SKIN BENEFITS OF IV THERAPY
We often forget that skin is an organ, separating but communicating simultaneously between our interior and the outside world. When we have visible skin issues, we often first reach for a new topical product or sometimes even remove one from our daily regimen. Only after that doesn’t provide a quick fix, we then start to look at lifestyle factors like diet and hydration. What if we could address our skin concerns quickly, from the inside out? Below, we take a look at how intravenous (IV) fluid therapy can benefit the skin.
You may be familiar with the use of IVs in emergency situations and that’s because they can quickly and directly provide hydration and nutrition to the injured body. Just as hydration and malnutrition underlie many severe illnesses, they also affect the health and appearance of our skin [1,2]. The most common and easily available IV therapies are often referred to as “Myer’s cocktail” or “banana bags” . They include many of the same vitamins that benefit our skin topically and are found in multivitamins (seeMVI Adult):
- Vitamin A (retinol)
- B vitamins
- B1 (thiamine)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B6 (pyridoxine)
- B3 (niacinamide)
- B5 (dexpanthenol)
- B7 (biotin)
- B9 (folic acid)
- B12 (cobalamin)
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
- Vitamin D (ergocalciferol)
- Vitamin E (α-Tocopheryl acetate)
- Vitamin K (Phytonadione)
- Magnesium sulfate (better known as Epsom salt)
The benefit of receiving these vitamins in IV format is that a little goes a long way. Since these vitamins don’t have to be digested and transported from the gut to the bloodstream, a lower dose of only active metabolites will be used (less processing by other tissues and fewer byproducts). People often report glowing skin and energy boosts for 1-2 days after receiving this type of treatment.
Additional ingredients can be used to enhance the hydrating and replenishing effects of multivitamin cocktails . They include:
- Glutathione - an antioxidant produced naturally in the body shown to reduce wrinkles, lighten hyperpigmentation, and have overall anti-inflammatory effects
- Selenium - a trace element that boosts natural glutathione production
- Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) - an enzyme cofactor that regulates many biological processes including energy production, regeneration of glutathione, and DNA damage repair.
- Immunoglobulin (IVIG) [8,9]- the most common antibody, IV infusion of IGs can help spark the immune system to respond to ongoing inflammatory conditions, especially in immunocompromised people. Notably, depending on the disease, the mechanism of action of IG is different.
SAFETY AND ADMINISTRATION
As mentioned before, IV administration may reduce the necessary dose and limit metabolic byproducts which, depending on the compound, can be toxic and lead to unwanted side effects. This advantage of IV therapy is just recently being explored more in the clinic for autoimmune-related dermatological conditions, especially IVIG [9–11].You don’t need a prescription to obtain any of the therapies listed here however safety is obviously the top priority. Always conduct IV therapy with a trusted IV clinic who works with registered nurses or appropriately certified technicians. It’s important to note that there is a lack of randomized clinical trial data for IV therapy in general, let alone in the context of dermatological disorders.
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 Palma L, Marques LT, Bujan J, Rodrigues LM (2015) Dietary water affects human skin hydration and biomechanics.Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol 8, 413–421.
 Gaby AR (2002) Intravenous nutrient therapy: the “Myers’ cocktail.”Altern Med Rev 7, 389–403.
 Michalak M, Pierzak M, Kręcisz B, Suliga E (2021) Bioactive Compounds for Skin Health: A Review.Nutrients 13, 203.
 Sitohang IBS, Ninditya S (2020) Systemic Glutathione as a Skin-Whitening Agent in Adult.Dermatol Res Pract 2020, 8547960.
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