Dehydrated, jet-lagged, stressed, hungover or just need a boost? People with time and cash to spare are increasingly turning to IV drips packed with the vitamins or minerals to sort themselves out.
Already popular in the West for over a decade, these quick-fix boosters have firmly landed in the UAE, becoming increasingly popular in the five years since they were approved by health authorities.
Most IV drips can be done in a 45-minute session, when a cocktail of vitamins and minerals is administered intravenously either in a one-off treatment or as part of a more involved routine.
At Euromed Clinic in Dubai, NAD IV drips are given once a week for four weeks, then reduced to every other week. NAD is a natural co-enzyme found in the body, but it also helps with detoxification in the brain and liver and increases energy, explains Dr Hoda Makkawi, anti-aging medicine specialist and a consultant for family medicine and integrative holistic medicine.
She’s seen it be helpful for people kicking alcohol and drug addictions, and says while in the short term the treatments can help address fatigue, body pain, brain fog and more, over time the drips can help prevent shortening and further damage of telomeres at the ends of DNA, damage that can lead to disease.
She calls NAD IV drips some of the most beneficial treatments you can have, increasing energy significantly.
“You cannot stop aging, but you can prolong the process of healthy aging and reversing signs from outside and inside,” Dr Hoda Makkawi explains. “So my experience with my patients now, they have glowing skin. They have more energy, they’re sleeping better. And very minimal if none side effects.”
Nibras AlDoori, specialist in family medicine at Medcare Hospital, Al Barsha South, explained that IV drips work because they allow the body to absorb 100 percent of the vitamins as opposed to 10 percent when taken orally or via a shot.
Giving the vitamins and minerals intravenously also works well because they can bypass the gut, where they can get lost; the key benefit is hydration, explains Dr Ruhil Badiani, family physician at the Cornerstone Clinic.
“When having an infusion, you do get the vitamins and minerals instantly as it does not need to be absorbed through digestion, so many people do feel better quickly,” she explains. “Whether they treat stress, fatigue, jet lag, etcetera, as claimed, is differs from person-to-person. The vitamins and minerals are usually administered with fluids and most people, especially if jet lagged, will feel better because of the hydration they are receiving.”
Dr AlDoori says IV drips can be beneficial for almost anyone.
“Whether you are dealing with the stress of work and everyday life, feeling tired and run down, looking to boost your recovery, or need it as part of a dietary programme to aid weight loss, you will get many positive outcomes,” she explains. “Many patients have come to us, especially those recovering from Covid, for an energy boost as well as to up their immunity,” she says.
There are a variety of customized infusions that can be tailored to the individual, with immunity-boosting and anti-aging formulas being among the most popular. Vitamin C and glutathione IVs work to improve detoxification, especially when there is heavy metal toxicity and oxidative stress, and to reduce pathogen loads.
“I recommend seeing a doctor and having blood tests done before having an infusion,” said Dr Badiani. “Blood tests will tell us what you are lacking in and make sure that you are receiving useful nutrients in the infusion. Anything your body does not need will pass through in your urine and would not be worthwhile having,”
Results can be felt quickly, and fully within 12 to 24 hours, and last up to three weeks, depending on the patient’s health and IV nutrient mixture.
But at a cost of Dh500 to Dh1500 per IV, are the infusions really worth it? One group of patients who really benefit are those with digestive problems, says Dr Badiani, because they are not able to absorb all the vitamins and minerals they need to function.
“Customised IV infusions are totally worth it,” she says, “because we are replenishing what you need and will follow up to make sure that you have reached your target levels.
• With files from Ann Marie McQueen