I’m pretty into exploring new ways to boost my energy levels, which is why intravenous (IV) vitamin boosts piqued my interest. Unfortunately, needles are not my friend. I am the girl who faints when she gives blood and subconsciously shuts down veins, which means it’s never as simple as “one little prick” for me. Naturally, this put me off.
I’ve had a vitamin B12 shot a few times and it was painful, so volunteering for a whole IV just didn’t seem worth it to me. Until I chatted to a friend, who had recently found a “cool new IV Bar in Joburg” and swore it did wonders for her skin. I’m guilty of chasing the glow as much as the next girl, so I decided to brave up and go for it…
Here’s exactly what happened…
Walking into the IV Bar I didn’t quite know what to expect, but much to my delight there were no hospital beds or scary IV trolleys. Instead, I was greeted by friendly faces and delightfully comfy armchairs. We discussed my needs and decided that the “Energy Boost” IV was best for me – with a high dose of vitamins and electrolytes and an added bonus of magnesium to help me sleep better.
The very gentle and caring Nurse Paulina administered my IV and after examining my arms decided it was best to pop the drip into my hand. It was slightly painful, but not what I’d built it up to be (very often the case). And then I sat back, relaxed and sucked on a few Sparkle sweets (these counter the metallic taste you get from the drip), while the 15-minute vitamin boost entered my veins.
Energised… But calm
A very quiet woman (slumped) in the chair next to me, I later learnt, was having the “Hangover Recovery” drip. She works in nightclubs and I guess hangovers and late nights are an occupational hazard. It turns out she was a regular in the IV Bar, evidently trying to find a way to balance her lifestyle. I watched her transform in front of me. As she finished her hydration cocktail, she almost bounced out of her chair and spoke about the upcoming evening she had to prep for.
As for me, well my energy levels immediately perked up. I met a friend for a slice of birthday cake afterwards and felt alert and excited to see her. I wasn’t all buzzed the way you get from a caffeine overdose though; instead, I felt a sense of calmness.
We celebrated the same friend’s birthday the following evening and, needless to say, I woke up feeling a little worse for wear. I couldn’t help but think of the woman from the IV Bar in the chair next to me, and her hangover solution. A week down the line, I really have been sleeping better. Although, typical to the season I’ve picked up a little head cold. I know an “Immune Boost” IV with 25 000mg of vitamin C is just what’s needed to sort me out… I think it’s safe to say I might be hooked.
Everything you need to know about vitamin IV drips
While these IVs are a mix of vitamins and minerals that are already found in your body, it’s important to do your research and make sure whoever is administering your drip really is clued up. I sat down with Keri Krug, the owner of IV Bar, and asked everything we all want to know about this latest health trend…
Before you visit and IV Bar, what credentials etc. should you check the establishment for?
Safety is critical! You want to make sure the intravenous vitamin centre is associated with a doctor and a registered nurse is administering the drips. Even though it’s vitamins and minerals and is considered very safe, you want to make sure the vitamins you are receiving are compounded in a sterile facility, and that the nurse has extensive experience in dripping clients. Also, from a logistical point of view, you want to go somewhere that’s inviting, comfortable and has a good energy. This is not a grudge purchase – it’s by choice, and you want to enjoy your time there.
Do the IV drips come with any side effects – during, immediately after or the next day?
There are no negative side effects at all – only the upside! Very few people have reported a slight headache after the detox drip, but this is normal as the body is getting rid of toxins… but I’ve literally had one client report this. Some people get minor bruising at the needle site, which again is normal and usually not painful. Most people, however, don’t bruise and feel the positive effects of the energy boost and immune boost immediately.
What are the costs of the IV?
Our vitamin drips range between R650 and R850, depending on the drip. We have chosen to keep our prices as low as possible because we want our drips to be available to everyone – not just the stars and singers and actors and athletes who can afford a lot more. Our vitamin drips have the most effective and safest compounds at an affordable price.
How does the 'energy boost' drip differ from a general vitamin B shot?
The vitamin B shot typically only contains vitamin B12, while our energy boost contains vitamin B complex (thiamine, riboflavin, nicotinamide, pyridoxine, d-Panthenol), vitamin B12 and magnesium sulphate. The vitamin B12 complex gives you the boost and helps reduce anxiety and stress, while the magnesium assists with insomnia, cramps, inflammation and migraines.
We can give a much higher dose intravenously than would be tolerated orally or via injectable, so you would need four to six injections, one on a weekly basis, to have the same effect as a 15-minute drip. Also, injectables have a 60% absorption rate as some of the liquid goes into the muscle, while an intravenous drip has a 100% absorption rate, with the entire solution being administered directly into the blood stream. This also ensures results are immediately felt.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t have an IV?
Just about everyone can benefit from vitamin IVs as they are vitamins and minerals and considered safe. However, it is suggested that pregnant women do not have drips because we don’t know how much of the vitamins cross the placental barrier. Also, people with severe liver and kidney dysfunction may not be able to tolerate the drips either, but we will always check with their specialist and get their consent if they would like them to have a drip.
But those who do benefit are plentiful! Besides the aesthetic benefits of improved skin, and the natural performance enhancement for sports enthusiasts, as well as the detox benefits, and the hangover cure, those who benefit mostly from vitamin IVs are the medical cases:
- Women with early ovarian ageing and PCOS – the glutathione improves ovarian function and enhances the quality of eggs, so it’s fantastic for fertility treatment.
- People who suffer from headaches and migraines.
- People who struggle with depression, stress and anxiety.
- Those with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and lupus.
- Patients undergoing chemotherapy who are depleted of all vitamins and minerals.
What qualifications do those administering the IVs have?
Only a registered nurse, advanced paramedic or medical doctor can administer drips. Our nurse has 35 years’ experience putting up drips.
Is there a medical doctor present?
Yes there is. Even though vitamin drips are considered safe, and our nurse is extremely experienced and well qualified, we prefer to have a doctor on site. Most people have no negative side effects, but a client may not disclose medication they are on, or a condition they have, or they may not know of an underlying problem or allergy, and they might have a reaction. This would be the absolute minority, but rather safe than sorry.
As a result of adding compounds to an IV drip, there is a small risk of allergic reactions. While these risks are low, how are you geared up to deal with it in the event that one does occur?
The risk of an allergic reaction is very low. Medical drips, such as iron drips, pose a much larger risk that vitamin drips, but yes it can happen, specifically if the client has not disclosed certain medication they are taking or an underlying condition they may have. In the unlikely event of a reaction, a doctor is on site and our nurse is well trained. We have an anaphylactic kit on hand, and we have Hadley Shapiro and his team from MediResponse on speed dial.
The take home message – a client should always fill in the client consent form as honestly as possible and disclose all information that could be relevant to the dripping process. This way we can make sure they will be safe and reap all the positive rewards of vitamin dripping.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthsa.co.za
Image credit: iStock