Remember when oxygen bars were all the rage about 10 years ago? People lined up at pop-up shops in hotels, strip malls and salons to get an intense dose of the stuff we need to live.
The idea fizzled as quickly as it started, but it seems like another version of the trend is popping up all over the country in the form of intense doses of vitamins administered through IV drips.
Ryan Phillippe and his girlfriend, Paulina Slagter, were recently spotted getting theirs at a Miami hotel, but clinics are popping up all over the country. One Arizona clinic offers seven different types of IV nutrient therapy, all overseen by Dr. Theresa Ramsey, N.M.D.
Dr. Ramsey claims on her website that IV therapy can help alleviate everything from allergies to chronic fatigue and depression, as well as help surgical recovery and reduce heavy metal toxicity in the body.
However, other medical professionals aren't so convinced that getting nutrients via intravenous drips is a safe alternative to a good diet and over-the-counter vitamin supplements.
"There is absolutely no need for anyone to receive IV nutrients who doesn't have a malabsorption syndrome and is able to eat," California-based David Belk, M.D., tells SheKnows. "It's an incredible waste of money."
It might also be dangerous, depending on who administers the therapy.
"IV lines can get infected, and who's doing this?" he asks, adding that you don't necessarily know that you'll get the nutrients advertised. "Is this being done by actual health care professionals? Are the IVs being placed by licensed nurses, doctors or PAs? Who supplies these nutrients?"
"This doesn't just sound like a waste of money, I'm having trouble believing it's actually legal in the U.S.," he adds.
Getting such an intense dose of vitamins might even be detrimental to your overall health.
"High doses of isolated nutrients can actually cause more problems than they prevent," says doctor and author Shawn Talbott, M.D. "Recent examples are beta-carotene in smokers leading to more lung cancer, and vitamin C in cancer patients — which protects cancer cells more effectively than it does healthy cells."
Instead, focus on getting your vitamins and minerals directly from your diet.
"Your best approach is to eat 10-12 servings of brightly colored fruits and veggies throughout the day to activate your body's own stress fighting factory," adds Dr. Talbott.
"Great antioxidant fuel includes red bell peppers, carrots, apples, broccoli, blueberry, tea, coffee, cabbage and wasabi. These foods activate our body's own antioxidant pathways."