The Lowdown on Vitamin IV Drips

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(Photo: Instagram / @CosmetiqueAesthetics)

Health and wellness connoisseurs are now cutting straight to the chase when it comes to taking their vitamins — bypassing the digestive system altogether and getting their nutrient fix directly through IV drips.

You heard right! IV drips are no longer reserved for sick patients or major surgeries anymore. Today, more and more exhausted people are heading to private clinics and getting hooked up to an IV for energy-boosting cocktails. Pop-up IV therapy spas are showing up all over New York and Los Angeles, with companies like Reviv and NutriDrip offering actual menus of vitamin transfusions claiming to help remedy all sorts of complaints like, weakened immunity, low libido, or our mood.

What is it?
For a typical infusion that takes about 20 to 30 minutes, vitamins are added to a solution containing the same salt concentration as your blood to aid absorption. Clients can usually choose from a menu of options, each containing a different combination of vitamins depending on why you feel you need it and what you’re trying to achieve. Some typical examples on the menu include the "Immunity Drip" and the "Anti-Aging Drip." Other reasons devotees are flocking to this trendy therapy include attempting to cure a hangover, improving sexual function, burning fat, de-stressing and so much more.

Some advocates claim these injections can benefit even more serious conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia and so much more. As far as the cost goes though, it’s definitely not cheap to roll up your sleeves and have a needle dispense these magical concoctions. Depending on the company you seek treatment from, infusions can normally range anywhere from $95 to $250.

Should you do it?
The answer isn’t so simple. IV drip advocates maintain the benefit is the efficiency with which the nutrients are absorbed when injected directly into the bloodstream. Devotees compare their post-therapy results to a shot of strong medicine or the blissful afterglow of a week-long vacation. They also cite markedly improved energy, more radiant skin and just a general feeling of well-being.

In a study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, researchers found the infusion known as the "Myers’ Cocktail" was an effective treatment for fibromyalgia pain. Yet upon further trials, they found no significant differences between those treated with the cocktail and those given a placebo. A 2013 study found that vitamin C given intravenously shows potential in helping to decrease inflammation in cancer patients, while another study a year later found high doses of vitamin C administered via IV drips show promise in treating Epstein-Barr viral infections.

A long list of celebrities have also publicly declared their love for pumping these invigorating and restorative nutrients directly into their bloodstream. A-listers like Rihanna, Chrissy Teigen, Madonna, Cara Delevingne, Simon Cowell and Miley Cyrus have all touted the incredible benefits of IV drips.

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But if you’re a generally healthy person simply looking for a boost, are vitamin IV drips truly worth it? Many doctors and experts say no. These trendy, expensive treatments might just end up being a short-lived quick fix that isn’t worth the high price tag. Numerous experts say these injections are unnecessary, don't offer any meaningful health benefit, and that it’s no more than a brilliant marketing creation.

The most important takeaway is that we remember vitamins of any kind aren't a cure-all, and that we should be aiming to get most of our nutrients from healthy, whole foods. Instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars for an IV drip, you could start by identifying why you’re not feeling well with examinining everything from poor diet, lack of exercise, dehydration, sleep disruptions, and even stress. Once identified, talk with your general practitioner about ways to combat the problem at its root.