Does IV Vitamin Therapy Work?
Is Vitamin IV Therapy Safe?
Vitamin IV Drip or intravenous drip is considered the gold standard of vitamin delivery to the body and used in most hospitals for fast vitamin delivery to the deficient patient. Since most people are also fed up with swallowing their vitamins, the intravenous (IV) drip is a great alternative. An IV drip has the ability to thoroughly hydrate your body with the vitamins, minerals and amino acids you need with a close to 100% absorption rate.
How? Well, unlike gummy vitamins or vitamins you swallow, the IV drip completely bypasses your stomach. Instead, you administer it by inserting a small plastic tube (catheter) into a vein using a needle. This way the fluid that gets injected can easily enter directly into the bloodstream and disperse throughout the body right away.
California and some of the other states have seen a large growth in IV hydration rooms, providing people with IV fluids and cocktails of different vitamins for hangovers, colds, flus, or just severe dehydration. Many are true believers of these remedies and why wouldn’t they be since IV absorption is the best method to provide your body with its needed vitamins and nutrients without the additives, preservatives, and unnecessary sugars. However, along with the excellent route of administration comes the problem of cost, pain of the IV site, risk of IV site infection, convenience or lack of and many other issues that come with the need to go to the actual center to obtain daily, weekly or monthly dose of your vitamins.
Well and Good recently wrote an article on the growing popularity on IV drips, in which they explain that “IV infusions have been credited with doing everything from enhancing your skin’s glow, to combating jet lag, aiding muscle recovery, and improving your digestion (the most popular treatments are skin-enhancing and immunity boosts).” Pretty amazing, right?!
Disadvantages of IV Vitamin Therapy
While there are many amazing benefits of taking IV drips, we do find some downsides that are worth reviewing before signing up for an IV.
- Administered with a Needle: If you suffer from aichmophobia (the fear of needles), you may find that IV drips are not really your most comfortable option.
- Time to Infuse:The IV vitamin drip usually takes 45-60 minutes to infuse. For many of us, time is of the essence, making this a rather long process to build into your vitamin-and-mineral regimen. Especially since it’s not available everywhere and you must drive to the location that offers the IV drip.
- Medical Costs: Since most people do not know how to administer their own IV drips, it is best to get it done by an experienced professional. As a result, the treatment will quickly become quite costly.
- Steroids: Some IV infusion centers have taken it upon themselves to add a steroid cocktail as an anti-inflammatory to the mix of their vitamin therapies. This is sometimes added even without the end user's knowledge. Excessive steroid injections can cause major health issues in the long run.
Intramuscular injections (IM) therapies.
The next best alternative is to have an injection, many are familiar with B12 shots provided at many clinics. However, lack of convenience or availability, pain, risk of infection at site of injection and the need for continued injections make this route also not so appealing.
Pros of the Personalized Vitamins
Now, for starters, we believe that the personalized vitamin solution is an excellent idea. Back in the day, everyone thought a multi-vitamin would keep them healthy. As consumers have become more informed, we now know that everybody’s needs are different, and your multi-vitamin may have too little of the nutrient your body lacks. So, the vitamins you should be taking will also vary from person to person. The personalized vitamins craze definitely is right about this one thing!
Another big plus for the personalized vitamins is that you are asked to take a blood test. Most physicians recommend consulting your doctor and obtaining your blood work prior to embarking on any vitamin regimen. The blood test results will help gauge your vitamin levels and from there, you will know what supplements and how much of each to take to make up for your deficiencies.
Cons of the Personalized Vitamins
On the other hand, it is important to mention that your deficiencies will be different as your body changes, as you age, if you suffer from heavy periods, or have light or dark skin, etc. The only way to know if you are deficient in something is by taking more than one blood test over a period to compare the results. Most personalized vitamin brands do not offer continued service and therefore miss the mark in our book. Hence at times your doctor is your best choice for continued monitoring.
But the biggest issue is that all the personalized vitamin companies we have seen only offer swallowed vitamins. Hence if you are unable to swallow a pill, get an upset stomach with pills such as Iron, or worse you are unable to absorb the vitamins that you swallow, and your levels continue to remain low then the personalized vitamins will fail to help you.
Some personalized vitamin companies have even gone as far as to offer genetic testing as if your absorption of the vitamins will change by how your cellular DNA is decoded. The reality is that vitamin deficiency changes based on age, menstrual cycle, activity, and diet. Genetic variations do make differences such as D3 production with sunlight exposure among darker skin individuals, but they overall do not change how you absorb your vitamins.
If you are familiar with under the tongue vitamins, you know by now that these tablets go under the tongue and are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Many medical professionals believe that under the tongue absorption, sublingual, is a better method of absorption. Extrapolating from the pharmaceutical literature it is a safer bet that you will get most of the vitamin your body is trying to absorb by this sublingual route vs. oral ingestion.
Therefore, if you notice that your blood levels are not improving you may need to go with under the tongue vitamins or what the medical literature calls sublingual see the discussion below.
Under the Tongue Absorption
We find that, considering the downsides of IVs, the best way to take your vitamins is to take them via the buccal mucosa. The buccal mucosa is accessible under your tongue. When you place any substance here, it will dissolve and absorb into your bloodstream through the tissue.
Unlike the IV drip, this process usually takes 30-60 seconds and can be done by anyone, anywhere, without the help of a doctor! And, because the vitamins go directly to your bloodstream, this delivery method is very effective. Some companies are true advocates of this type of absorption and have tried to educate the public on its benefits.
The Under the Tongue Advantage
The most important point to remember is that most other vitamins that you encounter, be it gummies, compressed hard tablets, pills, capsules, gelcaps or vitamin-drinks they all must be swallowed in order to be absorbed. Once they have been swallowed they must survive the stomach acids, pancreatic enzymes and finally after surviving must get absorbed into the intestinal system to undergo liver cleansing. Most vitamin producers add additives to create a strong protective shell around the vitamins. Many of the ingredients to protect the vitamin against your stomach acids are not necessarily good for you or protect you. Even if you are able to swallow the vitamins there is no guarantee that your body is able to absorb the vitamins attached to all the additives and preservatives. Once absorbed then your liver has to work hard to separate the vitamins from the unnecessary binders. Therefore, the sublingual or under the tongue route bypasses the intestinal system all together and allows you to absorb your vitamin directly into the bloodstream. It also allows for the product to have no unnecessary additives or preservatives.
This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Damewood, Cassie L. “What is an Intravenous Drip? (with pictures).” InfoBloom, https://www.infobloom.com/what-is-an-intravenous-drip.htm. Accessed 6 July 2021.
Jewel, Tim. “All About Blood Tests.” Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/blood-tests. Accessed 6 July 2021.
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