Intravenous vitamin injections are proving popular with celebrities. But does it really work, asks Marchelle Abrahams.
Pop star Rihanna swears by it. Idol producer Simon Cowell is said to get regular treatments and even our local celebs like Nomasonto “Mshoza” Maswanganyi have been known to dabble in it.
Businesswoman Farah Fortune, owner of African Star Communications, has been using vitamin IV drips for the past two years, and she has nothing but praise for the intravenous treatments.
A regular client of Reviv Johannesburg, which offers hydrating IV therapies, she goes for a monthly Mega-boost drip.
“It energises me and helps me to focus. I no longer take vitamins,” she says, when asked about which product she uses.
For someone who is constantly on the go and travelling, she adds that it's the perfect supplement for her hectic lifestyle.
Mega-boost is Reviv’s signature vitamin and nutrient IV therapy, containing an extra high dose of Vitamin C coupled with minerals, antioxidants and electrolytes. It is said to boost the immune system, detoxify the body and increase strength and energy.
The selling point for Fortune is that their IV drips and boosters don't contain any medication, except for the Recovery Infusion. But she does admit that she did have her reservations at first: “You know when you read something and you think ‘this is a really good idea,’ but I was a bit sceptical. The good thing is that they have medical doctors on site who are able to answer all your questions and put your mind at ease.”
Most people would probably scoff at the idea of having themselves hooked up to an IV drip willingly, but Fortune says she's felt remarkably different.
“I suffer from insomnia and am also anaemic. If I don't sleep and have the Mega-boost drip, it feels like I've slept for 12 hours. It makes such a difference for the first two weeks after having it administered. I will definitely recommend it to other people.” These treatments have been a craze in the US in recent years, with Las Vegas home to Reviv’s 24-hour IV clinic, specialising in hangover and hydration drips.
With clinics around the globe, the brand claims to be the leading wellness provider of signature IV nutrient therapies and booster shots. Their flagship SA location in Johannesburg seems to be doing exceptionally well, and they've just opened drip bars in Durban and Cape Town. What they have on offer doesn't come cheap. Starting at R250 for a Vitamin B12 shot to R3 000 for the Royal Flush IV.
REVIV has just opened drip bars in Durban and Cape Town. Picture: Supplied
So why use an IV drip to treat ailments such as dehydration, fatigue and jet-lag when you could just pop a pill?
Administered through an IV, Reviv say their treatments give you 100% of the benefits of all included ingredients used, whereas if something is taken orally, you may lose between 50 and 60% of contents through your digestive tract.
The trend hasn't come without its critics, with some claiming that there is no credible evidence suggesting that routine vitamin infusions offer any meaningful health benefits and that it's just a marketing gimmick.
A doctor we chatted to does hint at the placebo effect, but doesn't see any harm in it. “I have no problem with it and there has been research to show that it is helpful in some cases.” However, he does conclude that it should be taken with caution, adding that “it's not as universal as the popular press believes, as it helps some people only”.