Why Some People Like Wendy Williams May Need Special Cocktails Like “Banana Bags” and “Myers’ Cocktails”

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Originally published on phlabs.org

Recently, television host Wendy Williams got a special cocktail - a vitamin cocktail in the form of an IV vitamin drip. Another name for the cocktail she received is a “banana bag,” and it usually contains “a combination of 100 mg of thiamine, 1 mg of folic acid, 1-2 g of magnesium, and a multivitamin formulation in either normal saline or dextrose in water solution,” according to this source.

A banana bag is generally used for a very specific medical purpose - chronic alcohol use disorder (AUD).

In the past, Williams has shared that she struggled with a cocaine addiction that lasted 10 years. She was able to overcome this and become a highly successful and popular TV personality. But now, unfortunately, she appears to be battling an addiction to alcohol and, according to some reports, prescription drugs.  

Reportedly, just one week after sharing on-air that she had been living in a sober home, the 54-year-old host had to be hospitalized after checking herself out of the sober home and drinking heavily. She was said to be taken to the hospital after members of her staff found her very drunk.

As we have discussed before, intravenous (IV) vitamin drips deliver a cocktail of nutrients directly into a person’s bloodstream.

IV delivery of nutrients and medication is routinely utilized in the hospital setting for treating patients. These intravenous fluids may also contain potassium, glucose, and sodium, which are electrolytes your body needs to function normally.  

Medical professionals sometimes use IV lines to deliver drugs directly into the veins. This form of delivery helps the drugs reach the bloodstream more quickly than they would if you took a capsule or tablet. IV drugs are also useful for treating people who are vomiting and cannot take oral medications. So it's not surprising that IV lines are also being used to deliver nutrients.

And you don’t necessarily have to be having a medical issue or an emergency to utilize IV vitamin drips. Many people may use IV drips to help prevent or reduce the symptoms of the common cold, a hangover, jet lag, fatigue and more.

The nutrient-filled fluid in a banana bag has a yellow color, hence the name. The nutrients identified above that are present in the bag are all essential to the proper functioning of our bodies.

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), 100mg. Thiamine is an essential nutrient for all the tissues in the body, including our brain tissue. “A deficiency in the essential nutrient thiamine resulting from chronic alcohol consumption is one factor underlying alcohol–induced brain damage,” reports the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

  • Vitamin B9 (Folate), 1mg. Abusing alcohol usually causes a folate deficiency, which can lead to anemia (a decrease in the red blood cells). This nutrient deficiency may also lead to psychosis, agitation and sleep issues.

  • Magnesium, 1-2 g. “Magnesium (Mg) deficiency is common among alcoholics. Animal studies have shown that magnesium deficiency aggravates the hepatic [relating to the liver] damage caused by alcohol. One study on chronic alcoholics suggested that magnesium supplementation over six weeks decreases abnormally high activities of three enzymes related to liver function,” according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

A banana bag may also contain a multivitamin, which makes sense considering how badly alcohol robs the body of vitamins  we all need to stay healthy. All the nutrients mentioned in the banana bag may help prevent or reduce the likelihood of additional alcohol poisoning and withdrawal symptoms, such as prolonged vomiting, dehydration and low blood sugar.

Another popular cocktail in the world of IV vitamin drips is the Myers’ Cocktail which may also be used to cure the effects of a hangover.

The Myers’ Cocktail is the original micronutrient drip developed by Dr. John Myers in the 1960’s. This cocktail usually contains vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, B complex (which contains all the B vitamins). This cocktail may also be relevant for a number of clinical conditions such as “migraines, fatigue, asthma, fibromyalgia, acute muscle spasms, chronic sinusitis and more.”

Some medical practitioners “prefer vitamin IV infusion over oral administration, because higher vitamin levels can enter the bloodstream via the veins than can orally.” Factors such as age and diet may affect our ability to absorb adequate amounts of nutrients from the foods we eat to stay healthy. As a result, obtaining nutrients via infusion is an option that may be used to ensure that we get the right amounts of nutrients we need.

