In a world bent on quick fixes, everyone wants to take the fast track toward healthier skin, a stronger immune system and that elusive hangover cure.
Could IV vitamin therapy be the answer?
It sure promises to achieve all of these feats and more, but can the ultra-popular therapy deliver on its claims that being stuck by a needle is more treat, less torture?
Today, we’re taking a deep dive into the facts you need to know. Whether you’re looking to treat a chronic health condition, lower your anxiety, or simply alleviate jet lag, information is key.
Before you jump in, read on.
The Transformation of IV Infusion Therapy
Despite their newfound attention, IV vitamin drips are far from new. In fact, Dr. John Myers developed the first ones back in the 1970s. His trademark concoction, dubbed the Myers Cocktail, included a mix of vitamins and minerals including magnesium, calcium, multiple B vitamins, and vitamin C.
Throughout the years, this treatment has taken many forms.
Yet, thanks to the on-the-go mentality that’s proliferated modern society, these infusions have become more popular than ever before. At first glance, it’s easy to see the appeal.
In roughly the timespan of a traditional lunch break, you can visit your doctor’s office, receive an infusion, and return to work refreshed and ready to tackle the 4 p.m. slump.
Is it all a placebo? Or are you really feeling as good as you believe?
While the premise might sound shaky, the reality is that vitamin therapy can be a legitimate, safe and effective treatment. The caveat? You must receive your IV drip within a medical office, with a licensed medical professional administering and observing at all times.
What Happens During an IV Vitamin Drip?
While you receive an IV drip, your body is receiving an incredibly high dose of the specific vitamins that your treatment comprises. While you could take the same nutrients orally in either food or supplement form, those pills have to pass through your stomach and go into your digestive system before the absorption process can begin.
By that time, the bioavailability of the nutrients dips and only a fraction become absorbed into your bloodstream. Even if most of the nutrients are retained on the way to your stomach, your individual makeup will determine how much of them you can ultimately absorb.
Key factors include:
- Overall health status
- The physical and chemical characteristics of the supplement or food
With IV vitamin drip therapy, you’ll bypass your stomach and deliver the nutrients right into your circulatory system, bypassing these roadblocks and boosting your absorption rates.
When you sit down to receive your treatment, your physician will insert a small tube into your vein. Through that tube, you’ll receive a liquid combination of key vitamins and minerals. These are pre-mixed by a pharmacist according to your doctor’s orders, which should align with your medical needs.
During the session, your nurse or healthcare professional will monitor the treatment to make sure that the rates of nutrients are properly administered. As the vitamins are water-soluble, your body will absorb what it needs and eliminate the rest through your urine.
Who Should Pursue IV Nutrient Therapy?
Like any medical treatment, IV nutrient therapy isn’t for everyone. Nor is it designed to treat every condition. Before pursuing it on your own, talk to your doctor, first.
This treatment works best on (and is safest for) individuals who have a medically diagnosed reason to receive an infusion. Your physician should be up-to-date on your medical history and prescribe this therapy for you based on your specific diagnosis and body type.
Ideal candidates include those who aren’t able to get the nutrients they need from their diet, or who have an illness that causes malabsorption, such as lactose intolerance or celiac disease.
In addition, there are myriad diseases and health issues that have responded favorably to IV drip therapy, specifically the Myers Cocktail. These include:
- Sinus infections
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
While these conditions require continuous treatment, others might schedule an appointment after a one-off occasion, such as a night of heavy drinking. That’s right: There are certain IV vitamin drip cocktails designed to correct dehydration and help kick a hangover to the curb.
They also offer a quick way to restore energy, eliminate toxins, reduce stress and boost your immune system at any time. Still, most people receive enough of the nutrients they need from their diet and most will be just fine sticking to traditional supplements.
Which Vitamins and Minerals Should I Try?
Are there certain vitamins and minerals that work best in IV drip form? In most cases, you’ll find either a single vitamin infusion or one designed as a cocktail of multiple, different types of nutrients.
The short answer is that there’s no limit to the vitamins and minerals that you can infuse into your body. However, that shouldn’t give you the green light to experiment with your own blend.
Rather, it’s best to stick to vitamins that are natural to your body. This way, you can monitor your levels to make sure that the infusion is delivered in a healthy dose. Some of the most common IV vitamin drip ingredients include:
- Vitamin C
- B vitamins
Are There Risks with IV Vitamin Therapy?
Any time a needle pierces your skin, there’s a risk of infection and inflammation.
With this treatment, the IV will create a straight path into your bloodstream. As it does, it will bypass right through your skin, which is your body’s first defense against bacteria.
This is one of the reasons why it’s imperative to partner with a qualified, board-certified medical professional when you’re ready to receive this treatment.
In addition, you can also absorb too many nutrients during a vitamin IV drip. In this case, too much of a good thing is actually a bad thing. Excess amounts of vitamins and minerals can generally be hard on the body.
Take those suffering from kidney disease, for instance.
Due to their condition, it takes them longer than normal to eliminate certain electrolytes and minerals from their bodies. If they receive an IV vitamin drip that delivers quick, massive amounts of potassium, the buildup could trigger a heart attack.
In addition, anyone with a heart or blood pressure condition should steer clear of vitamin drips, as they could cause internal fluids to reach dangerously high levels.
As the vitamins are entering directly into your bloodstream, there’s also the risk of developing a blood clot. Though it’s rare, there’s also the chance that your IV line could introduce an air embolism, which could lead to a stroke.
How to Proceed With IV Vitamin Therapy
You’ve read the data and understand the risks. You’re planning to undergo IV vitamin therapy, but you aren’t sure what to do first. Let’s take a look at a step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Talk to Your Doctor
Before you do anything else, schedule an appointment with your doctor. He or she can analyze your current health to determine if this treatment approach is the right one.
Key questions to ask include:
- Do I have any vitamin or mineral deficiencies?
- Could an IV vitamin drip help any of those?
- Do I have any health conditions that could make me more susceptible to an adverse reaction?
If your doctor’s office doesn’t perform the IV vitamin drips on-site, your doctor can recommend a local specialist who can get the job done for you.
Step 2: Gather Your Documents
Once you have your doctor’s approval, you can begin gathering your required documents. Prior to your treatment, you’ll need to share your comprehensive medical history (e.g. current health concerns, medications) with your physician.
Step 3: Vet the Procedure
Research shows that 84% of people now trust reviews from online strangers as much as advice from their closest friends and family members.
Before you schedule an IV vitamin drip, it’s important to learn as much as possible about the physician who will be performing the procedure, as well as the clinic at which it will take place.
Check online to see if there are any reviews of the facility or accounts from clients who have received the same treatment in the past. You can even perform an in-person visit to tour the grounds, meet with the team, and ask any questions you might have.
Is IV Vitamin Therapy Right For You?
Ultimately, IV vitamin therapy can be a valuable treatment, as long as a qualified medical professional is at the helm. It’s helped many patients find relief from chronic conditions, manage stress, and boost their energy levels.
Still, it’s important to keep in mind that research around the subject is limited and still ongoing. As such, you should discuss all concerns with your doctor before moving forward. When approached with a healthy dose of caution, this innovative therapy could be just the step you need to round out your health and wellness routine.
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