IVs are one of the most common items in Western healthcare. So common, in fact, that most people associate them inextricably with hospitals.
At least, until Instagram got involved.
Nowadays, celebrities from Adele to Chrissy Teigen are singing the benefits of IV vitamin therapy. But is it a fad or a genuine medical innovation?
Before you search for IV vitamin therapy near me, we’re here to tell you what you need to know to walk into your appointment with confidence.
IV therapy is derived from intravenous fluid therapy performed in hospitals. More than anything, IVs are associated with sickness.
After all, most people never see an IV outside of a hospital or a medical drama–and when it’s in a medical drama, it’s usually seen in the context of major surgery. If you see an IV in real life, it’s usually when a loved one is unwell.
IV therapy is changing those connotations.
Rather than limiting IVs to treating the ill, IV therapy is designed to help you feel your best, even if you’re already nominally healthy.
With that in mind, it’s important to understand the distinction between IV drips (that is, IVs used in hospitals and similar healthcare settings) and vitamin drips, which you can get at your own discretion.
IV drips as used in hospitals are used for four main reasons:
IVs tend to be associated with extreme health problems because of their use in fluid resuscitation, which is when a nurse or doctor inserts an IV to restore fluid circulation to vital organs after significant fluid loss. This usually happens after major blood loss, plasma loss, or significant internal fluid redistribution (as in the case of sepsis).
That said, IVs are more routinely used to keep patients at a healthy fluid level if they cannot retain normal fluid levels on their own or if they’re recovering from surgery.
Vitamin drips are something else altogether.
The basic principle is the same: a healthcare professional inserts a needle into a vein. That needle is connected to a thin plastic tube, which is connected to an IV bag containing a saline solution and various other components.
But where IV drips are used to address fluid balance, vitamin drips are explicitly designed to target vitamin and mineral levels in the blood. They can also address fluid levels, but a vitamin drip may contain specific vitamins and minerals to address various problems, where a regular IV drip typically would not.
The idea comes from the late Dr. John Myers, a physician in Baltimore.
Myers had the idea to go one step beyond routine IV care for his patients. Instead of acting as a stop-gap, Myers thought that IVs could be used to actively deliver health benefits.
He pioneered the Myers cocktail, a specialized concoction of vitamins and minerals to target nutrient deficiencies and tackle health issues patients were facing as a result of these underlying deficiencies.
Before we take a closer look at the benefits of IV therapy for your health, it’s helpful to understand how IV therapy actually works.
On the outside, you can see what’s happening with an IV.
A doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional preps you. Then, they insert a needle into a selected vein, typically in your arm. That needle is attached to a thin tube, which is attached to an IV bag. Then you just sit and wait.
But what about what’s happening in your body?
Healthcare professionals deliberately choose a vein for a reason. They want the fluid to circulate through your bloodstream, since your blood is responsible for delivering things to your cells, like oxygen and nutrients.
When you eat, all of your food and liquid passes through your gastrointestinal tract. There are six stages of digestion. Digestion begins as soon as you eat, but it takes about three to six hours before you can fully access the nutrients you’ve consumed.
This is roughly how long it takes for nutrients to make their way through your digestive system and into your blood so they can be delivered to cells for use.
IV therapy is designed to sidestep that entire process. Since nutrients, minerals, and fluids are delivered directly into your blood in a format that your cells can already use, your bloodstream can make it available to your cells immediately. And since you’re bypassing the digestive tract, you aren’t losing a significant chunk of nutrients in the interim.
In short, you’re hijacking your body’s natural systems in order to deliver more fluid and nutrients in a shorter period of time. This means that you’ll be able to feel the benefits far faster than you would through typical digestive processes.
IV fluid is also designed to stay in the blood for a certain period of time, depending on how the administrator wants to maintain fluid balance. Some fluids pass through the cell membrane more easily than others, depending on the solution being used.
Saline solutions in IV bags are either crystalloids or colloids. Crystalloids have small particles that can pass easily over the cell membrane, while colloids have larger particles and remain outside the cell to draw water out.
Crystalloids are the most commonly ordered in saline solutions since they’re good at delivering fluid content straight into the cell for immediate use. If you stop in for an IV treatment, you’re most likely to encounter a crystalloid solution.
Keep in mind, however, that you’re not necessarily receiving a complete multivitamin when you get an IV infusion.
Some vitamins are more successful than others when delivered this way. Furthermore, some vitamins are more likely to be insufficient than others, which means that more people are likely to benefit from receiving them from a transfusion.
