Finding the Safest Way to Ultimate Health
Guest Blog Post: Olga Ivanov, MD, FACS - Medical Director and Founder of IV Lounge - at Dellagio Town Center
Changed My Life
The IV Lounge: The Next Generation Spa reflects my journey as a cancer surgeon, a scientist, and as a philosopher. My story begins with extensive and demanding training as a general surgeon in Chicago, followed by an even more grueling fellowship in cancer surgery. These challenges led to a rewarding career in medicine, on many levels.
I’ve been recognized as a leader in breast cancer research, pioneering many life-changing surgical procedures. I’ve been published in prestigious medical journals and textbooks, taught medical students and surgical residents, presented at medical conferences, and founded two respected breast cancer centers. Then my journey took a different path – you might say, “A road less traveled.”
As a surgeon, my practice focused on making a difference in the lives of individuals. Essential care, for certain, but the limitations of such work led me to embrace another vision. I decided to make an impact in the lives of millions who strive for optimal wellness. Specifically, I wanted to help those who had the desire, and the discipline, to become the best versions of themselves. Let me explain.
During my work with thousands of cancer patients, I came to the realization that the vast majority suffered from a disease that could have been avoided. First-hand, I witnessed the consequences of the reactive health approach, which is, “Let’s cut out that tumor!” I also recognized the limitations of the preventive health approach, such as, “Let’s get a mammogram so we can spot cancer early, at its most curable stage.” These approaches guided me to a paradigm shift in the way we handle disease -- it’s called Proactive Health.
Learning from the Masters
Proactive Health takes this approach: “Let’s do everything we can so that you never develop cancer and many other chronic diseases in the first place.” It’s an approach that enabled me to truly grasp the meaning of an old Chinese proverb: “The best doctor prevents illness, an average doctor visits when the illness is imminent, and the unskilled doctor treats your present illness.” Another inspiration for me was Hippocrates.
A Greek physician known as “The Father of Western Medicine,” Hippocrates believed in the healing power of nature. His lifestyle enabled him to live into his 80s, which was quite unusual in this period. Hippocrates words, spoken centuries ago, still hold true: “If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would find the safest way to ultimate health.”
A typical surgical trait is a passionate pursuit of results to find a comprehensive solution for each individual, and not just to treat his or her disease. This attitude led me to pursue further education in Proactive Health. I expanded my knowledge to include Nutritional Medicine, Intravenous (IV) Vitamin Therapy, and Biological Medicine. Along the way, I became board certificated in Lifestyle Medicine.
With this added knowledge and training came a different mindset, a revolutionary way of thinking. I saw that humans, once brought into the state of homeostasis, could maintain internal stability to compensate for environmental changes. They would become resistant to disease and impervious to aging, could enjoy unlimited youth and vigor, and could exercise control over their mood and mental state.
Medical Practice Made Perfect
After personally experiencing all the benefits it had to offer, one of the first tools in my medical bag of Proactive Health tricks was IV Vitamin Therapy. I was determined to share it with others. In 2015, I established the first IV Lounge in Central Florida, a Proactive Health center with a spa-like atmosphere.
Thousands of patients, from all walks of life and motivated by varying circumstances, derived immense benefit from this life-changing therapy with no adverse side effects. Unfortunately, IV Vitamin Therapy is not without its critics. I often hear questions such as the following:
“Isn’t it just another fad?”
“My grandmother never had IV vitamins, and she lived to 100?”
“Why just not eat a salad?”
Reasonable questions -- let’s look at the facts. For a nutrient to reach the cell, it must cross through the gut into the blood. This means the body is at the mercy of how effective the gut is at nutrient absorption, which can be a problem.
Under optimal circumstances, the absorption rate for most nutrients is just 50 percent. But when receiving vitamins and other nutrients directly into the bloodstream via IV therapy, they are absorbed at 100 percent! Let’s look at some research.
The Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition published a fascinating study about athletic nutrition in 2006. For 10 years, 70 athletes had their diets scrupulously analyzed for micronutrient intake. All these dietary analyses fell short of the government’s Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) micronutrient levels. If micronutrient deficiency is true of professional athletes, what is the reality for us mere mortals? To answer this question, consider that concerns about micronutrient adequacy from food alone is not a new question.
According to the 2nd Session of the 74th USA Congressional Record in 1936, “Laboratory tests prove that the fruits, vegetables, grains, eggs and even the milk and meats of today are not what they were a few generations ago [which doubtless explains how our forefathers thrived on a selection of foods that would starve us today].
“It is bad news to learn from our leading authorities that 99 percent of the American people are deficient in critical minerals, and that a marked deficiency in any one of the more important minerals will result in disease. Any tipping of the balance, any considerable lack of one or another element, regardless in how minute an amount it is required, will cause us to become sick and to suffer, and will shorten our lives.”
During the current era of skyrocketing chronic diseases, combined with poor agricultural practices, this enlightening document from over 80 years ago seems more pertinent than ever.
Over the years of practicing medicine with this revolutionary, holistic attitude, I discovered many other biological medicine techniques and treatments. I brought them to my new practice at the IV Lounge, but I’m not going this alone.
Being born in Kiev, Ukraine, one Russian proverb that is dear to my heart is, “A man alone [of course, a woman in my case] is not a warrior.” To build a premier practice, I surrounded myself with highly-trained medical professionals, including registered nurses, advanced nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dietitians, and even paramedics. We are all bonded together by the following beliefs:
-- Honoring the legacy of the wellness industry while we help create its future.
-- Having the courage to take action to make a positive impact.
-- Being accountable and taking ownership of our words, actions, and results.
-- Being honest, authentic, and decent in everything we do – no games and no-nonsense.
-- Creating a place where respect and care make it safe to be yourself, and where everyone has equal access to growth and opportunity.
-- Working together and supporting each other—being a unified team is paramount to us.
We consider ourselves leaders in Proactive Health care, but we live in the service of our patients. As a team, we have treated thousands of patients and believe our patients will, in turn, support our success. We have laughed with them, cried with them, become friends with them, and treated them as our own families. That said, who are our patients?
They are busy soccer moms, professional athletes, celebrities flying in on personal jets, bricklayers, physicians and engineers, phenomenally successful CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, schoolteachers, truck drivers, lawyers, beauty queens, and accountants. And they are all near and dear to our hearts.
I want to conclude with a story of a young man who has, to this day, impacted me the most.
For you, Mathew….
Mathew was a 39-year-old tall, handsome man with a beautiful smile. He was also dying from Stage IV Pancreatic cancer, one of the most horrific forms of cancer. Mathew’s body was ravaged by this ugly disease and he didn’t have the energy to get out of bed. His adoring sisters, who knew that the end was near, called us in desperation. They asked if there was anything we could do to help ease his suffering.
As a cancer physician, I had no illusions about my powerlessness to help. However, I thought that some gentle IV hydration and a touch of appropriate vitamins might make his last days a bit more comfortable. After the first IV, Mathew’s jaundiced eyes and skin started to clear up, and he mustered enough strength to get out of bed and even have a milkshake. After the second IV, his energy increased dramatically and he was able to go for a walk around his neighborhood. After a few more treatments, Mathew and his two sisters were able to spend the whole day at Disney World. Two days later, Mathew passed away. He left his family with the most precious gift of a beautiful, sunny day together at the “Happiest Place on Earth!”
To this day, Mathew and his family remain the source of my inspiration and humbleness. They showed me in the most gracious of ways that if I could make an impact in a meaningful way in the most hopeless of situations, how much more I could do for the average person, not suffering from a disease. Let’s work together and make this happen – let’s do it for Mathew.
To your health,