There has been a big trend of promoting vitamin IVs or shots as a panacea and the best way to improve your vitamin levels quickly. You can find them everywhere, from health food stores to spas and mobile clinics. I’m not talking about standard b-12 injections from your doctor or using vitamin C infusions for sepsis in the hospital, but cocktails of various vitamins and compounds, like the menu below, for everyday use:
No one-time shot of vitamins and amino acids will make you extremely skinny; they must stop with the malarky.
They are touted as a cure-all for everything from boosting the immune system to providing an energy boost, making more collagen, weight loss, curing the flu, treating cancer, and so much more. It sounds fantastic, right? Are those claims accurate, though?
Normally, a person gets their nutrients from food. Food comes with various co-factors and other compounds, all neatly packaged together, that help the body utilize nutrients better. Infusions of synthetic vitamins lack all those crucial compounds and the synergy (holism) that comes with them. Humans have evolved to get their nutrition from food, which is the ideal way to become nourished.
The body does not store most vitamins, so they are needed daily to keep everything working well. For example, vitamin C has a short half-life and is rapidly cleared by the kidneys (even when given via IV). This is why eating vitamin C-rich foods every day is essential. Even better is to get some of those foods at different times of the day to help keep levels up. Because of its rapid clearance, a once in awhile vitamin C infusion or shot will not keep levels up for very long. All that happens is a short-term spike in blood levels until the kidneys can clear it. There will be no dramatic increase in collagen production or a boost of the immune system. Just expensive urine. We found several companies that sell vitamin C infusions that claimed the levels stayed high for 2-3 weeks. Yet, none of them provided any references to support this claim. Most studies show a clearance time of thirty minutes to six hours. After that, levels rapidly begin to return to normal. So, grabbing a quick vitamin C shot will not increase your vitamin C levels for long. Does that sound worth the money, time, or getting stuck with a needle? You can say the same thing for all the other vitamin infusions and shots these “wellness” companies offer, from alpha lipoic acid to most B vitamins. However, I don't want to bore you with pages and pages of dry science, so I'm not going to go through the pharmacokinetics of a bunch of vitamins and compounds. If you want that, send us an email, and we will be happy to send you that data.
It’s not just us saying that IV vitamins are not worth it. The American College of Clinical Pharmacy concluded that:
In addition, rapidly raising the blood levels of specific vitamins or electrolytes in people with health issues, such as kidney or heart disease, can cause significant problems. If you have health issues or take medications, please consult your doctor before getting them to avoid problems or drug interactions.
One of the biggest concerns with vitamin infusions and shots is that often, they are prepared under conditions that are less than ideal and with significant quality control and safety problems.
For example, the FDA inspected one of the largest and most popular compounders of vitamin infusions, Olympia Compounding Pharmacy. Here are some things they found:
From January 1, 2021, through February 16, 2022, fifty-nine lots of products were out of specification.
Many had significantly more or less of the ingredients than claimed.
Others failed to reconstitute in the time they were supposed to.
In addition, the company’s internal testing found bacterial contamination in many lots, and they still released the product for sale.
The FDA found significant issues with the company's internal testing, environmental, and safety SOPs, from violations to inadequate monitoring.
When they recieved a complaint about a product about a quality control problem with one of their products, they failed to implement procedures to prevent it from happening again.
This is one of the worst: “According to your Quality Manager, your firm lacks stability studies for erectile dysfunction, vitamin, vein care, IV therapy, and anti-aging sterile injectable drug products. Your firm did not conduct studies to demonstrate specifications including but not limited to potency, endotoxin, sterility, and container closure integrity remain suitable throughout each product's shelf life.”
It is essential, especially with injectable products, to know how long they are safe and will remain sterile.
Their internal study showed that their glutathione injection failed stability testing at the three-month mark, but they continued to manufacture and sell the product with a 3-4 month shelf life.
We highly encourage you to read the full report to understand how many issues there were and how bad it was, as we covered a small amount.
This company makes the IM (intramuscular) vitamin shots being given at a popular health food store near our company; yikes!
Is this the kind of company you want to get injections from? Unfortunately, most of the clinics offering vitamin infusions and injections will not tell you who is making the products they are using. This lack of transparency is another reason to avoid them. In addition, it is very rare for companies to provide a full and complete ingredient list with amounts for their injections. You should never take injections or supplements without knowing the entire ingredient list.
Check out some other things the FDA found when inspecting multiple vitamin infusion and shot suppliers and clinics:
"Personnel in street clothes with ungloved hands filling drug products intended to be sterile into syringes outside of an ISO-5 classified area. These drug products were scheduled for shipment to patients across the country.
Personnel performing sterile drug compounding within the ISO-5 classified area failed to sanitize or change gloves after contact with non-sterile items including a face mask and trash can.
Personnel in the ISO-5 classified area moved rapidly and blocked first pass (clean) air in the vicinity of open sterile units, increasing risk of product contamination.
High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters located in the ISO-5 classified area and cleanroom were discolored and/or damaged.
The ISO-5 classified cleanroom workbench where sterile drug compounding occurs was constructed of laminated wood which was peeling.
A heating vent located below the ISO-5 classified hood was visibly dirty and had no filtering device attached.
Hazardous drugs were handled without providing adequate containment, segregation, or cleaning of work surfaces and utensils to prevent cross-contamination.
Stock solutions intended to be sterile were exposed to lesser quality than ISO-5 classified air after the stopper had been punctured multiple times.
Use of expired active pharmaceutical ingredients to prepare drug products intended to be sterile."
“In February 2021, FDA was made aware of a 50-year-old female patient who was hospitalized and treated for suspected septic shock with multi-organ failure after receiving an IV-vitamin infusion in her home. The patient’s blood cultures grew Pseudomonas fluorescens, a gram-negative bacterium. The IV-vitamin infusion was compounded by Age Management Institute Santa Barbara.”
“FDA collaborated with multiple state regulators and conducted an inspection of the firm during which several deficiencies involving insanitary conditions were observed including, but not limited to:
Lack of a certified ISO-5 classified area for sterile compounding.
Contamination in compounding areas including peeling paint, stained work surfaces, visibly dirty equipment, and air vents with dust and grime.
Difficult to clean equipment and surfaces such as carpeting in the IV storage and mixing room.
Standing water in a refrigerated storage area used to store sterile vials.
Use of expired active pharmaceutical ingredients to prepare drug products intended to be sterile.”
These are just a few of the many quality control problems with vitamin injections and infusions; it would take many pages to detail all the examples found.
Many of these companies seem to think that quality control is just a phrase, not something that needs to be done.
Vitamin shots and IVs like these are really just a good way for companies to make lots of money on products with very high-profit margins. You don’t need them. Instead, use that money to buy yourself some nourishing whole foods. Your body will benefit more from a bag of oranges than an infusion of vitamin C for a fraction of the cost. Don’t fall for the marketing gimmicks.
If you have further questions about IV vitamins or shots, feel free to email us at email@example.com, and we would be happy to get you the information you need.