In this case, we’re referring to the vitamin content generally found in a Myers cocktail, which is the basis for most IV fluid treatments.
All IV solutions will contain a saline solution to deliver the vitamin and mineral content. The exact saline solution will depend on the patient and what you’re trying to accomplish. The most common saline solution in IV bags is 9% normal saline, an isotonic crystalloid containing 0.9% sodium dissolved in sterile water.
The hallmark of Dr. Myers’ original cocktail was a combination of B vitamins, particularly B12.
B12 is a popular choice because it’s one of the primary building blocks of cells. However, it’s also a bit of an unusual choice.
B12 is primarily found in meat and animal products, and since humans can store B12 for years at a time, the only people who are usually B12 deficient are longtime vegetarians and vegans. As such, vegetarians and vegans will see the most benefit from B12 infusions.
That said, there are other B vitamins in a typical cocktail which meat-eaters can take advantage of.
Magnesium is another popular component of the Myers cocktail and similar IV therapies. It’s typically found in legumes, nuts, fortified breakfast cereals, milk, and milk products.
It’s also incredibly important to several different bodily processes, from regulating nerve and muscle function to managing your blood sugar levels.
Unfortunately, most people eating the typical American diet don’t get enough magnesium, though those most at risk are teenage girls and men over 70.
Remember when your parents told you to drink your milk because it’s good for your bones? Calcium is the reason for that.
Calcium serves many functions in the body, but one of the primary functions is to help in bone growth and bone regeneration. Think of it as a building block for your bones. Of course, it’s also responsible for keeping your heart rhythm consistent and regulate muscle development.
If you’re older or don’t consume milk, the calcium boost found in an IV infusion can be especially helpful to you.
With all of that in mind, let’s talk about the benefits that IV vitamin therapy could have for your health.
The benefits you get from IV therapy depends a bit on what you’re hoping the treatment will do for you. It’s not a cure-all, but it can certainly address a few key issues for you.
One of the most commonly cited benefits of IV therapy is a boost of energy.
Or, as some people put it, you feel like a whole new human.
Think about how you feel after you eat something healthy for you. Now picture that sensation magnified by twenty.
Your body needs a lot of fuel to make it through the day. But your body is only as good as the fuel you give it. When you provide it with more and better resources to work with, your body can spend less time conserving energy and more time making the most of your day.
If you’re vitamin deficient, the boost of those extra vitamins will feel especially strong. Your body will suddenly have enough resources to function optimally.
So in some sense, you kind of are a whole new human.
It’s an obvious benefit, considering that IV therapy is literally designed to pump vitamins into your veins, but the nutritional boost included in IV therapy cannot be understated.
Let’s say you’re a vegan. You’re not eating animals, which is better for the environment in some respects, but you’re also missing out on critical vitamins and minerals that are most concentrated when consumed from animal products, like vitamin B12, iron, and calcium, to name a few.
And the truth is, while your body is thriving on all those extra fruits and veggies, your nutrient deficiency will still affect you.
You could fight your way through trying to find the nutrients in plants. You could try to find a multivitamin that’s a) vegan and b) effective at delivering what you need.
Or you could skip all of that frustration and get a treatment that gives you exactly what you need, right away, so that you can go about your day with that extra spring in your step.
Which one sounds like a better option? IV therapy, obviously.
IV therapy has also been shown to have a significant benefit for your overall levels of fatigue.
You’re tired. Like in-your-soul tired. Ye gods of coffee cannot fix this. You’ve been traveling/working/living for hours and those hours are each an extra pound of weight sitting on your eyelids.
What if we said you could get a wake-up call that’s not a screaming alarm and doesn’t come with jitters?
Chances are, if you’re like many busy people, you’re neglecting your body in favor of keeping pace. Nutrition can wait until after this assignment–except you said the same thing two weeks ago and nutrition is still waiting. As is sleep.
We’re not saying that IV therapy can replace the wonders of a good night’s sleep or a healthy diet. We are saying that IV therapy can give you a boost to make up the difference if you’re struggling to make ends meet. It can help you make it just a little bit longer so that your body isn’t suffering from the negative impact of this crazy thing called life.
And listen: when your job is more like a trip to the circus and you’re not sure whether you’re coming or going, good nutrition is a no-brainer. If you don’t have time to sneeze, let alone get some sleep, IV therapy can give you the edge you need to keep running.
