Science Alert | There’s Something You Really Need to Know About IV Vitamin ‘Shots’

 

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Want to boost your immune system, reduce your physical signs of ageing, or cleanse your blood to get rid of toxins? Intravenous (IV) vitamin therapy, or vitamin drips, promise to help.

Some claim they can even benefit serious conditions like cancer, Parkinson’s disease, the eye condition macular degeneration, the pain of fibromyalgia and depression.

Celebrities have promoted them on social media. The demand has led to alternative therapy lounges popping up around the world, including in Australia. Patients can kick back in comfy leather chairs while they’re hooked up to IVs in the infusion lounge, watch Netflix and have some tea.

But do they work? Or are you just paying for really expensive urine? Let’s look at what the science says.

What is IV vitamin therapy?

IV vitamin therapy administers vitamins and minerals directly into the bloodstream via a needle that goes directly into your vein. Fans of the therapy believe this enables you to obtain more nutrients as you avoid the digestion process.

Providers of these injections say they customise the formula of vitamins and minerals depending on the perceived needs of the patient.

Right now for example, many Australian lounges are offering drip “cocktails” containing immune boosting vitamins like vitamin C and zinc to help protect against the flu. Other popular therapy sessions come under names like “Energy Cocktail” and “Glow”. One vitamin IV therapy session can take 30-90 minutes and will cost between AU$80 to $1,000 (US$55 to $700).

Does IV vitamin therapy work?

IV therapy itself is not new and has been used in the medical profession for decades. In hospitals, it is commonly used to hydrate patients and administer essential nutrients if there is an issue with gut absorption, or long-term difficulty eating or drinking due to surgery.

Single nutrient deficiencies like vitamin B12 or iron are also often treated in hospital with infusions under medical supervision.

But the “cocktails” IV vitamin therapy clinics create and administer are not supported by scientific evidence. There have been no clinical studies to show vitamin injections of this type offer any health benefit or are necessary for good health.

In fact, there are very few studies that have looked at their effectiveness at all.

There is one review on the use of the “Myers’ cocktail” (a solution of magnesium, calcium, vitamin C and a number of B vitamins). But it just contains a collection of anecdotal evidence from singular case studies.

Another trial looked into the effectiveness of IV vitamin therapy in reducing symptoms of 34 people with the the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia. It found no significant differences between those who received the “Myers’ cocktail” once a week for eight weeks and those who did not.

In fact, the authors noted a strong placebo effect. In other words, many people said their symptoms improved when they were only injected with a “dummy” cocktail.

Another study that examined IV vitamin use in fibromyalgia patients was missing a placebo group, involved just seven patients and showed only short-term improvement in symptoms. The only other published study examined IV vitamin therapy use for asthma. But that study was of even poorer quality.

What are the risks of IV vitamin therapy?

Even when it comes to vitamins and minerals, you can have too much of a good thing. For example, if you take in more of the fat soluble vitamin A than you need, your body stores it, risking damage to major organs, like the liver.

IV vitamin therapy “cocktails” also often contain significant levels of the water soluble vitamins C and B. These are processed by the kidneys and excreted into urine when the body cannot store any more. This makes for some very expensive urine.

There is also the risk of infection with IV vitamin therapy. Any time you have an IV line inserted, it creates a direct path into your bloodstream and bypasses your skin’s defence mechanism against bacteria.

People with certain conditions like kidney disease or renal failure shouldn’t have IV vitamin therapy because they cannot quickly remove certain minerals from the body. For these people, adding too much potassium could lead to a heart attack.

People with heart, kidney or blood pressure conditions should also avoid IV vitamin therapy as there is risk of fluid overload without consistent monitoring. The consequences of fluid overload in these patients can include heart failure, delayed wound healing, and impaired bowel function.

What’s the bottom line?

For most of us, the quantities of vitamins and minerals needed for good health can be obtained by eating a healthy diet with a wide range of foods and food groups. Obtaining vitamins and minerals from your diet is much easier, cheaper, and safer.

Unless you have a medically diagnosed reason for getting a vitamin infusion and it was prescribed by your doctor, you are always better off obtaining vitamins and minerals through food. The ConversationTo read out more, please visit: https://bit.ly/2NKIiTo

Emily Burch, Accredited Dietitian/Nutritionist & PhD Candidate, Griffith University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Vegetables Which Mean ‘All Nutrition’

It is a well-known fact that vegetables have loads to offer in terms of health and nutrition. But it appears to be a much generalized statement giving every veg equal score. That certainly is not the case, for we have a vast variety of vegetables in all shapes, colors and sizes. So let’s narrow it down to five vegetables that belong to the same family, i.e. Cruciferae; these high-in-nutrition vegetables are cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale.