In addition, there are circumstances (such as when we are sick or extremely physically active) when our bodies may require a higher amount of nutrients to stay healthy. Reportedly, the body “begins to use nutrients at a faster rate, too fast for the body to absorb nutrients from the gastrointestinal system.” So with “intravenous administration physicians are able to provide higher doses of vitamins directly to the body via the veins, directly to the cells that require them. These same levels are not obtainable through oral or intramuscular (IM) administration.”

You can read more about potential benefits of the Myers’ Cocktail and additional cocktails we offer at the pH Drip Lab, here.

I’ve never been much of a drinker, but these are “cocktails” I utilize often as I age to replace lost vitamins and minerals and help boost my nutritional status. Whether or not we are battling addiction like Wendy Williams, we all likely have challenges maintaining optimal nutrient levels. These challenges are due to a variety of factors, including medications,  surgery, chronic illness as well as age. When you have these challenges, it is important to consult with a competent healthcare practitioner to identify the best way you can be nutritionally balanced.

Let’s enjoy our healthiest lives!

People With Metabolic Syndrome May Need More Vitamin C

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Originally published on phlabs.org

 We are officially well into the new year, and many of us are on a mission to be more proactive about our health. If you are currently overweight or obese but are not sure if you have any additional health issues (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.), I would highly suggest making a doctor’s appointment in order to determine whether you have metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is not a disease. In a nutshell, individuals with metabolic syndrome have a certain conditions that puts them at risk for health problems such as diabetesheart disease and stroke. Having these conditions may even put you at a greater risk of developing dementia and other cognitive issues. One source refers to individuals with metabolic syndrome as having the “perfect storm” for some serious health issues.

There are varying opinions in the medical field regarding what is considered proper diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, however, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that in order to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you must have a minimum of three of the following metabolic risk factors:

  • Abdominal obesity or being “apple shaped.” Also called visceral fat, excess belly fat can wrap around your vital organs and increase your risk of developing diabetes and fatty liver disease.

  • High triglyceride levels (type of fat found in the blood).

  • Low HDL (good cholesterol) level.

  • High blood pressure (hypertension).

  • High fasting blood sugar. Moderately high blood sugar could be a sign of early diabetes.

Unfortunately, metabolic syndrome is pretty common in the United States. Reportedly, more than a third of American adults have metabolic syndrome. And many may be unaware that they even have this condition.

The good news is that by adopting the right lifestyle habits, like physical activity and eating healthily, we can prevent, control and, in some cases, even reverse metabolic syndrome.

It is also important to note that people with metabolic syndrome need to be especially aware of their nutrient levels. Sometimes they may need to take more than the recommended amounts of certain nutrients.

One recent study produced findings suggesting that those with metabolic syndrome may need more vitamin C to “break cycle of antioxidant depletion.”

Antioxidants “are man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage,” (NIH). Fruits and vegetables are very nutrient-dense and rich in antioxidants. Vitamins A, C and E are examples of antioxidants as well as minerals such as selenium and manganese.

(You can find antioxidants in supplement form, but it’s always best to get nutrients and antioxidants from the foods that you eat).

A report discussing the recent study findings says, “...the type of eating [consuming high-calorie, nutrient-void processed foods] that leads to metabolic syndrome can prompt imbalances in the gut microbiome, with impaired gut function contributing to toxins in the bloodstream, resulting in vitamin C depletion, which subsequently impairs the trafficking of vitamin E.”

"If you don't have the vitamin C, the vitamin E gets lost and then you lose both of those antioxidants and end up in this vicious cycle of depleting your antioxidant protection," said a professor of public health and human sciences, referenced in the report.

"People with metabolic syndrome can eat the same amount of vitamin C as people without metabolic syndrome but have lower plasma concentrations of vitamin C.”

In healthy individuals, the recommended daily amount of vitamin C is between 65 to 90 milligrams. A medium-sized orange has about 70 milligrams of vitamin C. But if you have metabolic syndrome, you may need much more vitamin C than 65 to 90 milligrams per day.

There is not an exact number of how much vitamin C a person with metabolic syndrome needs, but some reports say that a person can have as much as 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C without entering dangerous territory. Remember, having too much of a certain nutrient can be just as bad as having too little of a certain nutrient.

