21 Apr Vitamin Infusions
What’s the fuss about vitamin infusions?
Increasing numbers of people are turning to IV vitamin infusions from their doctor to ramp up energy levels, boost immunity, improve mood and help to illuminate their skin. Just what is involved, who should have them and are they safe?
Are they effective, or do they just produce very expensive urine? Do they complement a vegan lifestyle? Are they even vegan? Shonagh Walker grilled the experts to uncover the facts and dispel the myths.
What exactly is a vitamin infusion, or IV therapy?
“IV (intravenous therapy) is when a liquid substance (solution) is administered directly into the vein through a thin, usually plastic, tube called a cannula in order to deliver a therapeutic medication or treatment, explains Dr. Jeremy Cumpston, director and founder of Ageless NAD clinics (agelessnad.com.au). Max Petro, founder of ActIV Infusion (activinfusion) adds; “Intravenous therapy involves the direct infusion of hydrating fluids and high-dose vitamins directly into the bloodstream. IV treatments have been a popular allied medical option for a number of years, but have really only started to become mainstream recently, due to their rising popularity with celebrities and the broader availability of clinics offering these treatments.”
How does IV Therapy work?
“At each appointment, a treatment is customised to your needs during a consultation with your doctor, who will go through your health history. The doctor then administers a small cannula to access your bloodstream, connects an IV bag containing your chosen vitamins and minerals and these are drip fed into the cannula and directly into your bloodstream. The entire treatment typically takes between 30-45 minutes.”
Does IV Therapy actually work, or does it simply crate very expensive urine?
“It absolutely works,” stresses Dr. Cumpston. “It allows the vitamins, nutrients or medicines to bypass the stomach and get straight into the bloodstream in their purest form.” Furthermore, says Petro, “it allows for better cell absorption – you’re getting more benefits from the vitamins. Higher doses of vitamins are also possible from vitamin infusion therapy as opposed to oral vitamins. IV infusions allow for the 100 per cent bioavailability or absorption of fluids, minerals, and vitamins, as they avoid being processed by the gut (which can result in decreased physiologic availability due to the digestive system).”
OK, it’s sounding good … are the solutions used vegan?
Petro says: “We only source Australian made intravenous infusions from hospital-grade pharmaceutical manufacturers. Our manufacturers have advised that our IV vitamins and minerals are vegan friendly as they are based on synthetic (rather than animal-derived) ingredients. If you are visiting a clinic for the first time and you’re unsure, it’s as simple as asking if all their infusions are Australian made and vegan friendly.” Dr. Cumpston concurs, adding, “At my clinics, the solutions are vegan derived, however if you are receiving any other kind of IV therapy you should ask. The different clinics get their solutions from different suppliers, so you may be getting something different to what we offer. If in doubt, ask!”
What infusions would you recommend for someone following or transitioning to a vegan diet?
“B12 is a common deficiency with vegans and those transitioning to a vegan diet,” says Petro. ”The key focus will be to ensure you’re getting adequate minerals and vitamins – dietary sources will always be able to provide this, but if you need a boost then intravenous infusions can be a good option. We also offer Magnesium, which can help with muscle cramps and mood levels, IV Zinc to help with immunity and nail and hair health and high-dose antioxidant infusions, which can assist with mopping up free radicals in the body, Infusions should always be customised to your evolving individual needs, based on thorough consultation with your doctor.” Dr. Cumpston suggests the antioxidant Glutathione, and Co-enzyme Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+), which is a derivate of vitamin B3 that supports DNA repair and sirtuin enzymes, as well as vitamin C for general immunity boost. He stresses though, that if you’re following a vegan diet, you’re probably already ahead of the rest in terms of health and wellness to begin with, but you could consider IV Therapy for a general pep up. “A vegan diet and lifestyle has been shown to be vastly superior in terms of maintaining health when compared to diets high in animal proteins. However, some forms of IV therapy, like the NAD+ component we add at our clinic, support healthy gut and brain function and provide significant assistance in increasing mental clarity and energy levels. I think everyone, vegan or otherwise can do with a brain and body boost every now and then?
Anything else we should consider?
“Yes,” states Petro. “There have been some well-publicised cases of clinics in Australia being closed down by health authorities on the basis that they are not following proper protocols or not using medical professionals in their treatments. We would always suggest confirming that a medical doctor (not a nurse) performs all aspects of your infusion, and ensuring your provider is reputable.” Check all qualifications before booking and ask to see testimonials from previous and current patients of the clinic.
Beauty and Lifestyle Director Shonagh Walker