You probably have heard about the latest celebrity trend, IV vitamin therapy, the rich and famous are touting as the “New-Age Fountain of Youth” and cure all for all that ails you, it’s the latest rage in Hollywood. Proponents of IV cocktails include Cindy Crawford, Simon Cowl, Madonna and Rihanna just to name a few. Celebrities are often the pied pipers of a new fad or procedure to fight off the effects of aging, but is this latest trend really beneficial, safe, and all it’s cracked up to be or is it just hype?
What is IV Vitamin Therapy?
Most of the IV cocktails being administered (which have various names such as the “party-girl drip” according to Rihanna’s recent tweet) in doctor’s offices today are based on “The Myer’s Cocktail” which was created by the late John Myers, M.D., a doctor from Maryland who used this unconventional therapy as a form of holistic medicine in his practice some thirty years ago. The original IV cocktail is now being customized by doctors providing these infusions to meet the patient’s particular deficiencies or conditions. The Myer’s cocktail typically contains the following:
- 1cc of B complex
- 222 mg/cc or 500mg/cc (typically) of vitamin C
- 1-4 cc of Magnesium (either 50% sulfate or 20% chloride)
- 1-2 cc Dexpanthenol (B5)
- 1-4 cc Calcium
However, today the basic formula is being modified. Doctors are customizing the cocktail by adding other nutrients to address a patient’s specific need. Commonly used additions to the Myer’s Cocktail are: (of which numbers 3, 4 and 5 are not accepted by the FDA)
- 1cc of B6
- 1cc of B12
- 1-2cc of Glutathione (antioxidant)
- 1-2cc ACE (Adrenal Cortical Extract)
- 1-2cc Glyceron (antioxidant)
Are IV Nutrients (Cocktails) Safe?
As a method of delivery for people who are too ill to eat on their own IV nutrients are readily used in hospital settings, but this is always approached as a last resort due to the serious problems that may result as a side effect. If all nutrition is entering the body intravenously atrophy of the gastrointestinal tract is a strong likelihood, resulting in immune-system dysfunction which in turn may cause a greatly increased risk for deadly infection. However there are some medical situations whereby the necessity outweighs the risks of the side effects.
As a method of delivery of an alternative form of medicine for the treatment of certain conditions the IV cocktail has been determined safe, provided they are administered by a qualified healthcare provider. But, when vitamins are used in large doses as a medicine the potential for harm may exist and one may want to seriously consider whether the potential risks are greater than the benefits, especially since there are no studies on the long term effects of this type of therapy. Nutrients by nature are meant to be ingested and unless there is no other alternative should always be eaten and digested to help ensure our body’s systems all continue to function as they are meant to do.
Does Infusion Therapy Really Work?
There have never been any conclusive studies published on the benefits of multivitamin injections, but the popularity of their use seemed to increase after an article appeared in the Alternative Medicine Review written by Dr. Alan Gaby in which the doctor provides unsubstantiated claims of the benefits of the therapy for a host of conditions such as; fibromyalgia, asthma, depression, cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections, allergies, migraine headache, hyperthyroidism, chronic fatigue, narcotic withdrawal and athletic performance.
The Prevention Research Center, of Yale University School of Medicine conducted the Intravenous micronutrient therapy (Myers’ Cocktail) for fibromyalgia: a placebo-controlled pilot study. Unfortunately the study was inconclusive as to proving or disproving the veracity of claims made regarding the effectiveness of the Myers’ Cocktail in treating people with fibromyalgia, to quote the author, “The efficacy of IVMT for fibromyalgia, relative to placebo, is as yet uncertain.”
Certainly the faults in the construction of this study will be addressed in any further research that is conducted.
So, in answer to the question does IV therapy really work, while there is no scientific evidence to point to that concludes that it does in fact work, there certainly are people who believe it does. Unfortunately, as seen in the Yale study the question remains, is the relief or supposed benefits all in their head, or should I say placebo? At $150 to $300 dollars a treatment, until there are more productive studies conducted I would say buyer beware!