People are doing anything they can to feel more energetic and youthful. This includes the latest health trend of using intravenous therapy to infuse vitamins into the bloodstream.
Although IV vitamin therapy has been around for 30 plus years depending on the source, it’s gained popularity again, and a new IV vitamin and oxygen bar just opened in Arizona.
Proponents of The Drip Room, located in Scottsdale, suggest that IV vitamin therapy has many health benefits.
“Because our food is nutrient depleted and most of us do not get our recommended 10 plus servings of fruits and vegetables, IV Vitamin Therapy is a great way to replenish the body with the needed nutrients, vitamins, minerals and trace elements we all need,” said Dr. Brent Cameron, the medical director of The Drip Room, in an email.
Cameron added that this vitamin therapy could even potentially help prevent severe diseases. He uses antioxidants like alpha-lipoic acid in the IV therapy, which “can help eradicate free radicals in our body that are linked to all sorts of problems, from stroke to heart disease.”
He went on to describe other physical benefits of IV vitamin therapy.
“IV Vitamin Therapy can help with giving a person more energy, it can cleanse the body, offer nutritional support at the cellular level, relieve muscle soreness and cramping, weight loss, and improve the skin and can slow aging in the skin,” Cameron said.
“It also can help with conditions such as asthma, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and many other physical ailments.”
Mental health problems could also see some relief with vitamin therapy.
“It can decrease anxiety, provide mental clarity, improve memory and mood, concentration, alertness, focus and improve mood in cases of mild depression,” Cameron said.
He said there are potentially some side effects.
“Some patients could experience a light burning sensation, coolness in their arms, mild dizziness and on rare occasion, as with any medical treatment, anytime you puncture the skin there is a chance of infection, but with good clinical technique this is very rare,” Cameron said.
He suggested getting IV vitamin therapy sessions once a week, or at minimum once a month. If once a month, then clients can also use inter-muscular shots in-between sessions as a supplement.
The cost of the Drip Room’s treatment sessions can be anywhere from $75 to $149, according to registered nurse and founder Shirley Kelly.
So is IV vitamin therapy legit? It depends on who you ask.
The idea was first created by the physician John Myers, and he called it the “Myers’ Cocktail,” according to a Medpage Today article. The article states that for people who are ill, malnourished and can’t absorb nutrients like the average person, IV vitamin therapy can be useful.
In most cases, people already have a sufficient amount of vitamins from their food intake, including B vitamins, so extra vitamins won’t help. In fact, the author stated that high levels of certain vitamins could actually harm the body, like Vitamin D for example.
Some studies show that IV vitamin therapy also has no real benefit on health conditions. For example, one study used the Myers’ Cocktail on patients with fibromyalgia. Although IV therapy seemed to benefit the patients, so did the placebo, and there was no “statistically significant differences” between the two treatment options.
Other health professionals are unsure of IV vitamin therapy’s benefits for people who have no digestive health issues.
Nancy Copperman, a registered dietitian, wrote on North Shore-LIJ Health System’s blog that there is limited scientific proof for IV vitamin therapy’s effectiveness for the common person.
In fact, she added that infection, bruising and inflammation could be side effects of the therapy, and the quality of the treatments might not be regulated so patients might not even be receiving what they’re paying for.
In her opinion, the “benefit” that people state they feel from receiving IV therapy may just be a placebo effect of being told they will feel better afterwards.
Dr. David Katz, founder of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, wrote on the Dr. Oz Show website that nutrients are meant to be digested and taken into our bloodstream slowly, and they are also supposed to pass through the liver.
He suggested that bypassing this natural process by putting vitamins directly into the bloodstream through IV therapy could cause major issues eventually. For example, if all vitamins are received via the IV route, then the gastrointestinal tract could deteriorate, which could also lead to immune system issues.
He said for some people who have specific disorders or conditions, the therapy can be useful, and he offers it as basically a last resort at his clinic.
Dr. Adonis Maiquez, director of wellness and regenerative medicine at The MIAMI Institute, said in an email that he does agree IV vitamin therapy can have benefits for some people, like if they are tired and stressed, or have medical conditions and are deficient in vitamins.
“IV vitamins have been around for more than 50 years with clear benefits, but it has to be done under physician supervision,” Maiquez said.
“Even though complications are rare, like allergic reactions … they should be performed in a facility with the equipment, qualification and experience to deal with those complications.”
Cameron, Brent. Email interview. November 20, 2013.
Kelly, Shirly. Email interview. November 20, 2013.
Berman, Michele. Medpage Today. Intravenous Vitamin Therapy: The Latest Celebrity Health Fad. Web. November 21, 2013.
Ali, Ather and Yanchou Njike, Valentine, et al. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Intravenous Micronutrient Therapy (Myers’ Cocktail) for Fibromyalgia: A Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study. Web. November 21, 2013.
Maiquez, Adonis. Email interview. November 20, 2013.
Copperman, Nancy. North Shore-LIJ Health Blog. IV Vitamin Therapy is Bogus. Web. November 21, 2013.
Katz, David. The Dr. Oz Show. Intravenous Nutrients? Let’s Chew on That. Web. November 21, 2013.
Reviewed November 22, 2013
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
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