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These are ranked as the Fantastic Five for the following nutritional benefits they have for us:

  1. Vitamins abundance – cruciferous vegetables are packed with vitamins A, C, K and B group. Vitamin A, as we know is good for eyesight, skin and other organs. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and helps fight off bacterial attacks. Vitamin K is essential for clotting of blood. Vitamin B group has its own benefits, especially for women’s health.
  2. Fibrous veg – All these are rich in fiber, and fiber is useful in clearing the gut and keeping the bowel movement healthy.
  3. Nutrients preventing cancer – there are certain nutrients that can only be obtained through consuming vegetables. These nutrients essentially help in keeping various cancers at bay. Our favorite fives are oozing with these nutrients.
  4. Source of calcium – cruciferous vegetables also have reserve of calcium. Added advantage is that it is present with vitamin K which is crucial in absorbing calcium. As we are moving away from dairy products we can still get calcified through these veggies.

Can Mangoes Make Me Healthy?

King of fruits has begun to ripe and we are all feeling water in our mouths. Summer marks the arrival of mangoes which we all are dearly awaiting. Mangoes are outrageously popular for their taste but few realize that they are actually capable of giving us vital nutrition.

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Oozing with love for mangoes, I fancy giving you some essential benefits the king of fruits offers. Have a read.

  1. Cancer deterrent – A number of antioxidant compounds abundant in mangoes help keep cancer threat far away. Quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid, methylgallat and several enzymes, present in mangoes, do the magic and keep us fit.
  2. Keeper of fresh skin – Contradictory to popular belief, the fruit keeps the skin fresh and glowing. It cleans pores and fights off pimples.
  3. Good for eyes – Mangoes have a good amount of Vitamin A which is the best feed for the eyes. It prevents eye diseases, especially night-blindness.
  4. Destroys cholesterol – Mango has high fibre, pectin and Vitamin C which deals well against the bad cholesterol.
  5. Increases alkalis in body – Mangoes also make us alkaline which is very helpful to maintain healthy nature of the body.

There is a lot more that the king of fruits does for us. But if you still want to enjoy it for taste, go on… the mangoes are all yours!!!

Brand New Issue: Inflammation & Allergy-Drug Targets

  • Inflammaging in Skin and Other Tissues – The Roles of Complement System and Macrophage
Author(s): Yong Zhuang and John Lyga
Pages 153-161 (9)
Abstract:

Inflammaging refers to a continuous, low-grade inflammation associated with aging. Such chronic inflammatory response could build up with time and gradually causes tissue damage. It is considered as one of the driving forces for many age-related diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and skin aging. There is mounting evidence that indicates aging is driven by the pro-inflammatory cytokines and substances produced by our body’s innate immune system. The macrophage and complement system, two important components of innate immune system, have attracted more and more attention since they appear to be involved in the pathogenesis of several inflammaging-associated diseases, such as AMD and atherosclerosis. This paper will review what we know about these two innate immune systems in the pathogenesis of AMD, atherosclerosis and skin aging.
Affiliation:

Avon Global R&D, 1 Avon Place, Suffern, NY, 10901, USA.
  • Acne Vulgaris: an Inflammatory Disease Even Before the Onset of Clinical Lesions
Author(s): Marco Alexandre Rocha, Caroline Sousa Costa and Edileia Bagatin
Pages 162-167 (6)
Abstract:

Acne is a chronic self-limited disease, which affects mostly teenagers, without gender difference. In recent years, the incidence has increased in female adults. The factors involved in this epidemiological observation are still under discussion in the literature.Clinically, acne is characterized by different types of lesions. The disease affects the regions rich in sebaceous glands (face, chest and upper back). The clinical lesions are: open and closed comedones, erythematous papules, pustules, nodules and different types of scars. Taking into consideration the general concept of inflammation (redness, pain, heat and loss of function), acne is traditionally classified as non-inflammatory (open and closed comedones) and inflammatory (other primary lesions). With the knowledge advancement this concept seems to be wrong and therefore acne would be an inflammatory disease even before the onset of their clinical lesions.

Affiliation:

Escola Paulista de Medicina — Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo (EPM-Unifesp), Brazil.
  • Effect of Botanicals on Inflammation and Skin Aging: Analyzing the Evidence
Author(s): Amanda Suggs, Patricia Oyetakin-White and Elma D. Baron
Pages 168-176 (9)
Abstract:

