It seems like these days, vitamin drips are all the rage. There are loads of different options when it comes to choosing which one you need. There are IV drips for energy, weight loss, as well as detox, and even skin brightening. The real question has to be, are they safe?  Is it just a wellness fad or could this be the real deal?  I went to try one out at the IV Lounge Dainfern.

What is an IV supplement drip?

First introduced in the 1970s by Dr. John Myers, IV supplement drips are essentially vitamin therapy. Myers’ research lead to the ‘Myers cocktail’. Having the vitamins introduced into your body via an IV drip means that the vitamins are more easily absorbed into the body. Typically, these IV drips take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour (mine took around 45 minutes).

They are supposed to take place under the watchful eye of a trained medical professional. Vitamins that are taken orally tend to break down in the stomach and are thus less effective. The premise of this type of treatment is that it allows the body to fully absorb and ultimately make much better use of the vitamins. Typically, a vitamin taken orally will only have about 50% effectiveness rather than the 90% effectiveness intravenous drips offer. Cocktails of vitamins and minerals introduced into the body vary according to what the IV drip is meant to achieve. 

Unfortunately, the scientific benefits of IV therapy have yet to be proven. Some health professionals believe that IV drip therapy holds up to scrutiny and could be of some benefit.  However, there is still a lot of debate globally, as this therapy grows in popularity.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Does this treatment work?

Dr. Anushka Reddy, GP Specialising in aging therapies believes IV Vitamin therapy should be treated with caution. She says,  “it’s important to mention that there have been no clinical studies performed to show that IV vitamin therapy offers any health benefits or is necessary for good health.”

“In addition, both short- and long-term impacts on health are unknown. In an alternative therapy journal, Alternative Medicine Review, IV nutrient therapy has been reported to be more effective and better tolerated than conventional medical therapies for conditions such as asthma attacks, migraines, fatigue (including chronic fatigue syndrome), fibromyalgia, acute muscle spasm, upper respiratory tract infections, chronic sinusitis, seasonal allergic rhinitis, as well as cardiovascular disease, and other disorders; however, this is based on anecdotal evidence (Gaby 2002). To date, there is no robust evidence from human clinical trials showing any positive health effects. The only published trial for their use (in fibromyalgia) showed no benefit.”

She contends that vitamins and minerals are found in foods and are consumed alongside other nutrients in the food matrix. In healthy individuals, digestion, as well as the absorption of food, are regulated to release nutrients into the bloodstream from the gut and from the liver. If nutrients bypass this natural process and are injected directly into the bloodstream in high doses, it could potentially cause harm.

Others, however, are not so sure. Deborah Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, RN, CNE, and COI believes that the so-called success of IV therapy is mostly due to the placebo effect. She argues that because people pay a lot of money for the privilege, they want to believe it works. Most of the professionals interviewed by Healthline seem to agree that as long as the drips are done

The exceptions

Most health professionals seem to agree that, when it comes to healthy people, vitamin-packed IV drips are likely unnecessary. The debate remains for those who have issues absorbing nutrients or are seriously lacking in specific vitamins or minerals – here they may be of some benefit. Clearly, more research needs to be conducted.

The risks

Whilst there are many potential benefits, there’s also substantial risk of boosting your energy via the use of an IV drip. Sure, these IV drips may boost your energy, but many of the vitamins that they pack into your body are likely unnecessary. The kidneys are responsible for keeping the fluids in the body in balance. Introducing too many vitamins into the body can put the body out of balance and may even be detrimental to your health. Most people get an appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals through eating a healthy, balanced diet.

IV drips must be conducted under professional supervision

It’s also vital to make sure that you are seeing a licensed professional as there is always a risk of infection when an IV drip is inserted. Too much of any one vitamin can increase the risk to the body. For example, many IV drips contain a large amount of vitamin C. Too much vitamin C is not good for the body. There have been cases reported of kidney stones and even renal failure as a result of too much vitamin C in the body. This risk is particularly prevalent in men. 

Image courtesy of Kendall Jenner via Instagram

Many celebrities use IV therapy to boost energy and stamina. Celebs like Chrissy Teigan and Adele are big advocates for the use of IV booster therapy. Kendall Jenner, on the other hand, was hospitalized ahead of the 2018 Oscars after receiving a ‘Myers cocktail’ vitamin IV drip. The issue is that many places don’t check for vitamin deficiencies prior to administering the drip.

This is what causes an overload of vitamins in the system and poses a risk to personal health. Another issue is that some vitamins and minerals interact negatively with each other. This can happen if the drip is not mixed or administered by a licensed professional. For example, fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins should ideally not be mixed. Too much of a good thing is a reality here. Dr. Jonathann Kuo, an anesthesiology specialist, explained to Vogue that IV drips should not be administered more frequently than every two weeks. 

Experience: IV Lounge Dainfern

In line with COVID-19 compliance, upon entering the IV Lounge, my temperature was taken, and I was required to sign the compliance forms. I was then required to fill out a fairly extensive medical form. This only has to be done once, on your first visit. It does take a while to fill out all the forms, but it’s vital that you complete them honestly. The nurse will look at the form and evaluate your answers as well as what medication you are taking. Some medications may not mix well with some drips – this is why being honest is vital. It can be very risky for your health to introduce vitamins that might react badly to your medication into your body. 

The space is relatively small, accommodating only about 8 people at a time. The chairs are sufficiently socially distanced and there is a more private section in the back that has a TV on which you can enjoy Netflix. These seats in the back room are also divided by walls. The lounge is quiet and relaxing and is quite obviously designed for self-care. Each drip takes about 45 minutes to run irrespective of the size. 

All the differently sized drips run at the same pace. The slow rate of infusion is designed to prevent the body from being overloaded with vitamins. The drips are inserted by registered nurses whose main priority is the welfare of the patients. The IV Lounge is a registered medical practice and is run under the watchful eye of two general practitioners (GP’s). The GP’s involved are Dr. Maricia and Dr. Kris Goodwin. Dr, Maricia is an expert in both aesthetic and functional medicine. Dr. Kris Goodwin is a registered medical practitioner and has a passion for anesthetics and IV therapy. 

The lowdown

The experience itself, it has to be said, was wonderful as well as very relaxing. It was clear that the people who work there are consummate professionals. Personally, I felt a difference when it came to my body, I was definitely energized and lost some weight over the two-week period after the drip. The IV Lounge Dainfern is a registered medical facility. Registered nurses insert the drip and keep a watchful eye over the proceedings.

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/under-review-IV-vitamin-therapy#In-your-opinion:-Does-it-work?-Why-or-why-not?

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/vitamin-iv-treatment-hangover_n_5c36634be4b05cb31c3f11a3

https://theivlounge.co.za/iv-drips/

https://bbarsf.com/blog/5-reasons-not-to-get-an-iv-vitamin-drip-treatment

https://www.vogue.com/article/kendall-jenner-vitamin-iv-drip-hospital-oscars-after-party

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Katie Hart

Katie Hart is a successful beauty and fashion blogger who is currently studying a BA in Fashion Media at LISOF. Her hobbies include styling, reading, true crime podcasts and singing. She is a lover of all things fashion, but is happiest when sitting with her mini Maltese, Aria.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

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