The best approach is to talk to your doctor about what your specific vitamin C needs are. Your doctor or a competent healthcare professional can administer a nutrient test, which will detect any nutrient deficiencies or imbalances. From there, this medical professional can help you make the necessary dietary changes and/or suggest relevant and quality supplements including  intravenous supplementation.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from all of this is that metabolic syndrome is preventable. So if you already have metabolic syndrome, don’t be discouraged. You can improve or maybe even reverse your condition if you really get on a good path of eating right, making sure you have enough nutrients and antioxidants and getting enough physical activity.

Enjoy your healthy life!

The Nutrient All ALS Patients May Need

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Originally published on phlabs.org

There are some diseases which disproportionately affect certain racial groups. For example, diabetes and hypertension are especially prevalent in the African-American communities. And amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, appears to be most common among Caucasians - especially males. According to the ALS CARE Database, 60% of the people with ALS in the Database are men and 93% of patients are Caucasian.

ALS is a rare but devastating disease and reportedly affects about 3.9 people per 100,000 in the U.S. population. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Essentially, this disease causes you to lose control of your brain. And if you don’t have control of your brain, you don’t have control of your body. ALS also causes loss of muscle control. The leading cause of death from ALS is respiratory failure.

Former New Orleans Saint NFL player Steve Gleason is currently battling ALS. Reportedly, he was diagnosed at just 34-years-old (ALS is more commonly found in people between the ages of 55 and 75). There is no cure or known cause of ALS, however, some sources say repeated head trauma from playing football could be the possible culprit behind Gleason developing ALS.

“There are several other young football players who have suffered from ALS, such as Tim Shawand Kevin Turner, who died of the disease in March [2016] at 46,” according to one source.

“The head trauma hypothesis is bolstered by the fact that veterans appear to be more likely to develop ALS, as are soccer players. (With that sport, head-butting might be the culprit.) Other studies have found simply that concussions seem to be a risk factor for ALS, regardless of whether one is a professional athlete.”

Another case of ALS we previously discussed involved Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated actor Sam Shepard, who died of ALS at the age of 73.

And then there was the incredible story of Stephen Hawking and his battle with ALS that lasted around five decades! Hawking, who died last March at the age of 76 due to ALS, was diagnosed with the disease at just 21-years-old. After being diagnosed, doctors told him he would only live two years. Hawking proved them wrong by living another 55 years and achieving incredible things in his career as a physicist.

These stories of ALS all involve Caucasian men. At the end of the day, irrespective of our backgrounds, anyone may become a victim of this devastating disease. But the good news is that we can learn as much as we can about this disease and identify ways to be proactive.

One of the best preventative strategies may be following a healthy, nutrient-rich diet that fights oxidative stress and inflammation.

But in addition to this, recent research shows that high doses of vitamin B12 supplementation may be able to slow down the progression of ALS if you already have it. The key is that you start supplementation before or during early onset (within the first year) of having ALS symptoms.

The research involved treating people with ultra-high-dose methylcobalamin, the physiologically active form of vitamin B12, according to one report discussing the study.

“Vitamin B12 is particularly important in the development and function of the central nervous system (CNS) — the spinal cord and the brain. It is also involved in the maturation of red blood cells and the production of DNA, the genetic material inside all cells.”

(Main sources of vitamin B12 are found in animal products, like meat and eggs. So if you are vegetarian or vegan, you may need to incorporate a B12 supplement into your diet).

According to the report, methylcobalamin is a form of B12 that can be used as a dietary supplement to treat megaloblastic anemia.

“Due to its important role in the CNS, the vitamin is also used to help treat peripheral neuropathy, a disorder of the nerves that send information from the CNS to the rest of the body. In some countries like Japan, it is seen as a potential treatment for ALS.”

One body of research suggests that methylcobalamin was able to decrease homocysteine levels.

“Homocysteine (Hcy) exerts multiple neurotoxic mechanisms that have also been shown to be relevant in the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),” reports the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Another study showed that ALS patients who received ultra-high-doses of B12 injections directly into their muscles showed improvement in muscle electrical activity only after just two weeks.

One study in Japan conducted with ALS patients showed that administering ultra-high-dose methylcobalamin therapy may improve the prognosis of patients. But, again, this appeared to only be evident in patients who started this therapy during early onset of symptoms.

