving when administered to animal models with human disease.

Although EPA and DHA (ingredients of typical fish oil capsules) can be converted to SPMs, they do not have the properties of SPMs. For decades, blocking initiation-phase pro-inflammatory mediators or enzymes such as COX-2 enzyme by drugs like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) has been the therapy of choice for many acute and chronic inflammatory conditions. Keep in mind that anti-inflammation is not the same as pro-resolution.

Because initiation phase activities are required to ever get to the resolution phase, traditional COX-2 and lipoxygenase inhibitors may delay resolution activities and prevent the bodyʼs attempt to return to normal and allow tissue healing. Unresolved inflammation and unhealed tissue can lead to fibrosis that can impair organ function.

Thus, an important key to controlling/resolving inflammation and subsequently preventing chronic inflammatory conditions lies in SPMs and their pro-resolving properties that switch an inflammatory response toward resolution and balance. The fact that SPMs are enzymatically produced from long-chain PUFA (especially EPA and DHA) in tissue exudates indicates the indispensable role of nutrition in regulating inflammation and promoting resolution.






Why to “IV” – the Benefits of Intravenous Nutrient Therapy


What is a Myers’ Cocktail, and what conditions does it address?

A Myers’ “Wellness” Cocktail is a nutritional “cocktail” given intravenously (IV), or through a vein. It consists of magnesium, calcium, various B vitamins, and vitamin C. The Myers’ Cocktail has been used to treat general fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome/fibromyalgia, relieve acute asthma attacks, upper respiratory tract infections, chronic sinus infections, seasonal allergies, migraine headaches, muscle spasms, menstrual cramps, as well as to support recovery from endurance athletics. Many relatively healthy patients choose to receive periodic Myers’ Cocktail injections because it enhances their overall well being for variable periods of time.

This cocktail is named after John Myers, a physician from Baltimore, Maryland. He treated patients with IV nutrient therapy for over 25 years. Since then, thousands of patients nationwide have received this cocktail with great benefits.

How does IV Nutrient Therapy Work?

IV administration of nutrients can achieve blood concentrations not obtainable with oral (pills or liquid), or even intramuscular (IM) administration. For example, an IV of Vitamin C can raise the blood levels 50 – 100 times higher than what a person can do taking it orally. Because of this, a person doesn’t develop diarrhea and at these higher blood levels, IV vitamin C can exert effects similar to or better than pharmaceutical drugs such as antivirals (e.g. influenza drugs), anti-histamines (e.g. Benadryl or Claritin), or smooth muscle relaxants (e.g. asthma and angina drugs).

IV nutrient therapy may be more effective for correcting nutrient deficits inside cells, where they are needed. In certain disease states, the capacity of nutrients to get in and stay inside the cells may be diminished. IV administration helps get those nutrients inside the cell. If cells are repeatedly “flooded” with nutrients, the improvement may be cumulative in their ability to heal, and improve their illness/condition.

When treating patients with IV nutrition, some patients get progressively better and after a series of treatments no longer require therapy. Other patients need regular injections in order to better control and counteract their medical conditions. In some cases, continued IV therapy may be necessary because a person’s disease state is too advanced to be reversible, therefore ongoing IV nutritional support is recommended.

I’m Tired all the Time or I am getting a Cold. Is a Myers’ Cocktail right for me?

One of the biggest reasons Wellness IV’s are recommended is because a person is run down, fatigued, under moderate to severe stress or is at the beginning of an illness such as flu or cold. Many patients respond to treatment with results lasting days to several months. About 50% of the people given IV Myers’ for an oncoming flu/cold/respiratory bug will report getting immediate relief and resolution of their illness. Others get a significant reduction in illness severity and length.

Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or fibromyalgia usually improve with weekly or twice monthly injections. In some cases, the improvements are after the first IV, others after 3-4 treatments. As mentioned above, some patients become progressively healthier and eventually stop treatment. Other patients maintain periodic injections to help them function better and restore more energy.

Other conditions treated with good success include depression, recovery from athletic training or endurance events, allergies, drug withdrawal, and menstrual cramps.

What are the side effects, if any?

Does feeling better and having great stamina and energy count as a side effect? IV Nutrient Therapy is generally very safe and poses minimal if any negative side effects.

Given too fast, an IV may lower blood pressure causing warmth, dizziness or faintness (so we don’t do that!). The only known allergic reaction to IV nutrients has been when using those with preservatives, and these reactions are quite rare. Some patients may experience burning at the localized IV site. As with any injectable treatment, there is always a risk of infection or phlebitis, although it is also very rare.

Experience and training count if there is ever an urgent or emergent situation, and although chances are quite minimal of this occurring, it can happen. From a legal standpoint, a patient should seek IV treatment from a properly licensed medical professional who can legally obtain and administer medication and who also has advanced training in dealing with medical emergencies. Dr. Joel Guillemin, N.D. practices at the Moose Jaw Naturopathic Clinic, has this training, and is licensed to administer IV nutrients in the province of Saskatchewan.