Just because all the major movie stars and athletes do IV drips, is no reason to go run out and do them yourselves.  Or, is it??

In the US alone, reports suggest that MOST adults (ages 19 and older) are deficient in several critical vitamins and minerals.  Over 50% have poor nutrient intake of vitamins D, E, A, C, Magnesium, and Calcium.   The good news (sarcasm alert) is that our intake of sugar, processed foods, hormone and antibiotic pumped meat, random food dye #7 and preservatives (aka stuff that kills living things) is well over 1400% of recommend daily allowances!! Yeesh.

So part of the problem is of course all about our penchant for eating fake food and ignoring anything that resembles an actual food.  But even for those of you eating loads of greens, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds, the mineral depletion in our soil means we have depletions in the FOOD growing IN the soil.   What to do?

Are intravenous (IV) supplements the answer to our modern-day nutrient issues? There’s a lot more to this debate than meets the eye. Let’s take a look.


1. What you drip is what you get!

The nutrients in an IV drip are directly absorbed into your bloodstream, bypassing the gut. That means that your are receiving 100% of the nutrients present in the drip, directly into your blood and to your body.   For many people with gut issues or increased intestinal permeability, this would be a superior choice for addressing chronic depletions.  Plus that’s what all the movie-stars do.  So it must be good!

2. They can be personalized

I’m not saying you can just pick from any one of 33 flavors like you can at Baskin Robbins (and if you COULD I’m sure salty caramel would top the list of favorite IV “flavors”)  but depending on your personal needs, your doctor can create a customized blend of nutrients in specific dosages.  Ideally, you would have a comprehensive panel of blood work to identify any deficiencies that need to be addressed.    It’s also helpful to know what health concerns you have and what your goals are for IV therapy.

3. If you hate drinking water, IV hydration is for you!

So many of us walk around chronically dehydrated.  I for one am terrible at drinking water.  Why?  Glad you asked.

  • First, unless its flavored with something light and refreshing (like a lime wedge, or mint leaves, or patron tequila) I find it a nuisance.
  • Second, as I keep drinking all day long, I end up peeing all day long.  I can’t be interrupted by so many bathroom breaks when I’m trying to see 20 patients in the office.  Plus, my office has one bathroom, so the chances that it is occupied is upwards of 85%.
  • So I am big on throwing in a little IV hydration when I know I’ve been remiss in my water quota and just pee it out all at once.  A real time saver.

4. It is Anti-Aging

Is this for real?  There is a reason why detoxification and beautification sort of rhyme.  ISH.  The key is getting in some of the master liver detoxifier called glutathione.  Glutathione keeps your skin looking youthful and vibrant.  It also brightens your skin when you add some vitamin C.  Glutathione is a major antioxidant in the body.  It fights off free radicals that can lead to wrinkles, fine lines and thinning skin.   And IV glutathione is significantly better than oral forms as glutathione oral absorption is very limited.


1. There are risks.

Each person’s physiology and nutritional requirements are going to be different. IV supplementation can lead to problems if not done correctly.  While vitamins and minerals are healthy, they can create negative effects in certain individuals if pushed too high, too fast.  Make sure to work with a doctor who does this frequently and who can order blood work to determine your exact needs.

2. They do not take the place of taking care of yourself!

You can drip, drip, drip away until the cows come home but unless you take control of your sleep, stress levels, exercise and nutrition, this will be more of a band-aid than an ultimate solution to health concerns.  For patients that have absorptive difficulties due to gut issues, this is a fabulous way to get your deficiencies under control.  But ideally, you address the cause of gut dysfunction as well so that you don’t need to rely on drips for staying healthy.

3. Like everything in life, quality matters. 

The quality of vitamins and nutrients used makes a difference in how you will respond.   Cheap forms of B12, folate, magnesium, etc are not as bioavailable, nor do they work as effectively.  Make sure your provider, who is hopefully a medical doctor, gets these from a reputable source.

4. There are risks associated with getting a needle in your arm. 

Which is better than a needle elsewhere, let’s be honest.  Inflammation, bruising, infection, allergic reactions are all possible immediate risks involved with IVs.  I personally have ICU nurses administering these drips.  They can throw an IV in the sickest of the sick. And they know what to do in an emergency.  They are bad-ass.  For real.  I wouldn’t cross them.


My vote is always about cleaning up your lifestyle and nutrition first.  I do offer IV nutrient therapy as an adjunct to getting patient’s health back on track.  It also can be an amazing pick me up when energy and fatigue are waning.  I mostly recommend drips after I have seen blood work, unless there is such obvious reason for depletion (like just having a baby or running a marathon or after surgery).  I have found that in the right patient it can dramatically move the needle.

HERE’S my opinion about who would benefit from IV drips:

1. If you have significant nutrient deficiencies… 

Those with pretty significant nutrient deficiencies who feel super low energy, fatigued and unmotivated to accomplish a lot of lifestyle change all at once may really benefit from getting an initial boost through IV therapy.  Trying to get people up to speed with their vitamins and minerals can really turn around how they feel.

2. If you have gut imbalances and are working to correct deficiencies…

Obviously if you suffer from bloating, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, reflux, inflammatory bowel disease or just general digestive issues, then your ability to absorb nutrients from food OR supplements will be impaired.  This is another wonderful adjunct to improving how you feel while you are working on getting your gut back in line.

3. If you are a performance athlete and your nutrient utilization and hydration needs are high…

Then this may be great for you.  Many who have very elevated energy and hydration requirements will likely benefit from intermittent IV drip therapy.

4. If you are found to have depleted glutathione or liver detoxification issues…

This is the fastest way to get your liver detoxification back up to speed.  You must be careful with this. If you have a sulfur allergy or active asthma, this is not for you.  There is a formula for anti-aging that includes glutathione and vitamin c that is quite nice for skin rejuvenation and repair.

4. If you are feeling run down and need a boost

And your doctor tells you “you are totally normal!” then IV drips may be the pick me up you need.  Work with a qualified practitioner.

Let me know your thoughts!

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Ready for the legal disclaimer? Information offered here is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. As with any health recommendation, please contact your doctor to be sure any changes you wish to consider are safe for you!