IV Therapy is the newest naturopathic cure-all treatment sweeping the nation with promises of more energy, better overall wellbeing and even cures for hangovers. What is IV therapy? Is it something you should consider adding to your healthy lifestyle, or is it simply this year’s snake oil?
What is IV Therapy?
IV therapy is a new treatment designed, depending on the formulation, to improve your overall health and wellbeing, increase your energy, or even cure your hangovers. The treatment consists of a 30- to 45-minute session during which you’re hooked up to an IV bag filled with saline and other specially formulated ingredients. For anywhere from $50-300 per session, a doctor, physician’s assistant or naturopath can hook you up to an IV and pump you full of nutrients.
Celebrities such as Miley Cyrus and Rihanna are known to partake in the occasional session of IV therapy to keep them up and moving while they’re on the road, and it has even been endorsed by celebrity doctors like Dr. Oz.
According to supporters and proponents of the therapy, IV therapy is better than taking traditional vitamin supplements because 100% of the nutrients are absorbed through the bloodstream, rather than the 15-20% that is normally absorbed through the stomach and intestines.
This sounds like a great way to get that extra boost, especially if you don’t eat as healthily as you should, but is it really worth the price tag?
Cure-All or Snake Oil?
Most of us have a bottle of multivitamins or a few different supplements in our cabinets, for various reasons. When we start to get a cold, we reach for the zinc and vitamin C, and when our energy drops, we reach for those little B12 tablets.
IV therapy provides the same benefits as those supplements, in such a way that they can be absorbed more readily by the body, in theory. There isn’t enough evidence to really make a determination one way or another as to whether these treatments are really effective, but when it comes to vitamin supplements, they may do more harm than good.
Doctors at Johns Hopkins published an editorial in 2013 calling multivitamins a waste of money. While these vitamins and minerals are essential for a healthy lifestyle, we get the majority of what we need through the food that we eat.
The heart of the matter is this. If you don’t have a vitamin deficiency, then taking additional vitamins, whether in the form of pills or in the form of IV therapy, isn’t going to do you much good. The excess will either be stored in your body’s fat cells or flushed from the body as waste. An excess of fat-soluble vitamins, the ones that are stored in fat cells, such as vitamins A, D, E and K, can cause toxicity.
Is It Worth It?
As we said before, there isn’t enough evidence to give this question a definitive yes or no answer. What we can say is this. Based on the anecdotal evidence and first-hand experiences, people have reported benefits following one or more IV therapy treatments. Hopefully these positive experiences will lead researchers to take a deeper look into these treatments and see what other benefits they could possibly offer.
Is it something that you should try? That, dear reader, is entirely up to you. Our advice would be to do your research and make sure you pick an IV therapy clinic that is run by trained medical professionals using sterile and top of the line equipment. You need someone you can trust to know what they’re doing if they’re mixing up IVs or setting needles into place.
If you do decide to try out an IV therapy session, let us know how it goes!