Be Smart & Safe About Supplementation

This does not mean that you should be trying to get as much B12 into your body as possible in order to prevent or better manage ALS. If supplementation, especially when it’s used to treat a serious disease, is not administered by a competent healthcare professional, you may not end up receiving the benefits.

On top of this, when you supplement, you have to consider all of the other nutrients your body needs. And overdoing it on one nutrient may ‘knockout’ other essential nutrients that help keep you healthy. So you need to be mindful of all supplements you may be taking.

For example, taking potassium supplements may deplete B12 from the body. Furthermore, vitamin C supplements may affect the ability of your body being able to efficiently absorb B12 from foods. Vitamin C supplements may break down vitamin B12 in the digestive tract and increase the absorption of iron in the gastrointestinal tract.

These are all reasons why routine nutrient tests are highly recommended. And remember to seek medical advice from a competent healthcare professional before you supplement, especially if you are battling a disease like ALS.

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.  

Not Up for Debate: Get Enough Vitamin C or Risk Aging Rapidly

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Originally published on phlabs.org

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder

As a young adult, I knew vitamin C was good for my health. I associated it with citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons or products like Emergen-C. And I recall learning somewhere in my educational process that people who didn’t get enough vitamin C in their diets may get scurvy. For example, some sailors on long voyages in the 17th and 18th centuries died from scurvy when they ran out of fresh food supplies. But I never met anyone who had scurvy.  

Scurvy severely impacts the immune system. It may cause the gums to bleed easily and become infected. The teeth may become rotten and start to fall out. If not treated, scurvy can be fatal. But with the prevalence of citrus fruits today, I did not think that vitamin C deficiency or scurvy was something I needed to worry about.  

I was wrong.

It has been reported that more than 40% of American adults have an inadequate intake of vitamin C. And while the deficiency may not result in bleeding gums and missing teeth, it might be enough to wreak havoc on our immune systems and make us age faster.

Vitamin C protects the immune system from deficiencies that may lead to cardiovascular illnesses and other diseases. It is one of the most important nutrients needed for our survival. It is also an antioxidant, which means it protects our bodies from free radicals and other harmful molecules. It is a major producer of collagen, which is the main ingredient behind the repair of bone and skin tissue, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and teeth. Vitamin C also helps moisturize and nourish the skin, which may increase skin elasticity and may even restore a youthful appearance.

People who smoke are likely to be deficient in vitamin C. Smoking may cause oxidative stress, which may result in a decrease of vitamin C levels. Smoking is so dangerous that even secondhand smoke may decrease vitamin C levels. Because of this, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) suggests that smokers need an additional 35 mg of vitamin C per day than nonsmokers. They haven’t determined a specific amount for those who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke.

Daily amounts of fruits and vegetables generally provide more than enough vitamin C. On the other hand, people who make a diet out of fast food and junk food or abuse alcohol and drugs increase their risk of vitamin C deficiency.  

The real victims of vitamin C deficiency generally reside in low-income and impoverished neighborhoods, where the environment may make them more prone to having an unhealthy diet. Of course, adding fruits and vegetables to their diet may be enough to offset deficiency.

People who suffer from malabsorption may also be deficient in vitamin C. Malabsorption is when the body is incapable of absorbing nutrients. The inability to absorb nutrients like vitamin C is usually caused by chronic health conditions like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, cachexia and severe intestinal malabsorption.

Vitamin C cannot be naturally produced by the human body, making it a crucial dietary component. In order for us to maintain a healthy intake of vitamin C, we have to consume it.

Vitamin C can usually be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables such as oranges, watermelon, green and red peppers, grapefruit, tomatoes, spinach, papaya, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men is around 90 milligrams (mg) per day. For women, it is about 75 mg. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should increase to 120 mg per day. To put these amounts in perspective, one cup of raw oranges is about 95 milligrams. To get an idea about which foods contain vitamin C and how much, visit the National Nutrient Database. It is a great source of information.

