There’s no doubt about it. The summer heat wave is here. As Memphians are grappling with the internal struggle between their love for the sun and disdain for the sweltering temperatures that come along with it, a common issue that can result from enjoying the great outdoors is dehydration. When the heat index is above 100, even just the shortest period outside can cause harm especially considering that the vast majority of adults drink less than half of their recommended fluid intake throughout the day.
IV hydration has become a popular “cure all” for various forms of illness. From replenishing sweat lost in avid sportsmen to quickly curing hangover symptoms from festive celebrations, you can find boutique concoctions touting all kinds of benefits. However, before you jump on the bandwagon, remember that IV hydration is a medical procedure that comes with its own set of risks. To read more about who will benefit from IV hydration and the science behind it, read our blog.
Boutique IVs can cost a pretty penny, so before you splurge on cool sounding ingredients let’s review some common offerings and break down the science or lack thereof behind some of these additives.
IV fluids alone may be all someone needs in some cases for fluid repletion. A bag of fluids can decrease heart rate and relieve the stress on the cardiovascular system from dehydration. On the flip side, too much fluid can place another type of strain on the heart and kidneys, and you should always be evaluated by a qualified health professional before receiving fluids. Importantly, fluids such as Lactated Ringer’s or normal saline are most compatible with a person’s own blood osmolality, and therefore are the safest to use for volume repletion. You should always ask what fluid base you are to receive.
Infusing specific vitamins such as B, C, or zinc is common, especially for immunity reasons. No head-to-head trials exist comparing IV fluids alone to fluids containing the vitamin packed punch, but there are many studies showing the immune effects of these vitamins. Especially if deficient, or if you have problems with gut absorption from either acute or chronic illness, delivering these vitamins intravenously may help you feel better.
B12 is known for boosting energy. However, B12 has several other beneficial roles including promotion of healthy brain function and central nervous system support. It is important that B12 is included as an active form of B12, rather than an inactive form like cyanocobalamin. Many people are unable to process and utilize inactive B12. You may not have enough active B12 if you experience fatigue, poor balance, or trouble with memory. Deficiency of this vitamin is common in vegetarian and vegan diets, but also in people with certain genetic markers.
Glutathione is the body’s most powerful antioxidant. Integrative science publications have explored its role in detoxification and protection from oxidative stress and inflammatory processes. Molecularly, glutathione is a tripeptide, or a molecule made up of three amino acids: glycine, cysteine, and glutamic acid. Amino acids are responsible for building muscle and transporting nutrients through the body, which is why glutathione is known for its ability to promote muscle recovery and decrease lactic acid build up by eliminating harmful free oxygen radicals. When you are sick or when you exert peak athletic performance, the body tends to use up much of your natural stores of glutathione, and the rationale for adding it to IV fluids is to replenish, restore, and to recover. Unproven in science though is the myth that this reduction of oxidative stress is what is touted to give your skin a “glutathione glow”.
One of the first IV hydration strategies to become popular has claimed effectiveness for a wide range of clinical conditions including acute migraines, Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia to name a few. Data is unfortunately limited, but anecdotal evidence is prevalent.
Especially if you are nauseated and have a raging headache, medications such as ondansetron (anti-nausea) or Toradol (anti-inflammatory) can be the secret sauce to help you bounce back. No evidence needed for this one, just try it for yourself!
Experience Personalized IV Hydration at ZüpMed
We pride ourselves on our personalized approach to every aspect of your care, including IV hydration. You may see others advertise premade IV mixes marketed for “athletes” or “hangovers”, but we believe that people cannot be so easily categorized. Instead, our providers prefer to tailor-make your IV bag right before it’s given, and after they have been able to assess what should be added to ensure safe and effective benefit every time. If you want to experience it for yourself, or have questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call, 901-701-7010.