Getting an IV to boost your health and wellness? We think it’s worth a shot, but here’s what experts want you to know before you go.
IVs allow for better absorption
You might be thinking, can’t I just take my vitamins and avoid a needle? “Unlike oral supplements, IVs allow for direct absorption into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system and enabling faster delivery of nutrients to the cells,” explains Dr. Jonathan Leary, a holistic medicine expert and founder and CEO of Remedy Place. New York internist and medical director at Clean Market, Maurice Beer, MD, says IVs are especially helpful for those with malabsorption, nutrient deficiencies or digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.
The gastrointestinal system isn’t always fully efficient in absorbing vitamins and nutrients, and this could be further exacerbated by gut inflammation, adds Anant Vinjamoori, MD, an internal medicine physician and chief medical officer of NYC-based longevity clinic Modern Age. Therefore, IV therapy is especially advantageous for providing nutrients that tend to be deficient in our food supply. “It allows higher doses of certain vitamins for a therapeutic effect that wouldn’t be possible through oral intake,” he explains.
They can be customized
Facials, massages, haircuts—they can all be tailored to address our wants and needs, and so can wellness IVs. “They can be customized to tackle specific health concerns reflected in blood work or to achieve certain goals,” says Dr. Beer. “Combinations of vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, glutathione, and amino acids are commonly found in the cocktails.”
They should be administered in a trustworthy, professional setting
Many IV spots have popped up as the trend has become more popular, but Dr. Vinjamoori says not all IV treatments are created equal. “Some have more robust evidence supporting their efficacy, making it essential to find a provider who takes a rigorous, evidence-based approach.”
Dr. Leary says qualified healthcare professionals can customize formulations for a person’s needs and administer them safely. “It’s important to seek out reputable establishments that prioritize safety, quality and personalized care.” The FDA notes that sterile conditions are critical to ensure the safety of patients. An unsanitary setting significantly increases the risk of serious quality concerns, like product contamination.
While most people can benefit from IV therapy, some should approach with caution. “People with severe heart, liver or kidney disease should consult their doctor, as these conditions can complicate how the body handles the influx of vitamins and minerals,” says Dr. Vinjamoori.
They can help boost energy
Certain IV concoctions “can optimize cellular function, which often translates to improved energy levels and enhanced overall health,” says Dr. Beer. They achieve this by “replenishing essential nutrients and correcting deficiencies.”
They can support the immune system and reduce inflammation
In light of the pandemic, it’s safe to say we have a renewed interest in our immunity. Wellness IVs can help bolster the immune system by “delivering key nutrients that help strengthen the body’s natural defense mechanisms,” says Dr. Beer. “For example, IVs with high-dose vitamin C have been used to support immune function, especially during times of increased stress or illness.” Zinc, selenium and glutathione are also often in the mix.
IVs are also capable of reducing inflammation in the body. Dr. Beer adds that nutrients like vitamin C “can exert potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects when administered at high doses through an IV.”
They may have anti-aging benefits
Some IV cocktails can help us age more intentionally. “They may include antioxidants, collagen and other nutrients that support skin health, improve cellular function and combat oxidative stress,” says Dr. Beer. “These IVs include NAD+, an essential nutrient that is a necessary cofactor for many metabolic pathways, especially supporting energy production by the mitochondria.”
They can help reduce stress
Dr. Leary says those with busy lifestyles and high-stress levels are great candidates for wellness IVs. “Whether it’s chronic stress or a period of intense physical or emotional stress, they are worth a try,” adds Dr. Beer. “IV therapy can support adrenal function, energy levels and resilience during stressful periods.”
They can help with hydration and detoxification
IVs to rehydrate the body are likely familiar, as they’re often offered in hospitals, but did you know that you could also get them after a night of drinking, a taxing cold or excessive exercise? The right IV therapy can “rapidly rehydrate the body and replenish electrolytes,” says Dr. Beer. “They are particularly useful for individuals who are dehydrated due to intense physical activity, illness or excessive sweating.”
Dr. Leary also recommends detoxification and recovery IVs. “These may include nutrients like glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier,” adds Dr. Beer. “Other ingredients like B vitamins and magnesium can support liver function and aid in the elimination of toxins.”