You’ve almost definitely seen them on Instagram, particularly if you’re a follower of Millie Mackintosh or Rihanna. Vitamin drips are the go-to pick me up for celebrities who have…er…been hitting it a bit too hard.
I’m not a massive fan of needles so while I was desperate to try a vitamin drip I was worried about my reaction to the needle. However, I get sick all.the.time and I’m pretty much always exhausted and, in pursuit of my best self, I was prepared to suck it up.
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I arrived at Reviv’s clinic in the Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge nervous and sweating. Glam. The team were all so nice, I knew they thought I was a wimp but they didn’t let on. The medical practitioner who inserted the cannula into my arm was actually an ex-paramedic which put me at ease, I can also testify to his vein-finding skills. It was quick, painless and left zero bruising or marking.
Once the cannula was in, a see-through plastic tube unraveled from my arm like a snake, all the way up to a clear plastic bottle atop a surgical-looking metal stand. The bottle was full of pink liquid which had been prepared specially for me by the medical practitioner.
I’ll lever with you, reader, I had my reservations. Is it not a bit extra to pay to have nutrients pumped into your bloodstream via methods normally only used on people who are actually very unwell? Was this peak vanity? Peak busy? Was I a massive twat, epitomising the sort of person I normally decry who describes themselves as ‘time-poor’?
Do vitamin drips hurt?
As I lay back on the leather chair I started to feel really relaxed. It wasn’t at all painful to have the treatment and, in fact, the only mild discomfort was that my right arm, into which the cannula was inserted, felt a bit cold. I’d say this is a 2/10 on the pain scale, with a bikini wax coming in around 7 for scale. It’s probably worth noting at this point that Reviv doesn't refer to their treatments as ‘vitamin drips’ they're called ‘nutrient infusions’.
What is in a vitamin drip?
Reviv has an entire menu of different nutrient combinations. I had what Reviv call the ‘Megaboost’ drip. They describe this as being hydrating and containing ‘an extra high dose of Vitamin C coupled with minerals, antioxidants, and electrolytes aimed to boost the immune system, detoxify the body and increase strength and energy’. It is, they say, an ‘enhanced Myer’s Cocktail’ which was designed by a doctor called John Myers in the 1960s. These generally contain Vitamin C, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Magnesium Chloride, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid.
Does a vitamin drip stop you getting sick?
I told the medical practitioner when I arrived at the clinic that I was feeling run down, as though I might be about to get ill. He prescribed the Megaboost nutrient pack because it can ‘boost the immune system to help prevent cold and flu-like symptoms’. Reader, it worked. I did not develop a cold and, that week, I had to get up before 5 am twice for work which would normally completely floor me but, I was fine…
Is a nutrient drip better than food?
No, obviously. Don’t even go there. That said, a nutrient infusion is probably more effective than taking supplements in pill form because they rely on being absorbed through your gut while a drip goes straight into your bloodstream.
Are vitamin drips bad for you?
No, but some doctors (like my GP) will tell you their ‘pointless’. The odds are you've heard conflicting things about these infusions, so let's break it down: are they good, bad or placebo? Slick marketing and celeb endorsements aside there is some evidence that high-dose IV nutrient drips could help people with genuine and serious health problems. In 2012, a study was published in the Journal of Translational Medicine which found that Vitamin C administered in this way can reduce inflammation in cancer patients. Now, let’s be clear, I’m 100% not suggesting vitamin drips are a cure-all or substitute for looking after yourself. What I am saying is, medically speaking, there is some evidence they can help people. Another study, conducted in 2009, found that administering Myers’ Cocktail to Fibromyalgia patients found that those who had the therapy seemed to experience improvements but the results were ultimately inconclusive.
Should I be worried about side effects of a vitamin drip?
I felt quite hungry afterwards…but that’s hardly unusual for me. Beyond that nothing. On the whole, these treatments are safe but they are not without risk. In 2013 a study, published in the peer-reviewed JAMA Internal Medicine Journal, found that high doses of Vitamin C taken in supplement form could cause kidney stones in men. Interestingly, the same team conducted an almost identical study to see if the same was true for women and found no link.
So…Should You Buy A Nutrient Drip?
Look, I won’t lie I felt pretty good. But that could have been a placebo effect, which is scientifically proven to be a thing. The truth is that you almost definitely don't need a vitamin drip; according to the most recent National Diet and Nutrition Survey while people do need more Vitamin D and Iron (especially women) in their diets, most people aren't deficient in other vitamins and minerals with the only demographic flagged as lacking overall being 11-18 year-olds who, as we know, don't always eat the healthiest food.
If you’ve got £199 to spare for a Megaboost then go for it. I'd probably do it again. If not, and you’re otherwise a generally healthy person, probably best to eat your fruit and veg and let your body do what it’s good at…keeping you alive. After all, it got you this far.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.