Intravenous vitamin drips have become all the rage in quick-fix wellness circles, but the science doesn't seem to support the claims these companies are making to clients.
We are all searching for a good wellness shortcut. A way to get fit without working so hard; an easy way to maintain high levels of energy and general overall health without having to get all our five-a-day, every day; or to stop that thinning hair line with a new expensive drug.
And the newest health craze which claims to be able to fix just about all of these problems comes in the form of IV nutrients injections.
Companies like Get a Drip, IV Boost UK, and the Elixir Clinic claim to have the answer to just about any health and fitness problem.
Feeling tired? Get a cocktail of energy boosting vitamins injected directly into your bloodstream. Noticing more wrinkles? Have no fear, simply shell out £200 every week or so for an IV full of mysterious anti-ageing compounds.
There are even hangover-healing drips for those days when even McDonald’s delivered to your door won’t help numb the pain of the night before.
This new fad came about after the late Dr John Myers used an intravenous vitamin and mineral formula for the treatment of a wide range of clinical conditions.
The famous ‘Myers Cocktail’, which most of these companies base their own treatments on, consists of magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin C.
Dr Myers found it to be effective against acute asthma attacks, migraines, fatigue (including chronic fatigue syndrome), fibromyalgia, acute muscle spasm, upper respiratory tract infections, chronic sinusitis, seasonal allergic rhinitis, cardiovascular disease, and many other disorders.
The intravenous administration of nutrients achieved a concentration that is not possible with oral ingestion. The dose of nutrients injected by IV drip increases almost 12-fold in comparison to when it’s administered orally.
People therefore believe it can be 12 times as effective. But there are a few problems with this conclusion.
First off, the huge concentration of vitamins is realistically far too high for your body to deal with. You are unable to absorb all of it. And even if you could, the result would be toxic.
This is why companies using these IV drips can only include water soluble compounds in their cocktails. If they were fat soluble, you would store the extra vitamins inside your body, resulting in a poisoning of sorts. So, what happens in reality, is that your body absorbs a limited amount of what is injected before filtering out the rest.
This has led many people to claim the entire treatment just leaves you with very expensive pee.
According to Science Based Medicine, IV drips won’t cause any harm, but for the amount of money, the benefits might not be that substantial. And there is really no reason to inject vitamins if you are fully capable of obtaining them orally.
Indeed, many scientists believe the treatment is the perfect example of the placebo effect. It is known that the more invasive and the more expensive the procedure is, the more likely people will believe they are getting greater benefits.
And sticking a needle into your veins for a few hundred pounds does just that.
For most people, there is an almost immediate increase in energy and feeling of improved health, but the effects don’t last
long. The body absorbs all the good stuff straight away, but soon enough returns to its base level of performance; homeostasis, or the body’s natural forces which return the internal systems back to ‘factory settings’.
A balanced diet and workout regime are your best bet for good long-term body and mind health. That still hasn’t changed.