Do we really need vitamin shots and IV drips

In recent years there has been a growing trend fuelled by celebrities that involves getting your dose of vitamins from a quick injection or IV drip instead of from supplements or simply a balanced diet. It might seem like an easy solution when you’re feeling rundown, fatigued or hungover, but is it worth it and is it safe?

Celebrities such as Chrissy Teigen , Kendall Jenner and Miley Cyrus have often been seen getting a quick fix of vitamins through injections and IV drips  that are meant to boost your energy levels, help with hangovers, strengthen your immune system, make your skin glow and even help you lose weight.

This practice is also very popular in Asia, where you can avail of the services in beauty salons, however, that also means a lot can be done by unqualified and unlicensed practitioners.

In the US, this trend became popular in the early 2000’s and are vitamin IVs are often offered as part of party packages.

As said by Elaine Chong in a BBC article “treatments can be very expensive, costing anything from £120 to £3,000 in one London clinic”, so if you’re on a budget you might be better off sticking to your everyday multivitamins.

The demand, however, comes from a lot of people thinking they’re not getting enough vitamins from supplements and their diet alone.

A balanced diet should give you all the vitamins you need however, with more restricted diets such as ones of vegans and vegetarians it is much different as you are at a higher risk of being deficient in vitamins such as B12.

Research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that of 232 vegans studied, over half were classed as being deficient in vitamin B-12. The deficiency was observed in just 7 percent of the vegetarians studied.

Therefore, B12 shots or IV drips be a much more convenient way for vegans but shouldn’t be the first option to look at.

Although the treatments are getting more popular there is no evidence of benefits and the way they are done can be potentially dangerous.

Talking to the BBC, Sophie Medlin, who used to work as a clinical dietitian and as a lecturer in nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London said, “within a medical setting, we would never infuse anything intravenously, unless we absolutely had to. There is simply no medical justification for administering nutrition intravenously in any case other than intestinal failure, because it is so high risk.”

Although vitamin absorption is quicker when done directly into a vein or muscle, vitamin absorption through the gut is also effective.

When taking vitamins orally make sure you read the label to make sure if the vitamin needs to be taken with food, in the evening or morning as all those factors can affect its absorption.

However, if you eat a healthy balanced diet you are probably getting all the vitamins you need, and that is where it can get dangerous as you can unknowingly be taking excessive amounts which you don’t need by using the shots or IV drips.

This could potentially lead to health implications and a risk of a potential overdose as a result.

Ms. Medlin also said that pushing vitamins into your bloodstream in a force-fed way has more risks than benefits, and that “we will probably just excrete at least 90% of what’s being infused in”, and that “you are just making very expensive urine. It is literally money down the toilet”, she added.

So, if you feel like you are fatigued or tired don’t rush to use IV drips or shots of vitamins. A simple blood test can show you your vitamin and mineral levels and indicate if there is any underlying health issue before you put yourself in a riskier situation and potentially lose out on money.

Author: Kinga Piotrowska

Image Credit: Flickr