Help your dog stay calm during the 4th of July fireworks!

Vitamin IV Trend: The Truth Behind the Hype

Vitamin IV therapy is a growing trend, with social media influencers and celebrities promoting its alleged energy and immunity benefits — but is it really as safe and effective as they claim?

In the era of wellness trends and longevity hacks, it’s no surprise that the rich and famous are encouraging everyone to receive vitamins and nutrients through intravenous therapy.

In March, during an episode of American Idol, singer Katy Perry convinced fellow judge Luke Bryan to receive a vitamin IV drip for the first time, and the Kardashian clan have also recieved on-camera drips during their reality show. On TikTok and Instagram, influencers glamorize the treatment and tout its supposedly endless benefits — claiming it can do everything from energize to hydrate to cure a hangover.

But as reports of infections and injuries associated with vitamin IVs surface, experts are urging caution, reminding the public that there is no scientific evidence to prove that this therapy is beneficial to the average healthy person and that it is not without risks.

“If you’re wondering whether or not you need vitamin IVs in your life, you probably don’t,” says double board-certified anesthesiologist and interventional pain management specialist Thomas Pontinen, M.D., LCP-C. “They are not necessarily something that most people need to incorporate into their lifestyle or health routine.”

When vitamin IVs may be necessary

When administered correctly, vitamin IVs are a reliable and effective way to hydrate the body and provide it with vital nutrients in a medical setting, according to Pontinen. They are typically used to help patients rehydrate when they’re sick or intensely dehydrated, especially if they’re having a difficult time consuming or holding vitamins and liquids.

Vitamin IV therapy can be particularly beneficial for individuals with malabsorption syndromes with severe vitamin depletion, intoxication, serious infectious diseases, Wernicke’s encephalopathy, or critical illness, says Praveen Guntipalli, M.D., a board-certified physician specializing in internal medicine and obesity medicine.

“These treatments deliver nutrients directly into the bloodstream, ensuring efficient absorption and immediate availability, which is crucial in such conditions,” Guntipalli tells Healthnews. “However, for the general population, oral multivitamin or micronutrient supplementation is equally effective and more practical.”

Who shouldn't get vitamin IVs

While vitamin IVs are necessary in certain medical situations, the trend of getting a drip because you’re a little tired or had a few extra drinks last night is not cost-effective or advisable, Pontinen tells Healthnews. You’d be better off drinking water and eating nutritious foods to aid your lethargy.

Vitamin IVs are getting popular as hangover cures, typically for young and healthy people, but unless you’re an alcoholic and drink every day, which can chronically deplete vitamins like B vitamins, all you need to do for a hangover is rehydrate and rest.

Pontinen

That said, if you’re so hungover that you’re vomiting and can’t drink any water, an IV would be helpful, but he says in most normal situations, an IV won’t be better than drinking water consistently.

He explains that leading a lifestyle where you’re routinely eating nutritious food and drinking water will make IV use a waste of money, even after you’ve had quite a bit of alcohol.

“While some report enhanced energy, hydration, and immunity with vitamin IVs, the scientific evidence supporting widespread use remains limited,” Guntipalli adds. “It's essential to approach vitamin IV therapy cautiously. Not everyone needs vitamin IV infusions, and they should not replace a balanced diet.”

Moreover, pregnant people and those who are breastfeeding should not use vitamin IVs. People with kidney disease, high blood pressure, or a heart condition should also avoid vitamin IV therapy.

What are the dangers of vitamin IVs?

Eating and drinking your nutrients isn’t just cheaper — it’s also safer. That’s because the digestive tract has safeguards that protect your blood from potential contaminants or toxins, Pontinen says. IVs, on the other hand, go directly to your blood, bypassing all of those defenses.

Plus, lifestyle vitamin IVs are considered a type of supplement and are therefore not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

An IV drip
Image by Jeniffer Fontan via Shutterstock

And they do present health risks, especially when used frequently. This includes a risk of infection such as cellulitis or abscess, blood clots, electrolyte imbalances, contamination, trauma to the skin or tissues, and in rare cases, death.

In 2023, a mother of four died after receiving an IV treatment at a med spa in Texas from the spa’s unlicensed owner.

If you are interested in IV therapy, Pontinen says you should speak to your doctor first. Keep in mind that paying for an IV service probably isn’t necessary if you’re healthy. And the price of vitamin IVs can be costly — ranging anywhere from $100 to $400 per treatment. Healthy individuals will already be hydrated and nourished, he says, and will therefore experience no noticeable benefits from an IV.

“If you’re concerned that you’re not staying hydrated enough, ask your doctor about blood panels and optimizing your diet and lifestyle,” he says. “You may be experiencing issues with the absorption of nutrients, so if you suspect that you need IV therapy, be sure to have your health fully evaluated per your doctor’s recommendations.”


Leave a reply

Your email will not be published. All fields are required.