Are Vitamin IVs good for you?
I wanted to cover IV Vitamin therapy because I know how increasingly popular it is becoming in bigger cities. Those who are plugged into the health and wellness world and learning about these IVs and are often going into it blindly just because they say “so and so” is doing it.
IV therapy is wonderful. It is a big part of my healing journey and maintenance but I am also well versed in Vitamin IVs. I believe everyone should be!
My personal experience with IVs
One of my alternative therapies with healing my cancer was through the use of High Dose IV Vitamin C Therapy. Now, this is exactly what it sounds like: A very high dose of Vitamin C that is administered intravenously. While I have taken doses as high as 75 grams (that’s 75,000 milligrams) at two-week intervals, I then dropped down to 25 grams once a week. Today, I do maintenance. I go in about once a month or so, sometimes more depending on the season of life. High Dose Vitamin Cs aren’t as big on my routine anymore, but I still believe in them.
Another one I love doing is Glutathione IV therapy. I must tell you about this one in detail because this is my FAVORITE IV therapy that I do. I am not kidding, I do this at least once a month and I always get 2000mg of it (glutathione). It is your body’s master antioxidant and it is so important for detox; methylation and healthy cell function- among many other things! This IV always makes me feel so good. I have witnessed some incredible things in the clinic that I go to as well. I have seen people go into the clinic so weak they are in wheelchairs, only to get a glutathione IV and then WALK out of the clinic. I know it is different for everyone but I think seeing these kinds of things, and feeling them myself, and THEN seeing the data on glutathione… how could I not be a believer in it?
For the longest time I viewed IV therapy as something that was best fitted for cancer patients but now I realize they can help all kinds of people. It allows people to get more vitamins and minerals and amino acids in. But again, there is a right and a wrong way to do it!
The problem with oral vitamins
Before we get into exactly how IV therapy works, I think I should first talk about the downsides to oral vitamins. Of course, IV therapy is around because there is a space for it– something missing in the oral vitamin world.
Do NOT get me wrong here, I very much believe in vitamins and supplements. However, I do know that they have limits.
The body is only able to absorb about 30% of most vitamins. Sometimes more if the vitamin is formulated in a way that is super bioavailable. But it is really tough to decipher what is going to be bioavailable and what is not. Typically (and unfortunately) the cheaper vitamins we see at places like CVS and Trader Joe’s are not going to be made with high bioavailability in mind.
It will be the supplements recommended by pharmacists and functional MDs that will absorb the best. But even then, we are not getting 100% of the vitamin. It is STILL WORTH taking them though. Reminder, I take supplements every single day, especially my Vitamin D3!
What is IV Vitamin Therapy?
IV nutrient therapy is a way of packing your amino acids, vitamins, and minerals into a bag and putting it into your venous system, aka straight into a vein. With an IV, we are able to skip the digestion process, the GI tract, and therefore it can make the vitamins nearly 100% absorbed. Isn’t that incredible?
When you get an IV, skipping the issues of absorption that the body can have means taking the absorption to a place that can make a difference for you quicker. It refuels yourself from the inside out. Those who endorse IV therapy say that IVs are a smart way to maintain health and wellness.
Who are IVs for?
As I said earlier, IV therapies are not just for cancer patients or for those who suddenly find themselves in the ER
Another funny thing I should clear up, is that they are not just for people with hangovers either. I know it has become massively popular for people to have a wild night out and spring for an IV drip the next day to curb the hangover, but it also goes beyond that!
And it goes beyond celebrities and famous athletes using Vitamin IV therapy as well. We also tend to have this vision that it is only for those who are stars, or are high level athletes preparing (or repairing) from big games.
No, I want you to think of IV therapy for anyone who needs it. It can be wonderful for those who don’t have the cleanest diet and therefore need more vitamins and minerals in a more direct way. It can be for seniors or people recovering who need help with their nutrition and need a boost with their healing.
In fact, a lot of people use IV therapy as a way to either maintain their health or to optimize where they are currently at.
Are Vitamin IVs good for you?
The short answer is yes, and I am going to tell you why. But after this paragraph, I would love for you to read the arguments not necessarily against it- but those who do bring up some cautionary things to look out for.
Remember that when you do IV therapy, you are bypassing the digestive system. The vitamins will go right into the cells of your body and will circulate through the body within minutes. IV therapy can impact your whole body in a quicker and more effective way than most people have ever felt. That in and of itself is incredible.
Benefits of Vitamin IV Drips:
-Help with a chronic illness
-Improved cognitive function
-A bigger defense against viruses and sickness
-Help with muscle repair and building
-Help with more hydration
-Clearer, more vibrant skin
And yes, it can help you get rid of a hangover, burn fat, or even help with jet lag! (Source)
Common Vitamins you will see are Vitamin C, Magnesium, Selenium, glutathione, zinc, and all the B vitamins! I will say I have gotten all of them before. But know that there are so many vitamins to choose from! These are just the most common.
Here are quickly what each can do for you:
Vitamin C: Vitamin C, an essential nutrient found in food, is well known as a strong antioxidant. Even in “normal” amounts (the standard medical community’s recommendation is 65 to 90 milligrams per day, up to 2,000 milligrams per day), vitamin C has been shown to boost your immune system, increase your resistance to infection, and help protect your body against disease. P.S: Your body loves natural Vitamin C. If you can’t do Vitamin C therapy and are working on getting in more Vitamin C, my Camu Camu is a wonderful option. I take that everyday.
