It’s finally here, the famous IV Vitamin Therapy “Bars”. This is the new trend for many health spas. IV drip therapy is a 20-35 minute process, where a person is given an IV infusion of vitamins. That’s it! Afterwards they go back to their daily routine. It sounds as easy as stopping at your favorite coffee shop and walking out with your coffee. So why are these treatments so popular? Well for one reason, we all know that vitamins are good for us. Most everyone remembers being told to, “take your vitamins” since childhood. As adults we are inundated with ads promoting supplements that will build muscles, increase stamina, grow hair, promote well being and strengthen bones to name just a few. Does it really come as a surprise that instead of just swallowing a handful of vitamins, one can go to a spa and get a vitamin infusion via IV?
The A, B, C’s (and D’s, E’s and K’s)
So, let’s look at vitamins for a minute. There are fat soluble vitamins which are considered micronutrients that are essential for metabolism, such as Vitamin A, D, E and K. But you may have heard that too much of a good thing is bad for you. This is certainly true with respect to some of these fat soluble vitamins. In other words, an excess of vitamin A can cause severe harm. To provide an overview, vitamin A is known for its benefit on vision, epithelial tissue and growth in children. Vitamin D is important for bone mineralization, blood Calcium level regulation and vitamin E is known as an antioxidant, while vitamin K is used by the body for clotting factor synthesis.
Soluble vitamins on the other hand are rapidly processed and excreted through the body without causing harmful build up of toxic levels. Soluble vitamins are thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), biotin and pantothenic acid (B5). Let’s not forget folic acid, cobalamin (B12) and ascorbic acid, or vitamin C. Needless to say, the list of soluble vitamins is very long.
Without going into the biochemistry of each of these vitamins, it is important to look at how vitamin IV therapy actually works. It would seem obvious that a physician would first need to determine the patient’s vitamin deficiency needs based upon a thorough health assessment and blood work. After determining the patient’s vitamin deficiency, the physician would then place an order to the pharmacy to mix a bag of vitamin solution that could be transfused over a period of 20-35 minutes. The goal of this therapy is to provide an alternative route for the vitamins to exert their maximum effects. Essentially, the IV drip is bypassing the gastrointestinal system. This all seems very logical, or does it? The process of inserting a IV needle (angiocatheter) into a vein and attaching a bag of fluid to the tubing and then running the solution may seem fairly straight forward to the general consumer. However, just the opposite is true.