But be careful! While it’s not a common occurrence, it is possible to take too much vitamin C. It’s not likely that a ton of vitamin C will be harmful, but there are negative side effects to look out for. When taking doses above 400 mg, the extra vitamin C is excreted in the urine. However, if you consume more than 2,000 mg, you may experience negative side effects such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and nausea, heartburn, insomnia and even the rare case of kidney stones.

It’s never too late to get tested for vitamin C deficiency! The sooner you learn about your vitamin C levels, the sooner you can get back to living a healthier life.

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.

Glutathione: Why you need to know about this powerful detoxifier

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Originally posted on phlabs.org

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a “soldier” in your body who fights almost anything that could make you sick and age faster? Yes, the body has many ways of repairing itself, including abilities to bind and neutralize chemical free radicals and toxins, increase immune defenses, fight cancer and even combat aging skin. Most aging occurs when the human body is unable to deal with incoming environmental and other unhealthy stresses. Having little buddies inside you to elbow those nasty toxins and radicals can help!

One of the most powerful substances to do that is an antioxidant called glutathione.

What does glutathione do?

Glutathione:

  • Helps prevent damage to cells by neutralizing harmful molecules generated during energy production.

  • Plays a role in processing medications and makes them more digestible.

  • Binds and inactivates cancer-causing compounds (carcinogens) in a process called cancer apoptosis.

  • Is involved in building DNA, proteins and other important cellular components.

  • Is protective against environmental toxins.

  • Plays a critical role in protecting brain cells from oxidative stress.

  • Helps the liver detoxify fat before bile is emitted, which takes stress off of the gallbladder.

  • Reduces peroxides (natural bleaching agents that are harmful to the body).

  • Helps detoxify methylglyoxal, a toxin produced as a by-product of metabolism.

  • Plays a crucial role in immune function. It promotes T-cell function, which is critical for a strong immune system.

  • And more!

What can you do to improve your levels?

Glutathione is predominantly produced by the liver. It does need certain amino acids (such as cysteine) and vitamins and minerals. Oral ingestion of glutathione is not very effective because it is quickly digested and broken up; thus, only a fraction reaches the liver and bloodstream. Intravenous glutathione (via an IV) may be effective at 200 mg.

However, there are several other ways how to improve your glutathione levels:

  • Eat natural sulfur-containing foods such as garlic, onions and the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage and cauliflower).

  • Whey protein can raise cysteine levels, which is a key building block of glutathione.

  • Selenium, vitamin E and purple carrot extracts may improve antioxidant function by raising glutathione.

  • Exercise has been shown to decrease oxidative stress through increased antioxidant enzymes activity, such as glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase. Even low-intensity exercise can benefit antioxidant levels.

  • Alpha-lipoic acid is a close second to glutathione in importance in our cells and is involved in energy production, blood sugar control, brain health and detoxification.

  • Ginger oil was shown to be helpful in reversing radiation-induced intestinal damage by raising impaired antioxidant function again.

  • Eat methylation nutrients such as folate, vitamin B6 and B12 because methylation and recycling glutathione are important antioxidant functions. Click here to read about methylation.

  • Milk thistle supports liver function and can have positive effects on glutathione production.

  • Avoid junk food. Decreased glutathione production occurs with poor nutritional habits, like eating junk foods. These increase inflammation and cause oxidative damage and impaired glutathione production.

Enjoy the benefits glutathione can have on your long-term health, and check back soon for a follow-up that goes more in-depth on what oxidative stress is and how you can be proactive to reduce it.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.

B12 Cure-All or Waste of Money?

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Originally published on phlabs.org

Are B12 injections worth the hype?

“B12 injections given here!” Doctor’s offices, chiropractic centers and other wellness-focused operations love to advertise B12. And why not? Patients swear it gives them an “energy boost.”  

Animal sources like meat and eggs are the primary sources of B12 in the U.S.  A simple blood test can tell you your level — numbers between 500 and 1,000 pg/ml are desirable.

However, vegans, vegetarians, women, alcoholics, people with bowel diseases like colitis or Crohn’s, and people who have had gut surgery (like gastric bypass surgery) are the most likely to be deficient. Additionally, absorption of food-bound vitamin B12 decreases as we age. It is generally recommended that adults 51 years and older take a supplement containing vitamin B12.