Online enthusiasts cite IV therapies as an effective treatment for a huge variety of ailments.
And while IVs can be used to treat several things, nutritional drips are better at treating some conditions than others. Here are a few common ailments that IV therapy is best at addressing.
The most obvious benefit for a nutritional drip is simple: treating vitamin deficiencies.
Part of the reason for this is that it still falls within the purview of an IV’s original purpose: that is, providing nutrients and fluids to patients who are otherwise unable to obtain them fast enough.
Think about it. IVs are expressly designed to bypass the body’s normal digestive processes, making nutrients and fluids available faster than they would otherwise be. If you have a nutrient deficiency–or if you can’t absorb nutrients effectively due to a health complication–this bypass is especially beneficial.
It’s not a long-term fix, but it can give you a high-voltage boost of the nutrients that you’re missing. If you have a pre-existing health condition, this can also help your body continue to heal effectively, since your system now has enough building blocks to work with.
IV therapy is a commonly-cited hangover cure, which is part of why it’s become so popular among celebrities and social media influencers. But the actual benefits run deeper than shaking off your late night.
Alcohol is known to dehydrate the body. If you drink heavily, your body is even more dehydrated. And chances are, if you feel like twenty miles of bad road, you’re aren’t that keen on downing a salad (or any other food, for that matter), which means your body isn’t getting the nutrients and fluids essential to recovery.
IV therapy lets you bypass your tetchy digestive system and get your fluids and nutrients ASAP. For a start, this means you’ll be able to get rehydrated quickly. In addition, since the solution contains nutrients that your body needs anyway, you’re literally feeding your body what it needs to recover fast.
This is a bit of a chicken-egg situation, but the positive effects still stand.
Many people think of clinical depression as sadness, but it’s so much deeper than that. Depression affects your whole body, even though it’s seated in the brain. It throws your sleeping patterns out of whack, alters your perceptions, and can even distort your sense of taste.
Whether people suffer depression because of nutrient deficiencies or people suffer nutrient deficiencies as a result of struggling to keep their life in order in the face of depression is hard to say.
Either way, patients with depression often have the same set of nutrient deficiencies: B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and amino acids, all of which are precursors to neurotransmitter production.
While IV therapy should not be approached as a first-line treatment to depression, it has been shown to be beneficial to some patients with depression. This is most likely connected to the boost in nutrients that are required for neurotransmitter production, though the underlying brain problem creating the deficiency still needs to be addressed.
You know that saying, overworked and underpaid?
Well, it’s official: Americans are the most stressed-out people in the world. And that’s just the start of it. According to the same polls, there’s been a concurrent increase in negative experiences and skyrocketing job stress.
Environmental factors vary between people, but at the end of the day, the net result is the same.
When your body spends all day reacting as if you’re about to be eaten by a lion, your brain and body switch off certain critical responses. You see, your body has two nervous systems: sympathetic and parasympathetic.
The parasympathetic system takes charge when you’re at rest. It regulates your rest and digest patterns, literally.
The sympathetic nervous system is the one that takes over when you’re about to be eaten by a lion (or when your brain reacts as if you’re about to be eaten by a lion).
When the sympathetic system takes the wheel, it shuts off digestion and increases your heart and breathing rates so that your muscles are ready to respond to threats. Unfortunately, it also messes with your sleeping mechanisms and your immune system.
This is why chronic stress has such a catastrophic effect on your body. Your brain is in a constant state of run away even when you’re trying to go about your day normally.
It might seem strange to say that a nutritional drip can help mitigate the effects of chronic stress. Hear us out: when you’re in a state of constant stress, your body simply cannot function the way it otherwise would in a state of rest. Also, you’re not as likely to focus on good nutrition if you’re worried about twenty other things.
IV therapy isn’t an antianxiety pill by any stretch, but it can help counteract the effects of chronic stress by giving you the vitamins and minerals that you’re missing because of constant anxiety.
Plus, there’s something oddly relaxing about walking out of your appointment with your whole body feeling renewed. You feel whole again because, in some sense, you are. It makes the world feel a bit more conquerable.
Ready to take advantage of the many benefits of IV therapy?
Don’t waste your time searching for IV therapy near me–you’ve already landed in the right place! We know what makes great IV therapy, and we’re here to bring you the treatment you’ve been looking for.
We offer several IV treatment packages to address your biggest health issues, all at a price that works for you. Click here to get any questions answered, or get in touch today to schedule your appointment.