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The Truth Behind IV Therapy: Efficacy, Costs, and Common Queries

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Intravenous nutrient therapy, commonly referred to as IV therapy, enjoys a widespread popularity across demographics and pop culture. Whether sought by health enthusiasts, individuals suffering from chronic illnesses, or celebrities partying too hard, IV therapy caters to diverse needs.

Despite its popularity, there are many unknowns about IV therapy: where did it come from? How does it work? Is it effective? Why is it so expensive?

The reality is that IV therapy’s mystique is hiding its truth. In this blog, we’ll explore the truth of IV therapy beyond the headlines.

Historical Background

We’re all familiar with the standard hospital IV that dates back centuries ago. IV therapy is based on the same idea, it’s just a more recent invention.

In the 1970s, a doctor named Dr. John Myers was inspired to use this technology and find a way to help his patients suffering from chronic illnesses. He created an IV “cocktail”— a saline bag containing magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin C. 

After Dr. Myers passed, his subordinate Dr. Alan Gaby continued his legacy and coined the bag as the “Myers Cocktail”. Dr. Gaby reported treating over 1,000 patients over 16 years (with over 15,000 treatments!) with the Myers Cocktail. He saw benefits with chronic asthma, fatigue, fibromyalgia, and quality of life for cancer patients. 

The Myers Cocktail lives on and is still offered at most IV clinics! Since then, doctors have created new cocktails to target immunity, athletic performance, hangovers, gut health, energy, vitality, and more!

Understanding IV Therapy Mechanisms

How IV Therapy Works

The IV therapy process is not much different from the standard IV given at hospitals. The difference lies in the actual IV. Typical IVs contain only saline, but IV therapy has saline packed with nutrients for an extra punch.

At an IV therapy session, a certified practitioner inserts an IV into your vein for optimal connection with your bloodstream. As the IV drips into your bloodstream, your body experiences an immediate response from the maximized nutrient absorption.

Depending on the treatment plan and vein size, the therapy could be from 30 minutes to even two hours. Some nutrients, like NAD, are so strong that the insertion needs to move at a slower pace.

IV therapy may take place at a clinic, or in a personalized location if there is a mobile clinic.

Types of IV Therapies

There are many types of IV therapies: single nutrients, premixed, or personalized. The IV bag can include vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, minerals, electrolytes, and even ozone!

IV session

Efficacy of IV Therapy

Although it’s ideal to get nutrients from food only, that isn’t always possible. Not only has our soil depleted in nutrients by 20% in the past decade, but nutrients can also be difficult to absorb.

Scientific Evidence

The rationale for IV therapy is similar to the rationale for any IV—help an individual absorb nutrients that they physically can’t.

Sending nutrients or saline through an IV will bypass the gastrointestinal tract and go straight to the bloodstream. The bypass is especially helpful for individuals with digestive issues that make it harder to absorb nutrients from food or supplements. Think of IV therapy like an expedited supplement! 

Conditions Treated with IV Therapy

Hangovers

The most popular IV therapy by celebrities and in pop culture is IV therapy for hangovers. Symptoms of hangovers include fatigue, dehydration, nausea, anxiety, and more—so it’s no wonder that IV therapy is a sought-after fix. Some hangover IVs just have saline, which can quell dehydration quickly especially when someone is too nauseous to drink water or eat.

There’s also more stacked IV therapies for hangovers that include B complex, magnesium, vitamin C, multitrace 5, B12, and B6. These additional nutrients supply the body with missing nutrients that were lost from drinking. For instance, magnesium is relaxing for the hangxiety and vitamin C helps your body eliminate the toxins.

Chronic Fatigue

IVs with B vitamins and hydration infusions may relieve individuals experiencing persistent fatigue, headaches, and low energy. B vitamins are key in turning food into cellular energy, creating DNA, supporting red blood cell formation, and providing nervous system health. Adding these B vitamins into your bloodstream may improve how your body interacts with food and give you energy. 

Dehydration is another culprit of constant headaches and low energy. IV therapies naturally hydrate, so it could make a significant difference for chronic fatigue.

Immune Support

Whether you’re experiencing a sickness, preparing for flu season, or just want an immunity boost, immunity IVs are a helpful player. Immunity IVs include vitamin C, a vitamin that protects against immune attacks and boosts antioxidant levels for prevention and recovery from illness. 

Some immunity IVs also include Zinc— an immune booster and an anti-inflammatory. These vitamins decrease frequency of illnesses, offer milder symptoms, and promote overall improved health.

Athletic Performance Enhancement

Athletic performance is tied to endurance and recovery time. Electrolytes, amino acids, and B vitamins are the go-to IV therapy. Each of these nutrients plays a key aspect in preparation, performance, and recovery.

First, B vitamins help convert food into energy to ensure you have enough fuel to stay strong throughout performance. Electrolytes regulate water loss from sweating or breath evaporation, as well as maximizing muscle, organ, and joint performance—resulting in a reliable endurance. The amino acids then support muscle respiration and growth for quick recovery and reduced muscle soreness. 

