IV Vitamin Therapy

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!

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.