What is vitamin B12?

B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that it dissolves in water. In general, after the body uses water-soluble vitamins, leftover amounts leave the body through the urine. B12 is different in that it can be stored for years in the liver. It is actually the only water-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the body.

What are the risks of B12 deficiency?

The risks of B12 deficiency include anemia, numbness, impaired senses and nerve damage.

If you do have a deficiency, evidence shows that a simple oral tablet is just as effective in restoring levels as injected B12. A 2011 study in the journal Clinical Therapeutics showed that people were able to attain 100% of desired B12 levels simply by taking a daily oral supplement.

What about taking supplements even when you don’t have a deficiency?

It seems to depend on what you want to take it for. In 1978, researchers in the British Journal of Nutrition measured exercise performance before and after B12 injections (or placebo injections) and found no difference in performance.  

But another study looked at young people with hearing loss due to too much noise exposure. This study found some benefit in hearing in the participants who took extra B12. This makes some sense, since B12 is critical to nerve health. The B12 you don’t need will be excreted in the urine, unless you have liver disease.

There is a small subset of people who truly cannot absorb vitamin B12 well from food or from oral supplements. There is a test called CobaSorb that will tell you if you are one of them. Potassium supplements can reduce absorption of vitamin B12.  There is also some evidence that vitamin C in supplements can interfere with obtaining the vitamin B12 found in foods. But note that if you’ve had weight loss surgery, your doctor should guide you in deciding what supplements should be taken.  

Although taking vitamin B12 has almost no side effects, your dollars should be spent on supplements you actually need. If you have low B12, opt for a less expensive pill form; if your B12 level is normal, take a multivitamin to boost all your vitamin levels.

Who may be at risk for B12 deficiency?

Do you have pernicious anemia? Are you on long-term antibiotics? Do you gave gastritis? Are you a smoker or a vegetarian or vegan? Do you drink a lot of alcohol? If you answered yes to any of these, you may be at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency and should consider a supplement.

How much B12 can I take?

If your kidneys and liver are healthy, you can probably take 1,000 micrograms daily without adverse effects (which may include itching, numbness and tingling, rapid heartbeat, diarrhea and swelling). Some doctors say there are absolutely no side effects to massive B12 doses. However, the recommended daily intake of B12 is less than 3 micrograms. Taking over 3,000 micrograms, which is significantly higher than the recommended daily intake, is known to cause adverse effects.

At pH Labs, we help you find out what your body really needs through a personalized health assessment, advanced lab testing and can assist you with boosting b12 through our pH Drip Lab. This way, you’re not left to trial and error to find out what supplements to take or lifestyle adjustments to make. Our doctors will work with you to address any deficiencies in your body, including vitamin B12. Visit our website or call us at 855-PHLABS1 to schedule an appointment.

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.

Are Vitamin Infusions Worth All the Hype?

Originally published on pHLabs.org

Las Vegas is America’s adult playground, but it can definitely take a toll on you if you overdo it. We’ve all been there!

If you happen to be in Vegas and desperately need a cure for a hangover, dehydration or exhaustion, paying a visit to REVIV, an IV drip spa, may be just what you need.

IV drip spas, where people can get a cocktail of nutrients injected directly into their bloodstream via an IV, are actually all over the United States. Also called vitamin infusions, these vitamin injections are sometimes simply given as a shot (like if you were to walk in and get a flu shot at your local drug store).

These treatments reportedly offer:

  • Relief from jet lag
  • Relief from pain due to fibromyalgia
  • A boost for the immune system
  • Cure for a hangover
  • Clearer skin

Some even say these injections will improve sexual function.

If you were to visit one of these IV drip spas, it would be pretty comparable to ordering at a smoothie or juice bar.

For example, this IV spa in California has a pretty big menu offering items such as: 

  • Brain Boost” - to help with your ability to concentrate. Treatment delivers taurine, an amino acid that may play an important role in creating new brain cells. The injection also includes B vitamins and vitamin C, which may stimulate and balance neurotransmitters. 
  • Party Prep” - offers 11 nutrients that will keep you hydrated and energized before you attend a big event. 

These treatments are not cheap. On average, they cost about $100 to $175.

