Vitamins and minerals are essential for the body to repair itself. They contribute to production of the hormones our body needs to cope with the stresses of daily life. Working hard in the gym, being always on the go, and in an environment where there are lots of external stressors, like commuting into London, can make the body use up its resources faster than we can take them in with food alone. This is where IV drips come in.
IV drips were initially promoted by Dr John Myers back in the 70s. The Myers Cocktail is probably one of the most well-known IV drips, made popular more recently by celebs like Brad Pitt and Kendall Jenner.
What’s in a Myers Cocktail?
A blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants:
- Vitamin C: Helps maintain a healthy immune system, skin, blood vessels, bones and helps with wound healing.
- Vitamin B complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12): Supports the nervous system, helps the body make red blood cells, and helps maintain healthy skin, hair and nails.
- Magnesium: Essential for cardiovascular function, and cellular health.
Although the Myers Cocktail was initially developed by Dr Myers, the ingredients are not standardised and different clinics may offer slightly different formulations.
IV therapy vs. oral supplements. Can’t we just take more oral vitamins?
Yes, you can. However, when vitamins and nutrients consumed orally reach our gut, they undergo a process that breaks them down so they can be used by the body. During this process, a large proportion of the nutrients can be lost.
The bioavailability of micronutrients varies greatly. That means that when micronutrients are consumed via food, anywhere between 10 and 90% will be absorbed, depending on the micronutrient. So, although we may consume 100g of carrot which has 6mg of vitamin C, the body may only be absorbing around 1.8mg of that.
It is important to note that there are also a range of factors that can impact how well the gut absorbs nutrients (issues with absorption is referred to as ‘malabsorption’). This includes inflammation (caused by sugar, among many other things), conditions like Coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, certain medications – the list is long.
For those with high stress, busy lifestyles, and those who work hard in the gym, they may be using up their nutrients before they can replace them. That’s where IV nutrient therapy comes in. Nutrients are delivered intravenously directly into the blood so they bypass the gut completely to be used directly by the cells and mitochondria (the energy centre of our cells). This means nutrients delivered via this method have much higher bioavailability (by which we mean almost all of the ‘goodness’ is able to be used by the body).
Who needs a Myers Cocktail?
With today’s busy lifestyles and highly processed diets, the majority of people could benefit from increasing their vitamin and nutrient intake. IV drips can be seen as a proactive approach to maintaining good health when used as part of a wider preventative health regime.
The Myers cocktail can be beneficial for:
- People who feel run down and are feeling tired all the time
- Those who have busy and/or high stress lifestyles
- People with chronic illnesses that affect their gut absorption (for example: Chron’s, IBD, Coeliac, ulcerative colitis)
What does a Myers Cocktail help with?
The Myers cocktail has been marketed as a hangover cure, an energy booster and a fix-all. But what it really does is help hydrate and replenish vitamins in the body that are depleted.
If the body has all the vitamins and nutrients it needs, all its systems (including the immune system) can function better. As a result, many patients feel an instant energy boost after their Myers cocktail and report feeling less fatigued.
How quickly does Myers Cocktail work?
Some people notice a difference immediately after their Myers Cocktail whilst others notice a difference after a few days or weeks. Some people don’t notice any difference to how they feel (even if you don’t physically feel any different, it’s still working hard inside the body). The results of any drip vary widely between individuals. Some people have also reported feeling worse after, which is thought to be a sign that the body is getting rid of toxins.
How long does an IV Myers cocktail last?
A Myers cocktail treatment itself will last around 40 minutes. This is the time it takes for an IV bag to completely empty. The effects are said to last for around 3 months, but again, this varies depending on your lifestyle choices and how quickly the body uses up its nutrients.
To maintain the benefits for the body, clinics often suggest having regular top-ups every few months, but it is important to use a specialist IV clinic where they will advise you about this based on your individual needs.
What are the negative side effects of a Myers Cocktail?
Any medical treatment comes with risk of side effects (just read the leaflet inside your paracetamol packet!). Myers cocktail is usually considered a very safe treatment and adverse reactions are very rare. However, there is a very small risk of infection at the IV site (similar to having a vaccination or injection). Other minor temporary side effects include lightheadedness, muscle cramps, and low blood pressure.
More serious side effects can include allergic reactions. Any form of IV therapy can potentially interact with medications you’re taking and for this reason, it is really important to use an experienced doctor-led clinic. Experienced medical practitioners are better equipped to handle any adverse situations or reactions for safety and peace of mind.
Choosing to have IV therapy
Ultimately, the UK Government recommends eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day to get the nutrients your body needs. However, a study by University College London suggested that 7-8 portions would have greater benefit. Though this is a great starting point, as explained above, it may not always be possible, and external factors can also come into play.
The decision to have a Myers Cocktail (or any IV vitamin therapy) is completely your own. If you have any concerns about your vitamin intake, speaking to a trusted medical professional can help you make a decision that is right for you.