Andrews is one of a growing number of New Yorkers — from the night-life crowd to the yoga community — who have been getting intravenous cocktails to keep up their energy, combat colds, stay youthful or simply look better. Though they are not FDA-approved as treatments, IVs are being administered at the offices of even prominent physicians.
In many cases, patients first begin with a blood workup, to determine what nutrients they need. Then, they sit with a drip from 30 minutes to an hour, at a cost ranging from $130 to $1,000 per session.
“It’s basic biochemistry; when the body has its building blocks, it works better,’’ says Morrison, who recommends weekly drips during particularly stressful periods for a span of four to six weeks.
Though doctors in a large range of specialties are now offering the IVs, critics say they are nothing more than snake-oil salesmen.
“There is no evidence-based medicine to support the use of vitamin drips; they are just moneymakers,’’ says Elizabeth Kavaler, a urologist and assistant clinical professor at Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Let’s take a look at more about what health professionals have to say about this trend which has been in the news for a few years.
The intravenous vitamin industry is a sideshow to science-based health care. Yes, there is an established medical role for injectable vitamins, though it’s no energy-boosting cure-all – they’re used to replace what we should obtain in our diet. As a hospital-based pharmacist I used to prepare sterile bags of total parenteral nutrition (TPN), a mixture of vitamins, carbohydrate, protein and fat that completely replaced the requirement to eat. TPN is effective, but not without risks, and far less preferable than getting your nutrients the old fashioned way – by eating them. There’s also the routine use of injectable vitamins like B12, or iron, all of which can be science-based when used to address true deficiencies, or to manage specific drug toxicities. IV vitamins (particularly thiamine) are also used in the emergency room, given to alcohol-dependent patients in order to prevent Wernicke’s encephalopathy. And there is the therapeutic use of high-dose minerals like intravenous magnesium for acute asthma attacks. But there is no medical justification to infuse vitamins into a vein when you can more appropriately obtain those nutrients in your diet.
The data is all anecdotes and no good evidence that shows this is anything other than a trend – and not an altogether safe one – riding on the wave that vitamins are good for you so more must be better.
Don’t bother these folks with facts if they believe that paying a pretty penny for such stuff makes them feel better. But it’s not and it’s not smart, it’s credulous.
our “bodies are not meant to metabolize vitamins via IV. We were designed to get minerals and vitamins through our stomachs.”
Tip: Erik Arnesen via Facebook