It’s popular in holistic health circles. Celebrities use them. Some of your friends may swear they are the best for hangovers.
I’m talking about IV nutrient therapy. IV drips have been traditionally used at hospitals for rehydration and restoring nutrients. However, in recent years, IV nutrient therapy has become incredibly popular. But are IV drips actually good for you? Should you consider IV vitamin therapy?
Today I want to talk about the potential benefits of nutrient therapy. I will also discuss some of the risks and drawbacks of using IV vitamin drips. Reading this article, you will have a better understanding of IV nutrient therapy to decide if it’s right for you. Let’s get into it.
What Is IV Nutrient Therapy
You’ve probably heard about intravenous or IV drips before? They’ve traditionally been used in hospital settings to support patients with rehydration and restoring nutrients. Over the recent decade, however, they’ve become increasingly popular in holistic health circles. They are often offered at holistic health centers, spas, and IV vitamin therapy facilities. Fans of IV nutrient therapy often use them for dehydration, hangovers, respiratory issues, food poisoning, jetlag, and other ailments.
IV nutrient therapy is a form of alternative treatment used for a variety of health issues, as well as for prevention and enhancing overall health. IV nutrient therapy, also known as IV vitamin therapy, IV vitamin drips, IV drip therapy, or IV drips, provides vitamins and other nutrients intravenously. They are a custom blend of a water-based solution and specific nutrients depending on your health needs and goals. The water solution is created at a similar concentration to the salt concentration of your blood.
The goal of IV nutrient therapy is to provide your body with a more concentrated form of nutrients at a higher dose than supplements could provide. The most popular IV nutrient therapy is the Myers Cocktail, which is a mix of vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, and calcium. The Myers Cocktails is commonly used for immune health, fatigue, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, chronic pain, upper respiratory tract infections, asthma, and other health issues.
Benefits of IV Nutrient Therapy
Let’s take a closer look at the potential benefits of IV vitamin drips.
A Quick Way to Get Nutrients
One of the biggest benefits of IV drips is getting nutrients into your system quickly. Oral supplements first enter your digestive system. They have to be absorbed before entering your bloodstream. This can take a while. IV vitamin therapy makes this process faster and more efficient by cutting down the digestive system as the middleman. When nutrients are delivered intravenously, they become available for your body immediately. No wait time, just quick nutrients. Also, for some, absorption of nutrients may be compromised, so direct into the bloodstream can be a better option, as you’ll see in greater detail below.
Reducing Pain and Chronic Health Issues
IV vitamin therapy is commonly used for reducing pain and symptoms related to chronic health issues. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine has found that the Myers cocktail may be beneficial for fibromyalgia (1).
Besides fibromyalgia, IV nutrient therapy is commonly used for chronic fatigue, migraines, headaches, and inflammatory conditions. According to a 2021 clinical trial shared by the National Institute of Health (NIH) — US National Library of Medicine, IV nutrient therapy may help to reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia, arthritis, and low energy (2).
Chronic inflammation plays a major role in most modern-day chronic diseases and symptoms. IV drips may help to decrease inflammation, and thus may help to lower your risk of related chronic health issues and symptoms. According to a 2018 meta-analysis published in Current Pharmaceutical Design, IV drips may help to reduce inflammatory markers (3).
Improving Nutrient Deficiencies
One of the major benefits of IV nutrient therapy is improving nutrient deficiencies. This has been recognized in hospital settings as well. A 2020 review published by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health has found that IV nutrient therapy may be helpful for nutrient deficiencies and related health issues (4).
You may develop nutrient deficiencies from malabsorption, gastrointestinal disorders, surgery, and other health issues, as well as eating disorders, very low-calorie intake, or a diet very low in nutrients. Nutrient deficiencies may lead to “diarrhea, weight loss, inflammation of the tongue, and anemia”, and other health issues. Nutrient deficiencies may also be a common root issue behind many chronic health problems.
Researchers found that in these cases, a multivitamin IV drip or Myers cocktail may be helpful for patients. It may particularly be helpful for people with Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, short bowel syndrome, colon cancer, cystic fibrosis, or other conditions associated with nutrient deficiencies.
Supporting Cardiovascular Health
Another benefit of IV nutrient therapy is supporting your heart health. According to a 2021 clinical trial shared by the US National Library of Medicine, IV nutrient therapy may help to reduce symptoms of hypertension (2).
Magnesium, calcium, and other minerals may help to control the contracting and dilating of your blood vessels. According to a 2018 review published in Nutrients, magnesium may help to reduce cardiovascular risk factors (5). According to a 2012 study published in Nutrition Research and Practice, calcium may help to improve blood pressure, blood lipids, and oxidative stress markers (6).
Certain amino acids, including arginine, may help to relax your blood vessels and lower your blood pressure. According to a 2014 clinical trial, l-arginine may help to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular issues (7).
Improving Your Energy Levels
IV vitamin drips may also give you a boost of energy. This is one of the benefits of IV nutrient therapy that many love. According to a 2021 clinical trial shared by the US National Library of Medicine, IV vitamin therapy may help to improve low energy (2). A 2012 study published in Nutrition Journal has found that IV vitamin drips may help decrease fatigue among office workers (8). I’m not just talking about physical energy, but more brain power for the day too (9).
Supporting Your Mental Health
Vitamin deficiencies and physical imbalances may increase your risk and symptoms of mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression (10, 11). IV vitamin drips may be able to help with that. According to a 2021 clinical trial shared by the US National Library of Medicine, IV nutrient therapy may help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and nervousness (2). According to a 2021 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, B vitamins may be helpful for stress, anxiety, and depression (13).
