Vitamin infusions: Boost or bust?

Published On: Jan 21 2013 09:31:44 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 22 2013 10:40:00 PM EST

No more popping pills? There’s a new vitamin trend stars like Madonna and Cindy Crawford are doing. But is it really good for you and is it safe?

You pop them for a healthy boost, but would you take your dose of vitamins intravenously?

“I haven’t had a cold. I haven’t had strep. I haven’t had anything wrong with me,” said vitamin infusion patient Beth Dail.

Dail started IV vitamin infusions to combat the fatigue of Lyme’s disease. Now, she’s hooked.

“I think it’s beneficial for everybody,” she said.

Chiropractic doctor, Craig John, a Chiropractic Physician at Natural Horizons Wellness Center, says you only absorb 15 to 20 percent of oral vitamins, but with infusions, it's different.

“When they’re going straight IV, intravenously, you get 100 percent absorption,” said John.

He says the infusions can boost energy, strengthen the immune system, protect against disease, and speed up muscle repair. Each vitamin cocktail is personalized for the patient and runs about $150. Most are made up of vitamin c, calcium, potassium, magnesium and other trace minerals. But some like Dr. David Riseberg say the infusions are unnecessary.

David Riseberg, M.D., a medical oncologist from Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore said, “I think that if you eat a healthy diet, you can get all the vitamins you need. Intravenous vitamins for a healthy person to me, seems like a waste of money.”

There are also risks. With any IV treatment, bruising, infection and vein inflammation can occur; and there’s a chance the wrong dose of nutrient could be infused.

Still, Dail says the infusions have given her energy she didn’t have.

“Friends and family have just been like what are you doing, you look better,” she said.

A healthy boost or an unnecessary stick? It’s a trend that more and more are willing to give a try.

Vitamin infusions are offered at many alternative health and wellness centers. They are also being used to help conditions like cancer, asthma, fibromyalgia, diabetes, and hepatitis.

Additional Information:

COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: Vitamin infusion therapy used to boost energy or to treat an illness falls under the category of complementary or alternative medicine. Although these therapies are not the traditional treatments, they have gained popularity over the past few years; in fact, 40% of adults have admitted to using some form of complementary or alternative medicine and more and more doctors are using the therapies in conjunction with traditional treatments. (Source: www.mayoclinic.com)

MYERS’ COCKTAIL: Intravenous vitamin infusions are sometimes referred to as a Myers’ Cocktail due to the creation of the vitamin/mineral combination by a physician in Baltimore over 30 years ago, John Myers. Typically, the cocktail is made up of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and various B vitamins. Now the vitamin cocktails may have a different mix of vitamins and minerals depending on what the infusion is being used for and the health of that individual.  Supporters of vitamin infusions believe that the intravenous cocktails can help to boost people’s energy as well as help many other health problems from depression to congestive heart failure. However, currently the health benefits of vitamin infusions are not scientifically backed. (Source: www.healingartsresearch.org)

POSSIBLE RISKS: For the most part vitamins and minerals should not pose any serious harm to people, even if they are injected intravenously. However, too much of certain vitamins or minerals can be detrimental to people’s health and they could also interact badly with other medications that a person may be taking. It is also important to note that some vitamins or minerals could cause medications or treatments such as chemotherapy to be less effective. In general, people should talk to their doctor before deciding whether or not vitamin infusions are for them. (Source: www.cancer.gov)

NATIONAL HORIZONS: For more information on National Horizons Wellness Center, go to http://www.nhwellnesscenters.com.  For a direct link to vitamin infusion information from National Horizons, go to http://www.nhwellnesscenters.com/prevention-wellness/nutrition-lifestyle/intravenous-vitamin-therapy/.