The skin and its immune system manifest a decline in physiologic function as it undergoes aging. External insults such as ultraviolet light exposure cause inflammation, which may enhance skin aging even further leading to cancer and signs of photoaging. There is a potential role for botanicals as an adjunct modality in the prevention of skin aging. Numerous over-the-counter anti-aging products are commercially available, many of which boast unverified claims to reduce stress, inflammation and correct signs of aging. In this article we reviewed the scientific literature for data on frequently published “anti-inflammaging” additives such as vitamins A, C and E and green tea. We also analyzed the evidence available on five promising ingredients commonly found in anti-aging products, namely, argan oil, rosemary, pomegranate, Coenzyme Q10, and Coffeeberry. Though there may be an increasing amount of scientific data on a few of these novel botanicals, in general, there remains a lack of clinical data to support the anti-aging claims made.
Affiliation:

Department of Dermatology, University Hospitals Case Medical Center 11100 Euclid Avenue, Lakeside 3500, Mailstop 5028, Cleveland, OH 44106-5028, USA.
  • Brain-Skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation and Skin Aging
Author(s): Ying Chen and John Lyga
Pages 177-190 (14)
Abstract:

The intricate relationship between stress and skin conditions has been documented since ancient times. Recent clinical observations also link psychological stress to the onset or aggravation of multiple skin diseases. However, the exact underlying mechanisms have only been studied and partially revealed in the past 20 years or so. In this review, the authors will discuss the recent discoveries in the field of “Brain-Skin Connection”, summarizing findings from the overlapping fields of psychology, endocrinology, skin neurobiology, skin inflammation, immunology, and pharmacology.
Affiliation:

Global R&D, Avon Products. 1 Avon Place, Suffern, NY 10901, USA.
  • Biological Treatments for SAPHO Syndrome: An Update
Author(s): Davide Firinu, Giuseppe Murgia, Maria Maddalena Lorrai, Maria Pina Barca, Maria Monica Peralta, Paolo Emilio Manconi and Stefano R. del Giacco
Pages 199-205 (7)
Abstract:

Synovitis, Acne, Pustulosis, Hyperostosis and Osteitis (SAPHO) syndrome is a rare and often unrecognized disease with prominent inflammatory cutaneous and articular manifestations. Since the identification of the syndrome many immunosuppressive drugs have been used for the management of SAPHO, with variable results. The use of anti- TNF-α agents as a therapeutic option for SAPHO cases unresponsive or refractory to conventional drugs, demonstrated their efficacy for bone, skin and joints manifestations. TNF-α is a pro-inflammatory cytokine and pivotal regulator of other cytokines, including IL-1 β , IL-6 and IL-8, involved in inflammation, acute-phase response induction and chemotaxis. IL-1 inhibition strategies with Anakinra have proven their efficacy as first and second line treatment. We herein review the literature concerning the use of biological drugs in patients with SAPHO syndrome. In addition, we describe for the first time the use of Ustekinumab, an antibody against the p40 subunit of IL-12 and IL-23, after failure of multiple drugs including anti-TNF-α and Anakinra. This anti-IL12/IL23 agent could be a promising therapeutic option, also considering the opportunity to interfere with the IL23/TH17 pathway, which we recently found disturbed. Furthermore, a rationale emerges for the use of the new anti-IL-1 antagonists or the IL-17 blockade, in particular for the most difficult-to-treat SAPHO cases.
Affiliation:

Department of Medical Sciences “M. Aresu”, Unit of Internal Medicine, Allergy and Clinical Immunology, University of Cagliari, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria, SS 554-Bivio Sestu, I-09042 Monserrato (CA), Italy.
  • Cardiac and Muscular Involvement in Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies: Noninvasive Diagnostic Assessment and the Role of Cardiovascular and Skeletal Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Author(s): Sophie Mavrogeni, Petros P. Sfikakis, Theodoros Dimitroulas, Genovefa Kolovou and George D. Kitas
Pages 206-216 (11)
Abstract:

Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIMs) are rare autoimmune diseases and include dermatomyositis, polymyositis, necrotizing myopathy and inclusion body myositis; they are characterized by inflammation of skeletal muscle and other internal organs and may potentially lead to irreversible damage and death. Only a small percentage of IIM has clinically overt cardiac disease; however, heart involvement is one of the leading causes of death and therefore, early detection remains a challenge.Biochemical markers and non-invasive methods such as the electrocardiogram and echocardiography have a role in diagnosis, but lack sensitivity in identifying patients with early, sublinical cardiac abnormalities. Endomyocardial and skeletal muscle biopsies are very useful, but invasive techniques and cannot be used for routine follow-up. Cardiac and skeletal magnetic resonance imaging, due to their capability to perform tissue characterization, has emerged as novel techniques for the early detection and follow-up of myocardial and skeletal muscle tissue changes (oedema, inflammation, fibrosis) in IIM. However, the clinical implications of using these approaches and their cost /benefit ratio require further evaluation.

Affiliation:

Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, 50 Esperou Street, 175-61 P.Faliro, Athens, Greece.
For details, please visit: http://www.eurekaselect.com/122799/issue/3
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