***For Vitamin C IV Therapy for Cancer: High Dose IV Vitamin C Therapy is a strong therapy that can really help support your immune system which of course is really beneficial for cancer patients. That is what we see so many doing high dose Vitamin C. Cancer patients will note feeling more energized for days after following a High Dose Vitamin C IV drip as well.
Zinc: Zinc is found in the body and helps the metabolism, the thyroid, and your immune system. Typically people are supplementing with 15-30mg a day and no not exceeding 40mg a day. At times, more is administered when one is feeling sick. But this is a balance with other vitamins
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is what we think of when we think of the sun. It’s a fat soluble vitamin and D3 is best paired with K2 for proper absorption when taken orally. You always want an adequate amount of Vitamin D in the blood. Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and it helps with the immune system. You do not want a deficiency of Vitamin D, that is something to take seriously. Everyone’s own Vitamin D needs would be different. Because you also don’t want an excess, either!
Magnesium: Magnesium is super important for the body and often people are deficient. Magnesium plays a role in regulating nerve and muscle function, regulating blood sugar levels, blood pressure… and is even involved in helping the structure of DNA, bone and protein! Typically these IVs are administered if one is low in magnesium.
Selenium: Selenium is an essential mineral that plays a huge role in the body. It does a LOT to protect the body from oxidative stress. It also is needed for proper thyroid function and one’s metabolism. Typically we will see selenium added to “weight loss” Vitamin IVs or for those who are battling thyroid conditions.
Glutathione: This is our body’s master antioxidant! This is a VERY common vitamin you will see in IVs because glutathione depletion can be tied to so many conditions, including simply just optimizing your body! Glutathione is needed for the metabolism of toxins. It helps with methylation. It is needed for DNA synthesis and repair. It is needed for amino acid transport and proper immune system function and it also helps scavenge free radicals!
B Vitamins: I like to think of B vitamins as a big energy source! They are our feel good vitamins and act as building blocks of a healthy body. They impact energy, brain function, and cellular metabolism– which is super important. They can help prevent infections and all of them work together! Often you will hear them say they will “add a cocktail of B vitamins” to one’s IV when they either suffer from poor nutrition or poor energy levels.
Do IVs hurt?
I will say that yes, there is a slight pinch, but it really is not that bad. Most IV clinics use the tiniest needle- think of one that is used on babies or on kids! That small.
It is the thoughts leading up to it that is worse. Once it goes in you think- Wow! That was nothing. Most vitamins you cannot feel going in, while some, like Alpha Lipoic Acid, you may feel a slight coldness. It all depends and of course should be monitored the entire time.
Vitamin IV Therapy Side Effects And Cautions
Where IV clinics can go too far is making bold claims like it can cure cancer, etc. It is true that it may help with cancer (I am a huge believer in Vitamin C IVs) but as I always say, cancer is multifactorial and it often needs to be paired with multiple therapies in order to really heal cancer.
Promising to cure cancer or any other chronic condition is not okay because there are not enough studies to support anything definitive. It is very possible they can help, but should never be looked at as the end all be all.
There is of course also a slight risk of infection with broken skin, which is needed when using the needle, but that is incredibly rare especially if you are getting your IV drop from a qualified medical practitioner.
Another thing is worrying about allergic reactions. You should be very aware of exactly what is going into your IV and your practitioner should also ask beforehand if you are allergic to anything. Of course, if an allergic reaction occurs, you want to be in a space where they know exactly what to do if something like that happens.
Other experts do say that it is best to supplement what you need. Do not over supplement with your Vitamin IVs! We need to remember that it is easier to over supplement with IV therapy than it is with oral vitamins. So that is always something to keep in mind.
IV Vitamin Therapy Cost
This is another downside to IV therapy. It can be expensive. Depending on what you are getting, from a Myers Cocktail IV (which is the most popular and great for the immune system) to a very complex Vitamin IV you can expect to pay anywhere from $90-$250. This is why it should be something strategic that you plan out so you can get the most bang for your buck.
What’s tough is many IV clinics do not accept insurance. I wish they did but the majority of them do not. Sometimes you can use your HSAs (Health Savings Account) or your Flex spend but it is not always guaranteed– although this is becoming slightly more common. But as primary insurance? Very hard to find. There are some clinics that are run by MDs that are trying to get PPO insurance for some of their clients but this is not always the norm. I was lucky (seriously, by the grace of God) to have had my IVs covered by insurance during my cancer therapy, and every time I only had to pay a copay. But I know that that is very rare. It’s tough for people to be able to afford it and I pray that insurance starts recognizing the need for IV therapy at a greater capacity than it’s currently given.
Vitamin IV Therapy Pros And Cons
If you want a simple list, it is this:
-Better absorption of vitamins
-Enhancement with recovery
-Enhancement with healing
-One of the best ways to get quick hydration
-One session gives you a lot of bang for your buck nutrition wise
-You can do IV Vitamin Therapy at home with some clinics who come to you
-Can be costly
-Can be timely
-The wrong vitamins can be administered
-You need to know if you have any allergies
-Not always covered by insurance
Vitamin IVs are a great way to recover. They are a great therapy for cancer and chronic conditions (although I do not believe they alone will cure anything.) They are wonderful for hydration and optimization and I truly believe they are the BEST way to get in vitamins and minerals and amino acids. However, they are time consuming, expensive, and not always a joy to sit around and do so they need to be cleverly worked into one’s lifestyle. I also believe the cautions of IV therapy should always be noted beforehand and the practitioner administering the drip is just as important as what is in the drip itself!
Have you ever gotten a Vitamin IV? What are your thoughts on it?