Is IV therapy a good way to get your vitamins?

Do you get better nutrition if vitamins and nutrients are injected directly into your bloodstream, or by eating a healthy diet?

Dahlia Gomez, a registered dietician with University Health System, recently weighed in on that during a television news report about IV therapy. It’s a popular trend for combating hangovers or fatigue by injecting supplements through a needle directly into a vein.

University Health System’s Shelley Kofler talked further with Gomez about the nutrition implications on Facebook Live. Here are some excerpts:

Kofler: One of the things (IV Therapy) promoters will tell you is that if you put (nutrients) directly into your bloodstream they get absorbed more quickly and it’s better for you. What do you think?

Gomez: Nothing is as good as actually eating through your mouth. (Food) goes through your digestive system. There’s bacteria that live in your intestine that need the fiber. You need to chew to keep salivating and the mucosal membranes of your mouth moist. You need to go to the bathroom every day or you increase the risk for colon cancer. IV nutrition therapy would be a supplement. It’s beneficial for patients in the hospital if they’re ill, but if you’re not deficient for anything you really don’t need to be doing it.

Kofler: One of the big promotions we hear about a lot is- you went out on the town last night, you have a hangover. Get the vitamins quickly and you’re going to recover fast. Does that make sense to a nutritionist?

Gomez: As a dietician what I would recommend is plenty of water after you have gone out on the town and that you eat something you can tolerate so you can get actual nutrition in your body to get rid of the waste you’ve been taking in.

Kofler: Vitamin B-complex, B-12, if those are supplements that people want (through IV therapy), are most of us deficient in those?

Gomez: There may be certain medications that may make you deficient in B-12. If you’re eating meat, your nuts and seeds, your beans, there’s B-12 in those items already.

Kofler: What would you tell the public in terms of having more energy, how to approach your diet and lifestyle?

Gomez: Say you are sleeping a few hours a night. You already have low energy. It’s not that a B-12 injection is going to give you a boost and be like a miracle cure. You have to evaluate your diet. If you are eating fast good, refined and processed carbohydrates, those shoot up your blood sugar and your blood sugar is going to come right down to have low energy.

Kofler: Other stimulants can do that too.

Gomez: Coffee mixed with sugar. People think it gives you energy. It’s a stimulant, but doesn’t give you actual energy. Energy only comes from food.

To learn more about how to get needed vitamins take this quiz, and listen to our complete discussion with Dahlia Gomez.