In recent years, the allure of IV drip therapy has surged, captivating both health enthusiasts and celebrities alike. Whether it’s the well-known Myers cocktail (a specific IV infusion of magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, and B vitamins invented by John Myers, MD in 1959), energy boost, or NAD IV, this trend has got A-listers from Brad Pitt and Madonna to Rihanna and Justin Bieber hooked. Read on to learn how it may benefit you.
IV therapy efficiently delivers nutrients into the bloodstream, potentially offering significant benefits.
Personalization adds a nice touch in optimizing the effectiveness of IV treatments.
IV drips may help with hangover symptoms, vitamin deficiencies, autoimmune symptoms, and more, but they aren't a guaranteed cure.
IV therapy should always be administered safely and under professional guidance.
This intriguing medical innovation promises a plethora of health benefits, leaving many curious minds wondering: What magic lies within those IV bags, and is it truly transformative? In an exploration of the scientific realms of IV drip therapy, we talked to Dr. Anant Vinjamoori, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Modern Age and Harvard-trained longevity expert.
Dr. Vinjamoori told Healthnews, "IV drip therapy is an efficient way to deliver nutrients directly into the bloodstream, potentially achieving higher therapeutic impacts compared to oral supplements."
What is IV drip therapy?
IV drip therapy, also known as intravenous vitamin therapy, is a method of delivering nutrients directly into the bloodstream through an intravenous infusion. Unlike oral supplements, which must pass through the digestive system before being absorbed, IV drip therapy bypasses the gastrointestinal tract, allowing for rapid and efficient absorption of nutrients. This allows higher doses of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial substances to reach the bloodstream faster, potentially achieving a more significant therapeutic impact on the body.
How does IV drip therapy work?
IV drip therapy involves the direct delivery of fluids, medications, or nutrients into a patient's bloodstream via a carefully inserted intravenous needle. It is administered by a trained healthcare professional and ensures rapid and precise treatment while bypassing the digestive system's slower absorption process.
- The healthcare professional sterilizes the area around the vein in the arm where they will insert the IV needle.
- Then begins the administration of the chosen “cocktail” of vitamins or nutrients from the IV bag.
- After completing the therapy session, the IV needle is removed, and the site is carefully bandaged.
By providing a concentrated dose of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other substances, IV drip therapy aims to address nutrient deficiencies, support immune function, enhance energy levels, and promote overall well-being.
What is in an IV solution?
The specific ingredients in an IV solution can vary depending on the targeted health concerns and the expertise of the healthcare provider. Furthermore, Dr. Vinjamoori said that it can even depend on the individual's biomarkers. “It is essential to consult with a clinician knowledgeable in IV drip therapy to guide you to the therapies best suited for your needs," he said.
Common components of IV solutions include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and electrolytes. For example, vitamin C, known for its immune-boosting properties, is often included in IV drips. Other substances like NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) may be used to support cellular energy production, fight addiction, and promote overall vitality.
How long does IV drip therapy take?
The duration of IV drip therapy can vary based on different factors, including the type of therapy, the specific substances being administered, the individual's health condition, and the treatment goals.
However, in general, most sessions last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. While a vitamin IV may take about an hour, a high-dose NAD push can last up to four to five hours.
Potential benefits of IV drip therapy
Dr. Vinjamoori noted, "The potential benefits of IV drip therapy vary widely and depend on the patient's goals, issues, and the specific treatment chosen."
While scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of IV drip therapy is limited, many individuals report experiencing increased energy, improved mental clarity, enhanced exercise performance, and reduced inflammation. Additionally, it may be beneficial for individuals with digestive disorders that hinder nutrient absorption, as it provides a direct supply of essential vitamins and minerals.
Dr. Vinjamoori underscored that IV drip therapy has not been extensively studied in formal research:
"There is a significant amount of clinical experience attesting to its benefits"Dr. Vinjamoori
He said, noting that there is a reasonable amount of research around high-dose IV vitamin C for treating various inflammatory conditions, but a broader perspective relies on clinician observations and experiences.
It’s also been a go-to recovery modality after a boozy night out. When consumed in excess, alcohol can lead to dehydration and the depletion of vitamins and minerals, contributing to the unpleasant symptoms of a hangover, such as headache, nausea, and fatigue. An IV drip can help speed up the recovery process by helping to rapidly replenish electrolytes and vitamins and aid the body in its own detoxification process.
Be aware of the placebo effect
Due to the lack of scientific literature regarding the efficacy of IV drip therapy, one must consider the potential for individual placebo. One study, a randomized controlled trial, investigated the effect of the Myers cocktail against a placebo IV drip on 34 fibromyalgia patients for eight weeks with weekly IVs.
Researchers found that both groups reported fewer tender points. However, the Myers cocktail group also experienced "significantly improved pain, depression, and quality of life directly following treatment.”
Potential risks of IV drip therapy
As with any medical treatment, especially as invasive as IV therapy, it is essential to consider the potential risks and limitations.
"IV vitamin therapy is generally safe"Dr. Vinjamoori
The primary risks usually pertain to the IV insertion itself, where skin irritation or, rarely, infection may occur.
It is important that the therapy is administered by qualified healthcare professionals following the appropriate protocols. Furthermore, IV drip therapy should not replace conventional medical treatments or medications without proper medical supervision.
Dr. Vinjamoori further explained that certain health conditions may be at higher risk of complications. “I would advise against IV therapies for individuals with significant problems with their heart, kidneys, or liver, as they may be at risk due to their ability to handle large amounts of fluid. It is essential to consult with a healthcare provider knowledgeable in IV therapy to assess suitability and potential interactions,” he said, adding, “In our experience, and within the field, no potential long-term negative effects have been observed as long as these conditions are avoided.”
Personalization and individualized treatment
One of the key advantages of IV therapy is its potential for personalization. A knowledgeable healthcare provider can tailor the therapy to suit individual needs, taking into account specific health conditions, goals, and biomarkers. "Personalization depends largely on the clinic and clinician you are working with,” Dr. Vinjamoori said, adding that at his Modern Age clinic, his team prioritizes tailoring the therapy to individual needs.
While many clinics have a select list of IV therapy options with predetermined ingredients, customization adds a nice touch of customer experience. By customizing the IV solution, treatment frequency, and duration, healthcare professionals can optimize the therapy's effectiveness and address specific health concerns.
How often should you receive IV drip therapy?
As with many medical interventions, the answer starts with: it depends.
Dr. Vinjamoori explained, “The recommended frequency and duration depend on what we're aiming to achieve and the specific treatment being used,” he said, adding that it could range from weekly sessions for several months to monthly appointments. “It’s all very specific to the individual's health goals and treatment plan,” he said.
Is it worth getting IV drip therapy?
IV drip therapy offers a unique approach to nutrient supplementation, bypassing the limitations of oral supplements and providing direct access to essential vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial substances. While the scientific evidence supporting IV drip therapy is still emerging, there are many anecdotal positive experiences and benefits. However, it is advised to approach IV drip therapy with caution, seeking guidance from qualified healthcare professionals and ensuring the therapy is administered safely and responsibly.
- Antioxidants. Sobriety and Satiety: Is NAD+ the Answer?
- Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Intravenous micronutrient therapy (Myers' Cocktail) for fibromyalgia: a placebo-controlled pilot study.