If you have popped onto the stories of your favourite celebrities, you have probably found them on their stories getting an IV drip, as they have suddenly become experts in the importance of getting a surge of vitamins for dubious reasons. There is a quite a bit of hype around these IV drips. They can be used to ‘cure’ hangovers, give you a certain dose of vitamins you ‘need’, or even attempt to slow down the ageing process. However, can they say that they are honestly working? These drips are not all that they have shaped out to be. Your money could be spent in better places since they are not the fast and effective ‘cures’ you are convinced for them to be.
My fascination began when I walked past Reviv in London. I had not thought much of it until I also noticed that a few personalities I follow on Instagram were raving about their IV therapies. Months after I initially pitched this idea, they are posting stories of getting them during lockdown, since they are an obvious necessity. Reviv is a leading brand in intravenous vitamin hydration and wellness therapy. They essentially offer a range of bags of different vitamins that have been formulated to help with specific problems. Their ‘Vitaglow’ option is an “anti-aging [sic] IV therapy” which will give you some Glutathione and Vitamin C. Then there is ‘Megaboost’ which will increase “your strength and energy levels and combat the effects of traveling, jet lag or just a busy lifestyle” thanks to the cocktail of “minerals, antioxidants, electrolytes, Vitamin B12 and a high dose of Vitamin C”. These treatments are not necessarily welcome with open arms, after all, these are the same people that push fitness teas and other poorly marketed items that promise to transform our wellness.
Perhaps you are considering getting one yourself. Here’s the catch. There is very little evidence on these IV vitamin therapies, they are not seen as medicinal, but rather another wellness fad that many are ready to participate in. That’s why I argue for spending your money on something else. There is little point in spending so much on IV therapies since you can spend money on things that have heaps of evidence on making you healthier. This could range from some extra workout sessions or nutritious non-processed food which have plenty of evidence to uphold their benefits.
These therapies serve as a reminder of what the wellness industry is – a range of methods that say they will help you be your healthier self with little research to back it up. The majority of us are in no way vitamin deficient. There are genuine risks that come with intravenous drips. For one, you are creating an opening inside your body, which could lead to inflammation of the vein or a blood clot. There are some wellness therapy hotspots that throw in prescription medications in these drips. One example is with hangovers as they can throw in anti-nausea medications. These IV therapy brands can have its staff explain for a long time what is in each bag, but they are not telling you about prescribed medicine being in some of these bags, and you believe you are feeling better.
So, you have a hangover, what do you do? The only time you actually need an IV for a hangover is if you are severely dehydrated and cannot consume oral fluids by mouth. Without any IV drip, you will just spend a few more hours feeling hungover, without the risk of having a needle stuck into your arm for no reason. Maybe you do not have a hangover. Perhaps you still think you need an IV for immunity or even your complexion? When you are sick from something other than a hangover then the only time you will need an IV is if you are volume depleted. That means you are likely to be bleeding out, do not have enough pressure in your system and do not enough blood reaching your brain. Therefore, you need to artificially boost that volume by inserting IV fluids in. Nobody getting these therapies is really in need of that. In other words – it is all rubbish.
The wellness industry is big business, after all, it was a $4.5 trillion market in 2018. The IV vitamin therapies are just one of the latest trends to hit this market. Are you ready to spend somewhere between £30 to £200 on an IV therapy? Well, if that is how you want to spend your money then go for it. I cannot stop you from going out to get one and patient empowerment is usually an excellent thing. Although, getting unnecessary IV vitamins and fluids whenever you desire them is perhaps not the best way of making yourself ‘better’. Many of these services have been created, designed and marketed to make more money rather than about producing a product that will genuinely have a beneficial impact on your health.