HEALTH

Kimmy K Had A Vitamin Infusion Before The Met Gala. But Are They Safe?

We explore if vitamins in the veins are effective or a gimmick.

26/05/2016 1:58 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST
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If needles make you queasy you might not be the best candidate.

Oh, celebrities. Either they have too much time or too much money on their hands (or a combination of both), but they're always the first to jump on the latest fitness or beauty craze in the quest for better looks.

Kimmy K made the 'vampire facial' famous and now it's come out that she reportedly had a vitamin infusion to feel and look her best prior to the Met Gala.

While Kardashian-West isn't the first to boost her vitamin levels through an IV, it's a growing trend that's trickling down to us regular folk, like all these 'crazes' eventually do.

But is a vitamin IV effective, and is it safe? And what's wrong with popping a good old multi-vitamin pill like most of us do?

"Intravenous therapy is the infusion of liquid directly into a vein," Doctor and surgeon William Mooney told The Huffington Post Australia. Mooney strongly believes in the power of IV therapy for overall wellness and provides treatments to eligible patients.

It's not in its infancy but it is something we are still learning about. The reason it works is because it provides direct access and a measured dose.

"IV therapy was used 'off label', and doctors and nurses used to talk about it when I was a junior doctor at medical school. They would treat themselves to cure a hangover and whatnot, and from there the 'IV hangover cure' got grafted about four or five years ago in London, New York and L.A. So what began as a hangover cure had suddenly morphed into a much more viable treatment technique. What began as a 'pick me up' after a big night has actually turned into something that is really useful for a whole gamut of issues," Dr Mooney said.

Now emerging in the mainstream, people need to understand what it does and how it works before deciding if IV therapy is for them.

"It's not in its infancy but it is something we are still learning about. The reason it works is because it provides direct access and a measured dose."

"With IV therapy you skip something called 'first pass effect', which occurs when you eat something orally. Whatever is ingested has to go through customs, and customs is the liver. Everything you eat meets the liver and the liver takes a lot of the veracity and efficaciousness out of oral vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E and K in particular are, for the most part, macerated by the time they get through the liver."

"So using an IV means you can give an accurate dose that works on the target cells, which are the cells that need it, and then you can customise exactly what is administered according to what the patient needs," Dr Mooney said.

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Treatment takes around 30 minutes.

Speaking of a patient's needs, it's important to know how that is determined, and to be honest with the doctor at the time.

"I learnt in medical school that 90 percent of diagnoses are taken from patient history. So that's from what patients say, and in reality, it's also from taking at look at the patient."

"The major reason we take an in-depth patient history is to exclude things that would cause a problem if they were treated. They include cardiac failure, respiratory illness, chronic airways disease, chronic renal disease, kidney insufficiencies, long term alcoholism, or intercurrent medication. All of those things would need to be determined before giving a patient IV therapy," Dr Mooney said.

If you're all clear from the above, you might be a candidate for IV therapy.

"The actual process starts with a fluid substrate, so 500mls to a litre of fluid is used, and that is dictated according to what the patient has done. For example, if they are dehydrated, normal saline would be used. If they have overindulged then 'dextrose' would be used, which replaces the sugar because insulin changes when you have too much alcohol. If they have been for a big run then something called 'four percent and a fifth' would be used, which is a combination of both re-hydration and sugar. Trace elements like calcium and zinc can be added for patients recovering from surgery or trauma. Magnesium is great for patients who have undergone strenuous exercise. Vitamins B and C are great for treating jet-lag, and so on."

Dr Mooney stresses that this is not a quick fix or reason to consume too much alcohol and should never be marketed irresponsibly. Moreover, you're already of exceptional health and well being, IV therapy might not be for you.

"What happens if you take Panadol but you don't have a headache? Nothing. So if you are a very fit and healthy person who wants to undertake IV therapy it won't do any harm, but they won't feel hugely different than normal. "

"Always go to a credible doctor and check their qualifications, and avoid gimmicky 'hangover clinics' and those that come to your home -- you need to be professionally supervised in a medical environment," Dr Mooney said.

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