Factors Influencing IV Therapy Effectiveness

Quality of Ingredients

As with anything in life, quality of ingredients is a vital consideration for IV therapy. You’re injecting yourself after all! 

Natural nutrients are better than synthetic, since those are the nutrients you would get through your diet. 

Proper Administration

IV therapy should always be administered by registered nurses or IV trained medical professionals.

Without proper administration, it’s possible that you will not get the optimal experience from the IV not going into your vein correctly. 

Individual Variability

Every individual is different. We all have different nutrient levels, deficiencies, and reactions. 

Because of the individual variability, we encourage you to learn about your systems prior to IV therapy so you can choose the best IV therapy for your needs. What works for your friend or family member may not be optimized for you. 

Cost Analysis of IV Therapy

Factors Affecting Cost

IV therapies have a large range in cost because there are many factors at play, including:

  • Clinic management
  • PPE
  • Labor
  • Materials
  • Nutrient cost
  • Location
  • Supply/Demand

Average Costs Across Different Locations

Austin

In Austin, TX, IV therapy ranges from $110 to $600. The huge range is because of the availability of both foundational IVs (like hydration) and specializations. There are also more clinics than mobile IVs in Austin, TX, which may drive up the cost of renting a space. 

Dallas

Mobile IVs are common in Dallas, TX and competition is booming. The price range is smaller, from $100 to $400. 

Boulder

Boulder, CO also has a large range of IV options from $100 to $600. Competition isn’t as rampant and it’s more common to receive an IV at a drip bar or wellness clinic.

Insurance Coverage and Affordability Options

Insurance generally does not cover IV therapy, which makes for a high upfront cost. If you’re interested in receiving a super bill, talk to your insurance provider about ways they can support you.

IV Therapy: Does It Work for Everyone?

IV therapy is most suitable for individuals with nutrient deficiencies and/or struggling with nutrient absorption. Each individual is different, so it’s important to discuss your symptoms, diet, lifestyle, and current supplements with your IV provider.

Considerations for Specific Health Conditions

IV therapy is not recommended for individuals with heart or kidney disease. It also is not recommended for anyone who is currently pregnant.

Potential Side Effects and Contraindications

As with any medical treatment, there are potential risks. Receiving IV therapy for a nutrient you don’t need may result in vitamin toxicity, causing your kidney to work overtime and increase risk of kidney stones. 

Additionally, uninformed choices for IVs could throw off your nutritional balances and cause other unwelcome symptoms. You can also experience overhydration and feel nauseous or experience headaches and confusion.

Debunking Myths Surrounding IV Therapy

Misconceptions About Effectiveness

There are many misconceptions about IV therapy effectiveness. Some claim it’s a placebo effect and others claim it as a “magic cure”.

The truth?

Patients have reported feeling significant differences in their wellness, immunity, and performance. There’s no denying the anecdotal reports of alleviated symptoms and improved wellbeing.

Not just that, but our body NEEDS nutrients! The impact nutrients have on our bodies is in every part of our life, from the food we eat to how often we go outside. 

That being said, no medical treatment is ever a magic cure. Health and wellness is a lifestyle. Yes, IV therapy can make a difference, but it is not a guaranteed health fix. It does not cure or treat disease. Think of it like taking a super strong supplement!

Safety Concerns Addressed

To have the safest IV therapy experience is to have the most informed one.

Always ensure that the person inserting your IV is trained and certified, and that they’re following sanitation protocols. Before trying IV therapy, take note of your current nutrient intakes and talk with your provider about what bag is right for you. Ensuring that you’re getting a personalized experience by a professional is the best way to avoid any safety concerns or side effects.

Key Takeaways on IV Therapy

IV therapy gains its credibility from the effects it has on patients. Individuals seeing immunity benefits, feeling stronger, and watching their symptoms dissipate. Although IV therapy is no magic fix that cures diseases, it is a promising method for nutrient absorption. Especially as soil depletes and we spend less time outside, IV therapy is supplying us with valuable nutrients that we lack in our day-to-day.

If you’re interested in IV therapy, always speak to a medical professional first. It is a medical treatment, and it’s important to make informed choices about your health. Talk with your provider, get tests to see your levels, and be cognizant of your reaction to different nutrients. 

Alive and Well IV Therapy 

At Alive and Well, we have over 15 different high quality IVs. Each IV is carefully designed by our practitioners to target health concerns like gut health, fatigue, immunity, weight management, and more. 

Our most popular classic IVs are the infamous Myers’ IV and the Immunity IV. Both are standard IVs designed for benefiting overall health, immunity, and energy.

For more advanced IVs, we offer EBO2 and Ozone IV (MAH). These IVs are intense treatments that inject ozone  into the bloodstream. The ozone tackles inflammation, toxins, and aging by integrating more oxygen into your cellular functions.

 

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/iv-vitamin-therapy-does-it-work 

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