Have the Nerve to Improve Your Brain Health!

Spark Lifestyle Services

By Dr. Samantha Larkin, ND- Associate Doctor and Manager of the Spark Health IV Program

The brain is often ignored in regular health maintenance. We can easily get caught up in clearing our skin, healing our gastrointestinal system, or getting our allergies under control, but how often do we think about protecting the amazing, three-pound supercomputer we carry inside our heads?

At Spark Health, we want our patients to experience less fatigue, improved memory, better energy levels, and enhanced mental focus. We want to help our patients prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Thus, we created the “Brain Power” IV- full of nutrients to support the brain, spinal cord, and nerves all around the body. Let’s talk about some of the “star” nutrients in this incredible IV.


B1 (thiamine)- has a nitrogen component that it donates for the production of neurotransmitters. In animal models and neuronal cell culture, thiamin deficiency has been associated with increased beta amyloid production, which is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. 1 Thiamine levels were found to be lower in human patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than in patients without these conditions. 2

B complex– contains Vitamin B5 (Dexpanthenol), which helps our bodies create the myelin sheath, the fatty insulation material covering nerves that helps signals travel efficiently. Deficiencies of dexpanthenol can manifest as numbness, tingling, burning, or fatigue. B complex also contains B6 (Pyridoxine), which is essential in producing norepinephrine and serotonin, important neurotransmitters in regulating mood and sleep.

5-MTHF (L-methylfolate) is the biologically active form of B9 (folate). The folic acid we ingest from food must be converted into Dihydrofolate (DHF), then to Tetrahydrofolate (THF), and then finally into L-methylfolate (5-MTHF) to be used in the body. It is estimated that more than half of the U.S. population has a genetic enzyme defect making it difficult to convert folic acid into its active form. 5-MTHF is a nutrient that aids in the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Deficiency in those neurotransmitters can contribute to anxiety, depression, dementia, and autoimmunity.

Taurine is known to be incredibly protective for the brain. It aids in the prevention of atherosclerosis and is protective against ischemic strokes. 3

L-carnitine– is known to support our nerves, brain, and heart. It has been shown to act as a building block for certain neurotransmitters needed for optimal cognitive functioning.4 Research also suggests that acetyl-L-carnitine supplementation may also improve mental function and reduce deterioration in patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.5

In the “Brain Power” IV, we deliver a therapeutic dose of all of the above nutrients as well as basic vitamins and minerals in order to help our patients feel the best. We top the IV off with a generous dose of glutathione (a powerful antioxidant) to further support the brain and body.6


1. Zhang, et al. Thiamine deficiency increases beta secretase activity and accumulation of beta amyloid peptides. Neurobiology of Aging (2009)

2. Gibson, G. E., Hirsch, J. A., Fonzetti, P., Jordon, B. D., Cirio, R. T., & Elder, J. (2016). Vitamin B1 (thiamine) and dementia. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1367(1), 21–30. http://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.13031
3. Menzie, J., Prentice, H., & Wu, J.-Y. (2013). Neuroprotective Mechanisms of Taurine against Ischemic Stroke. Brain Sciences, 3(2), 877–907.

4. White HL, Scates PW. Acetyl-L-carnitine as a precursor of acetylcholine. Neurochem Res 1990;15;597-601

5. Cristofano, A., Sapere, N., La Marca, G., Angiolillo, A., Vitale, M., Corbi, G., … Di Costanzo, A. (2016). Serum Levels of Acyl-Carnitines along the Continuum from Normal to Alzheimer’s Dementia. PLoS ONE, 11(5), e0155694.

6. Pocernich, C. B., & Butterfield, D. A. (2012). Elevation of Glutathione as a Therapeutic Strategy in Alzheimer Disease. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1822(5), 625–630

Spotlight On: GLYCINE

Spotlight On: GLYCINE

By Dr. Samantha Larkin, ND- Associate Doctor and Manager of the Spark Health IV Program
Glycine is a building block for many proteins in the body and has a whole host of amazing health benefits. We feature glycine in many of our vitamin shots and IVs. Find your health goal below, and see how glycine can help you achieve it!


Did you know that collagen contains approximately 35% glycine? Glycine is one of the star nutrients for skin health and collagen and elastin deposition. 1 We love Glycine in our “Sparkle and Glow” IV bag.


Both our “Cellular Detox” IV bag and “Detox Booster” shot contain glycine. Glycine has its own ability to increase the antioxidant capacity of the body, but it also is used to create glutathione, which is the body’s master detoxifier and a powerful antioxidant. 2


Although glycine is made by the body, there is evidence that most people do not make enough of it to support the body’s metabolic processes long-term. Studies have shown that a deficiency of glycine can impair the immune system. 4


Glycine acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and spinal cord, and is known to help improve sleep quality. It helps to modulate stress levels and supports a healthy mood. 5 We feature therapeutic levels of glycine in the “Destress and Unwind” IV bag, “Destress fast bag”, and our “Deep Sleep” IV bag. We also feature glycine in our “Be Happy” shot and our “Zen Master” shot.


Glycine is one of best the amino acids for the prevention of muscle breakdown. Glycine helps to generate creatine, which is crucial for nerve and muscle metabolism. 2 Glycine also helps to prevent tissue injury, promotes wound healing, and promotes the synthesis of proteins.


Glycine is the major amino acid used in the conjugation of bile acids. This makes it particularly useful for supporting digestion of fats, absorption of long chain fatty acids and lipid-soluble vitamins, such as Vitamin D. 3
Can you believe all of the benefits of glycine? That’s why glycine is our spotlight IV nutrient this month. Come to Spark Health today to try an intramuscular (IM) shot or intravenous (IV) therapy with glycine! For more information please call us at (858) 228-4188 or you can email us at Spark@MySparkHealth.com.


1. Wang, et al. Glycine metabolism in animals and humans: implications for nutrition and health. Amino Acids (2013) 45:463–477

2. Hall JC (1998) Glycine. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 22:393–398

3. Hafkenscheid JC, Hectors MP (1975) An enzymatic method for the determination of the glycine/taurine ratio of conjugated bile acid in bile. Clin Chim Acta 65:67–74

4. Zhong Z, Wheeler MD, Li X et al (2003) Glycine: a novel anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and cytoprotective agent. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 6:229–240
5. Yamadera, et al. (2007) Glycine ingestion improves subjective sleep quality in human volunteers, correlating with polysomnographic changes. Sleep and Biological Rhythms; 5: 126–131