Supporting Your Weight Loss
If you are looking to support your weight loss journey, you will love the benefit of IV nutrient therapy. IV vitamin drips offer a quick boost of nutrients and help reduce nutrient deficiencies. This itself may help to reduce cravings. More than that, alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) and carnitine are both great options for supporting your weight loss.
According to a 2019 review published in Obesity Reviews, ALA may help to support weight loss (14). According to a 2020 review published in Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, l-carnitine may help to support weight loss and body composition (15). They support your mitochondria in improving your metabolism and breaking down fat. Combined with a healthy diet and exercise, you may find IV drips to be helpful for your weight loss journey.
Improving Hangovers and Dehydration
Of course, as a doctor, I have to warn you against drinking excessively and getting a hangover in the first place. Hangovers are not fun anyways. But if it happens, you may enjoy the benefits of IV nutrient therapy. IV nutrient drips help to replenish the water you’ve lost from drinking. IV drips also contain electrolytes that can improve thirst, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and muscle pain associated with dehydration (16, 17, 18). The vitamins in IV nutrient therapy may help your body to recover quickly. You may experience the same benefits of IV drip therapy if you are dehydrated due to traveler’s diarrhea, the stomach flu, or heat stroke (19, 20).
Popular IV Nutrient Therapies
The most popular IV nutrient drip mixes include:
- Myer’s cocktail: This IV vitamin therapy is commonly used for chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, colds and the flu, depression, asthma, infections, and heart issues
- High-dose vitamin C: This IV vitamin drip can be used, in the right circumstances, for cancer and reducing the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy
- Vitamin B mixes: This IV vitamin therapy is commonly used for energy, nerve function, brain health, mental health, high cholesterol, blood sugar issues, heart health, and muscle health
- Magnesium: This IV ingredient is commonly used for fatigue, fibromyalgia, hypertension, asthma, and heart issues
- Glutathione: This IV nutrient therapy is commonly used for chronic fatigue, diabetes, allergies, digestive issues, liver health, alcoholism, osteoarthritis, allergies, skin health, and anti-aging
- ALA: This in an IV drip is commonly used for diabetes, diabetic neuropathy, brain disorders, stroke, and liver disease
- Zinc: This IV ingredient is commonly used for immune health, skin health, and sexual function
- Calcium: This IV nutrient is commonly used for bone and cardiovascular health
- Coenzyme Q10: This IV nutrient is commonly used for energy levels, heart health, and cancer
- Rapid mineral replacement (RMR) (high concentration of minerals): This IV drip is commonly used for a boost of energy and alkalizing your body, improving exhausting and stress-related disorders
- Migraine mix (magnesium and riboflavin): This IV drip therapy is commonly used for migraine attacks and headaches
- Liver detoxification (glutathione, ALA, high dose of vitamin C, phosphatidylcholine): This IV drip is commonly used for liver detoxification and liver health
- Hangover recovery mix (saline, B vitamins, vitamin C, and glutathione): This IV vitamin therapy is commonly used for hangovers
Pros and Cons of IV Nutrient Therapy
As with everything in life, there are some potential pros and cons of IV nutrient therapy.
Potential Pros of IV nutrient therapy:
- IV nutrient therapy is bioavailable: IV nutrient drips are an incredibly bioavailable form of nutrient therapy. Vitamins and minerals get to where they need to very quickly and absorb well.
- IV nutrient therapy is customizable: At IV nutrient therapy centers, you can choose between specialty blends based on your needs. They can even customize your nutrient mixes according to your personal health goals.
- IV nutrient therapy keeps you hydrated: IV nutrient drips are a liquid salt water solution with electrolytes and vitamins. They help to keep your body hydrated. They are excellent if you are dehydrated, for example, from the stomach flu, a hangover, or exercise.
- IV nutrient therapy may slow down aging: Many people use IV glutathione nutrient therapy to help hydrate their skin and reduce signs of aging.
- IV nutrient therapy may improve your health and energy: IV nutrient therapy may offer a quick boost of energy. It may reduce fatigue, decrease symptoms, and improve your health.
Potential Cons of IV nutrient therapy:
- IV nutrient therapy is not a long-term solution: IV nutrient therapy may offer a quick boost of energy and short-term improvement of your health. However, without appropriate dietary and lifestyle practices, they can’t do magic. You can’t forget about a healthy diet, exercise, sleep, and low stress levels, if you are serious about improving your health.
- IV nutrient therapy centers are not created equal: IV nutrient therapy is offered by so many providers. Make sure to go to a reputable clinic with qualified professionals.
- IV nutrient therapy can be expensive: IV nutrient therapy is not cheap. Depending on where you live, what clinic you go to, and what IV drip mix you are getting, be prepared to pay.
- IV nutrient therapy may have some side effects: IV drips can hurt a little. For some people, it may cause some minor redness, itching, or swelling around the injection site. As with an injection or injury to the skin, there is a small risk of getting an infection. Going to a trained professional for your IV drip, however, can ensure appropriate safety measures, nearly eliminating your risk of infection.
- IV nutrient therapy has some risks: Adding extra nutrients to your body can boost your health. However, getting a very high dose and too much of certain nutrients can turn into a problem as well. I recommend that you get some lab testing done and talk to your doctor before getting IV nutrient therapy. This way, you can be certain that you are getting the nutrients your body needs without getting too much of anything (21).
- IV nutrient therapy may not be helpful: While many people claim that they experience benefits from IV nutrient therapy, this is not the case for everyone.
If you are interested in IV nutrient therapy, I recommend that you speak with your doctors first. I invite you to schedule a consultation with me here to see if you can benefit from IV drips and what IV nutrient drip mixes may be right for you.
If you are dealing with any chronic health issues, for advice on how to improve your nutrition and health, I welcome you to start a functional medicine consultation with me for further personalized guidance. You may book your consultation here.
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