The Vitamin Injection Craze: Is It Safe?

The current health landscape is all about what’s trending, and chances are, you’ve heard of some pretty crazy fads as we hit mid-year of 2017. From the ever-so-dangerous ear candling to new moms getting their placenta encapsulated and popping the pills for various health benefits, consumers can all agree the list of health trends is never-ending.

For the last five years or so, vitamin injections and IV drips have been making headlines. These procedures claim to restore vitamin and mineral deficiencies, increase energy, and promote weight loss by bypassing the digestive system, a route traditional pill-form vitamins must travel, and going directly into the bloodstream.

ARE DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS SAFE?

Should people consider the injections and IV drips to be an essential part of their healthcare routine? Or are they simply another way for manufacturers to make a dime off of the unsuspecting consumer?

Lipotropic Injections

There’s a plethora of vitamin injections to choose from, all claiming to treat a variety of ailments. Lipotropic injections seem to be most popular for energy boosting and weight loss promotion. Depending on the regimen being followed, consumers may be getting a shot anywhere from every month to as often as every week. These injections commonly contain a solution of one or many of the following nutrients:

Choline: A fat emulsifier. It’s essential for proper liver function, and it is a key player in fat metabolism.

Inositol: An unofficial B vitamin that promotes healthy cellular function, metabolizes fats, and lowers cholesterol. It also supports serotonin, a neurotransmitter known to encourage a positive mood and cognition.

Methionine: Supports the breakdown of fats within the liver to prevent buildup in the liver and throughout your body’s circulatory system. It may also have a role in relieving fatigue – a common problem for many Americans!

L-Carnitine: Helps to decrease fat, preserves muscle during physical exercise, and reduces muscle fatigue in part by reducing lactic acid buildup. This sounds like a great option for those wanting to see faster results from the gym.

Vitamin B12: Cyanocobalamin, the man-made form of vitamin B12, plays an essential role in several biological processes. Not only is it important for proper digestion and fat metabolism, but also a key element to a properly functioning nervous system as well as increased red blood cell production. Vitamin B12 is so popular because it helps to detoxify the body, promote a healthy liver, and regulate sleep, mood, appetite, and energy.

Aside from vitamin B12’s role in increased energy and weight loss promotion, some people are actually vitamin B12 deficient. This deficiency may occur due to certain health conditions such as a restricted diet, stomach or intestinal problems, certain infections, cancer, or even environmental factors. Serious vitamin B12 deficiencies may result in anemia, stomach problems, and nerve damage, which is why many doctors prescribe vitamin B12 injections as an essential medical solution.

Lipotropic injections contain nutrient-rich solutions that may be complementary to a healthy lifestyle. When vitamins are administered by injection, nutrients can be completely absorbed by the body, which is why these injections are desirable for a multitude of anticipated results. For example, vitamin C given intravenously has been found to reach blood concentrations more than 50 times greater than what can be achieved when taken orally.

However, it’s important to note that studies from the CDC suggest that most American’s are not as vitamin and mineral deficient as we’re led to believe by dietary supplement companies. Although vitamins given intravenously are more potent, they might not be essential to your health. And it is even possible to overdose on some vitamins, causing toxic reactions.

Overall, vitamin shots are an alternative to vitamin capsules if you’re willing to spend a couple (hundred) extra bucks and if you have a reputable RN or MD in your area to administer the shot.

Vitamin IV Drip

If you’re ready to take your supplement intake to the next level, the vitamin IV drip could be what you’re after. Primarily popular in Las Vegas for being a quick hangover cure, these steady vitamin drips are the newest addition to the liquid vitamin trend. Assuming you have a full-blown hangover, the vitamin IV drip will boost your energy, completely hydrate your body, and cure a pounding headache, nausea, and vomiting.

The vitamin IV drip in highest demand is the Myers’ cocktail. Originally developed by Dr. John Myers to treat chronic conditions, the treatment is believed to help the body heal from myriad health conditions including asthma, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome, to name a few.

Myers’ cocktail includes:

Magnesium: Magnesium helps to prevents inflammation and supports a healthy immune system. It’s also great for treating asthma and migraines.

Calcium: Calcium works well to treat indigestion and may even help to lower blood pressure.

B5: Pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5, helps to breakdown fats for energy and is critical to red blood cell production. It has the nickname “the anti-stress vitamin” because it boosts the immune system and controls the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol.

B6: Vitamin B6 aids in brain function. B6 is essential in helping the body make the serotonin and norepinephrine, hormones known to encourage a positive mood.

B12: Cyanocobalamin, the man-made form of vitamin B12, plays an essential role in several biological processes. Not only is it important for proper digestion and fat metabolism, but also a key element to a properly functioning nervous system as well as increased red blood cell production. Vitamin B12 is so popular because it helps to detoxify the body, promote a healthy liver, and regulate sleep, mood, appetite, and energy.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that has the ability to protect against infection and enhances the body’s natural immunity.

Despite the claims made by Myers, there are no medical studies showing that this particular cocktail is effective at treating any specific diseases or conditions. While a few studies have shown positive results, the sample sizes are small and did not show a statistically significant difference from taking a placebo.

Should You Avoid Vitamin Shots?

As with all elective treatments, it’s smart to remain cautious of vitamin shots and IV drips. Though unlikely, overdose or a toxic reaction is a possibility, along with inflammation of the injection site. Whatever you do,  always seek out a trained medical professional.

If you think you would benefit from a Hollywood-style vitamin shot or IV drip, talk to your primary care physician first. They’re familiar with your medical history and have the ability to order blood tests that can highlight any deficiencies which might be helped by a vitamin shot or IV.