By: Ryan MacArthur |

Quick read:

While some use IV vitamin therapy as a modern ‘cure’ for various ailments, the treatment is highly controversial in the medical field. Those who believe in its effectiveness claim it supplements a poor diet, increases energy, enhances the immune system, counters anxiety and stress, and serves as an anti-aging measure.

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Intravenous (IV) therapy is one of the most commonly used methods to administer fluids, blood or medication into the body. While healthcare providers primarily utilize IV treatment to cure ailments and save lives, a different type of IV therapy called vitamin IV therapy has steadily grown in popularity.

Unfortunately, most Americans do not receive the correct amount of nutrition required to live a healthy life from diet alone. IV vitamin therapy delivers vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive tract. Providers of the treatment claim it can supplement a poor diet, increase energy, enhance the strength of the immune system, counter anxiety and stress, and serve as an anti-aging measure.

The concept that IV vitamin therapy can improve health and reinvigorate patients began with the Myers’ cocktail, a combination of minerals like magnesium, calcium, zinc, and a variety of other vitamins. Created by physician John Myers, the mixture is said to have the ability to refresh the body within a matter of minutes. Some doctors use the Myers’ cocktail to treat symptoms of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and complications related to malabsorption. IV vitamin therapy can also be used to help those suffering from dehydration related to existing health conditions.

Several doctors have also spoken out against IV vitamin therapy. “There is no scientific evidence that [IV vitamin therapy] has meaningful effects,” says Dr. Kevin Fiscelle, a professor of family medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

IV vitamin therapy is not without complications. Like all IV therapies, vitamin infusions can result in an infection at the catheter entrance point and also carry the risk of complications like bruising and inflammation. Receiving these treatments in a healthcare facility by a trained professional may help minimize potential complications.

It’s also important to make sure the provider of the IV vitamin therapy isn’t taking a blanket approach to your care. “People should not get IV fusions unless the vitamins in the bag are catered toward a patient’s specific nutritional needs,” says Katherine Tallmadge, a registered dietician and author of Diet Simple.

IV vitamin therapy is somewhat controversial in the medical field, but it could be a viable option for some patients to treat nutritional deficiencies. It’s important to remember that any type of IV therapy should be administered by a trained healthcare professional in a safe and sterile environment.

To learn more about the potential complications of any type of IV therapy, read IV Complications: What Can Go Wrong?




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