Depending on what spa you visit, vitamin IV drips can take anywhere between 15 to 90 minutes.

Reportedly, “[f]or an infusion, vitamins are added to a solution containing the same salt concentration as your blood to aid absorption and take about 20 to 30 minutes. Infusions are relatively painless.”

Some celebs, including Rihanna and Gwyneth Paltrow, swear by vitamin drips for boosting immunity.  

Even widely popular celebrity Dr. Oz said they are “cutting edge.”

One woman spent thousands of dollars on these drips, despite some medical experts saying they are a waste of money in her case.

Do they work?

Well, we know IV delivery of nutrients and medication is utilized in the hospital setting for treating patients. Intravenous fluids may contain potassium, glucose, and sodium, which are electrolytes your body needs to function normally.  

And medical professionals may use IV lines to deliver drugs directly into the veins, which helps them reach the bloodstream more quickly than they would if you took a capsule or tablet. IV drugs are also useful for treating people who are vomiting and cannot take oral medications.

Some medical doctors have been successfully using a “cocktail of intravenous vitamin C, vitamin B1 (thiamine) and corticosteroids” to treat sepsis with “no consequential side effects.”

However, other medical professionals are waiting for hard science to decide whether this method of treating sepsis is effective.  

“That evidence could come from two large studies now underway in the United States. Both are being conducted according to the gold standard of medical science: Some patients get the treatment, others get a placebo, and neither the patients nor doctors know who gets what.”

Some people against vitamin IV drips argue it is useless, because infusing vitamins through your veins bypasses the GI system.

According to some doctors, circumventing your digestive system may put your health at risk. That’s because your digestive tract has several layers of defense—from antibodies in your saliva to your liver— that filter out potentially harmful molecules that could cause an allergic reaction.

But others believe that skipping the GI system is the reason why these treatments can be so effective.

“With vitamin C, for example, it’s immediately available for cellular use when you infuse it directly into the veins. But the same amount would cause G.I. upset if you tried to take it by mouth,” according to one medical doctor.

It is important to note that these vitamin IV drips should not be a viable long-term solution to any medical problems you may be having.

If you’re hungover in Vegas, it may be a quick fix. But if you are someone who has chronic fatigue or always getting sick, you need to get to the bottom of why you have these symptoms and perhaps make appropriate lifestyle changes, like exercising more and eating healthier.

Are these treatments safe?

There is always a risk of infection with needle use, but it’s likely no more riskier than getting a flu shot or having a regular IV at the hospital.

If you take too much of a certain vitamin or mineral, this can be toxic. One doctor says he doesn’t use anything that could reach toxicity levels quickly. And since these treatments use water-soluble vitamins, any excess would be filtered by the kidneys and eliminated through your urine.

Model and member of the Kardashian clan Kendall Jenner was not long ago hospitalized due to a bad reaction from a vitamin IV drip.

(These treatments are not FDA endorsed or regulated).

There are not many details on what exactly happened to Jenner, but she recovered pretty quickly. What you really have to be mindful of is the person giving you the drip. These treatments are often done in spa type environments, and not your doctor’s office, so in some cases you are kind of like letting someone else play doctor.

You have to do your research and make sure you are going to a reputable place.

“More serious complications of an IV treatment can include a blood clot or inflammation of the vein. Although very rare, improperly inserted IVs can create a stroke-causing air embolism or cause the fluids to leak into nearby tissue,” according to the doctor in this report.

Of course if you have any existing health issues or are pregnant or breastfeeding, speak with a competent healthcare professional about whether vitamin drips are appropriate for you.

And always remember, being healthy is about your day-to-day care: what you are eating, not smoking, exercising, drinking in moderation, managing stress and visiting your doctor on an annual basis.

So are infusions worth the hype?

I have benefited from infusions of Vitamins C and B because I have such difficulty absorbing enough of these vitamins from food or supplement form. There is enough evidence to suggest that infusions may indeed be worth the hype and the benefits may far outweigh any risks associated with them. So if you have confirmed that you are deficient in certain nutrients and want to experience quick results, this may very well be one avenue you want to consider as a short term fix until you figure out a long term solution.  

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.