By Ellie Kempton of Simply Nourished
In a hospital setting getting an IV is a common occurrence. With the pressing need for fluids, nutrients or medications requires a trained health professional can an IV to deliver those nutrients straight into the vascular system [skipping the digestive tract]. IV’s drastically increase the rate of survival when a patient is experiencing loss of blood, overwhelming infection or dangerously low blood pressure. All of this is to say, IV infusions play a very valuable role in a medical setting. But what about IV infusions outside of a medical setting?
Enter drip bars: IV’s on demand
If you’ve heard of a “drip bar," you are tapping into one of the latest trends which is the infusion of nutrients into the body even when not considered medically necessary. In fact, you can head on over to your nearest [IV] “bar” and request a “cocktail” of nutrients anytime you like. You’re even likely find a bar conveniently located since they are cropping up across the nation. There is even a mobile “tour bus” touring the country administering this IV hydration/nutrient service. Some IV hydration services include a “special blend" of vitamins [usually inclusive of C + B12 + glutathione] while others contain electrolytes. And depending on a person’s symptoms [and budget] there are personalized combinations of nutrients. [No, sorry but this is not covered by health insurance.]
What are the perks of an IV drip:
The most enticing marketing for IV drips entail:
dehydration management [from the flu or overexertion]
food poisoning relief
sports performance support
healthy glow for skin and hair
Many of the early adopters of this new form of nutrition support have been what you’d expect: celebrities who can afford the expense. But now that IV drips are becoming more popular and accessible they have become more affordable.
Are IV drips necessary or effective?
In full transparency, I’m not hopping on the IV drip bar movement bandwagon. It's not that I’m a slow adopter or that I don’t see the value in the nutrients that IV bars offer. Instead, I’m more cautious about administering nutrients without any guidance or assurance of necessity. There are enough discouraging variables including the quality of nutrients being administered, sterility [to prevent infection] and of course price point.
If clinically necessary, I see the value of IV drips and think that under the guidance of a functional care provider IV nutrients can give the body some traction especially pertaining to GI conditions, severe dehydration, and a clinically significant nutrient deficiency. But when IV drips are used more flippantly for things like reversing the effect of a few too many cocktails, I fear that this is a misuse. Instead, it is possible and even more convenient to get fluid, packed with nutrients, in an even more convenient setting [your home] with something simple like coconut water. Obviously, the impact will not be as efficient but when nutrients like C + Bs [the most popular “drips”] are consumed through food and hydration with consistency, there is no need for an IV drip bar.
So next time you see your favorite influencer sharing how miraculous the effect of an IV infusion is, pause and remember that what they are experiencing is a quick fix not a sustainable health. And I fully believe and preach the sustainability of choices. If you’re still curious about the role IV nutrition plays in your wellness plan talk to a functional care provider you trust. When I look at labs I do see specific cases that require a punch of specific nutrients but only for a short period of time.
As with every trend, it’s important to take in the facts [and claims] with discernment and a moment of pause. The lesson I challenge you to glean from this trend is how important it is to stay hydrated with filtered water and functional liquids [like coconut water] at all times, but especially if you are active. If you're at all curious about your levels of vitamins and minerals test before blindly repleting. And maybe most importantly, invest in a nutrition insurance policy by eating food that is bursting at the seams with vitamins and minerals. Those foods happen to be unpackaged and colorful. Who knew you had your very own “IV drip bar” in the comfort of your home via your refrigerator [at a fraction of the price]?
To your vibrant [nutrient replete] self,