felicitycurtain

An informed view of all things food

Vitamin Infusions – magic bullet or waste of money?

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Forget getting enough sleep and eating well, the latest celebrity trend involves being hooked up to an intravenous drip that delivers a cocktail of nutrients straight into the bloodstream.

The gang from Geordie Shore is the latest bunch to share their experiences with IV vitamins, but Rihanna is a fan from way back, posting photos of her ‘party girl drip’ a number of times since 2012.
It’s a nice idea, pumping yourself with vitamins to atone for a less than perfect lifestyle, but is there any merit to the hyped up process?

According to Australian Medical Association President, Dr Stephen Parnis, probably not. He dubbed IV vitamins a “monumental waste of time and money”. And at around $250 a session, it’s certainly an expensive way to get your vitamins.

Parnis points out that even conventional dietary supplements are unnecessary for the general public, with no additional benefit to be found from downing mega doses.

Dr Richard Moore, from a holistic health centre in Sydney, has a different view. He, along with Dr Oz, believes the therapy can be useful as a complementary treatment for chronic illnesses or short term infections, but recognises it will not replace a healthy lifestyle. Of course, it’s worth mentioning that a recent study published in the British Medical Journal found that 51% of Oz’s recommendations held little to no scientific backing.

Moore’s clinic offers a wide range of IV vitamins, including vitamin C, B vitamins, and minerals like Zinc, Magnesium and Iron. A 40 minute session of vitamin C alone will reportedly set you back $215 a session, with each additional nutrient an extra $60. Several doses per week are recommended for “maximum results”. The therapy is not covered by Medicare or private health funds.

Rihanna's 'Party girl drip'

Rihanna’s ‘Party girl drip’

The interesting part, though, is that most of these nutrients are ‘water soluble’, which means that the body has a limited ability to store them. Any additional water soluble vitamins in the body are excreted by the kidneys in urine, which is why we need to replenish our stores with food each day. When you consider that one orange, half a cup of strawberries, or half a cup of red capsicum all contain far in excess of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, it really isn’t difficult to meet your needs.

Parnis argues that any improvements in health or energy levels are probably more likely due to a placebo effect. “Willing it to work is understandable when you’ve forked out $250 per treatment.”
Of course, somebody with medically diagnosed deficiencies, such as iron or vitamin B12, may legitimately require regular infusions. But the general, well-nourished population is unlikely to benefit from a vitamin infusion.

Results from the most recent National Nutrition Survey revealed that just over half of Australians meet the recommended daily intake of fruit, and a shocking 6% of us meet the target for vegetables. With findings like these, the average person would be far better off spending their money on a few weeks’ worth of fruit and vegies, rather than a questionable multivitamin shot.

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1 reply

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