We’ve all been there! We overdo it during celebrations, during sports or at work. If you are desperately in need of a cure for a hangover, dehydration or exhaustion, IV drip spas are where people can get a cocktail of nutrients injected directly into their bloodstream via an IV, and they are actually all over the United States. Also called vitamin infusions, these vitamin injections are sometimes simply given as a shot (like if you were to walk in and get a flu shot at your local drug store). These treatments reportedly offer:
- Relief from jet lag
- Relief from pain due to fibromyalgia
- A boost for the immune system
- Cure for a hangover
- Clearer skin
Some celebs, including Rihanna and Gwyneth Paltrow, swear by vitamin drips for boosting immunity. Even widely popular celebrity Dr. Oz said they are “cutting edge.”
These treatments are definitely not affordable and can cost about $100 to $175 for 15 to 90 minutes. To debunk the myth, we spoke to
Do vitamin infusions work?
Well, we know IV delivery of nutrients and medication is utilized in the hospital setting for treating patients. Intravenous fluids may contain potassium, glucose, and sodium, which are electrolytes your body needs to function normally. And medical professionals may use IV lines to deliver drugs directly into the veins, which helps them reach the bloodstream more quickly than they would if you took a capsule or tablet. IV drugs are also useful for treating people who are vomiting and cannot take oral medications. Some medical doctors have been successfully using a “cocktail of intravenous vitamin C, vitamin B1 (thiamine) and corticosteroids” to treat sepsis with “no consequential side effects.”
However, other medical professionals are waiting for hard science to decide whether this method of treating sepsis is effective. “That evidence could come from two large studies now underway in the United States. Both are being conducted according to the gold standard of medical science: Some patients get the treatment, others get a placebo, and neither the patients nor doctors know who gets what.”
Some people against vitamin IV drips argue it is useless because infusing vitamins through your veins bypasses the GI system. According to some doctors, circumventing your digestive system may put your health at risk. That’s because your digestive tract has several layers of defense—from antibodies in your saliva to your liver— that filter out potentially harmful molecules that could cause an allergic reaction. But others believe that skipping the GI system is the reason why these treatments can be so effective.
“With vitamin C, for example, it’s immediately available for cellular use when you infuse it directly into the veins. But the same amount would cause G.I. upset if you tried to take it by mouth,” according to one medical doctor. It is important to note that these vitamin IV drips should not be a viable long-term solution to any medical problems you may be having. If you’re hungover in Vegas, it may be a quick fix. But if you are someone who has chronic fatigue or always getting sick, you need to get to the bottom of why you have these symptoms and perhaps make appropriate lifestyle changes, like exercising more and eating healthier.
Are these treatments safe?
There is always a risk of infection with needle use, but it’s likely no
Model and member of the Kardashian clan Kendall Jenner was once hospitalized due to a bad reaction from a vitamin IV drip.
These treatments are not FDA endorsed or regulated
There are not many details on what exactly happened to Jenner, but she recovered pretty quickly. What you really have to be mindful of is the person giving you the drip. These treatments are often done in spa type environments, and not your doctor’s office, so in some cases, you are kind of like letting someone else play doctor.
You have to do your research and make sure you are going to a reputable place.
Of course, if you have any existing health issues or are pregnant or breastfeeding, speak with a competent healthcare professional about whether vitamin drips are appropriate for you. And always remember, being healthy is about your day-to-day care: what you are eating, not smoking, exercising, drinking in moderation, managing stress and visiting your doctor on an annual basis.
So are infusions worth the hype?
I have benefited from infusions of Vitamins C and B because I have such difficulty absorbing enough of these vitamins from food or supplement form. There is enough evidence to suggest that infusions may indeed be worth the hype and the benefits may far outweigh any risks associated with them. So if you have confirmed that you are deficient in certain nutrients and want to experience quick results, this may very well be one avenue you want to consider as a short term fix until you figure out a long term solution.
About Dr. Joy Stephenson-Laws
Joy Stephenson-Laws is the founder of Proactive Health Labs, a national 501c3 nonprofit health information company that provides education and tools needed to achieve optimal health. In addition to her day-to-day leadership role with pH Labs, Ms. Stephenson-Laws is also the founding and managing partner of Stephenson, Acquisto & Colman (SAC), the health care industry’s premier litigation law firm established in 1989. Her most recent book is Minerals – The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy.