IV therapy has been used for decades in hospitals to treat disease and chronic conditions. Now it is being offered at independent clinics and through house call-type services that pledge to help people feel better. No need to visit clogged emergency rooms. Today you can get an IV drip for anything: hangovers, nutrition deficiencies, as well as chronic conditions such as migraines, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. You want to be beautiful, athletic, or boost your immunity and energy? No problem, just visit your local IV clinic and get the appropriate IV cocktail.
IV Nutritional Therapy: Does It Work?
On the face of it, it works, as the tailored IV cocktails replenish the body’s natural pharmacy. The IV’s deliver vitamins and minerals in high concentrations straight to the bloodstream, whereas pills are not fully absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. Your cells and organs get the nutrients they need and your overall health improves.
IV Nutritional Therapy: Drawbacks And Dangers
IV therapy isn’t without drawbacks. Clinics vary in their motivations, methods and medical expertise. For many, profit potential drives the clinic. Treatments can cost hundreds of dollars per session and is often paid for out-of-pocket, there is no insurance coverage. Critics point out that in many cases, the same result can be achieved just by eating a healthier diet.
More seriously, too-high doses of supplements can have severe health consequences. One study looking at oral supplements even found that taking more than the daily recommended amount of vitamins and minerals increased the risk for some cancers. Moreover, continuous and excessive doses may damage organs and systems.
In addition, the ethical question of promoting a treatment as an antidote for the consequences of binge drinking is serious. For example, providing IV’s for chronic drinking enables the customer, but does nothing to solve the problem.
IV Nutritional Therapy: The Risks
IV therapy isn’t safe for everyone. People with congestive heart failure, for example, should be cautious because excess fluids in the blood stream can further strain the body. People on certain medications or with some allergies may not be good candidates.
In addition, anytime your skin is punctured, there’s a risk of infection. A poorly placed IV needle can also lead to complications including infiltration (when the fluid gets into tissue), hematoma (when blood gets into tissue) and air embolism (when air bubbles get into veins), which can be deadly.
Clinics vary widely because they’re not tightly regulated. A thorough medical evaluation is necessary before clearing you for the procedure. Medical history, medications and allergies should be taken before any IV therapy is given.