Vitamins: What are they, and why should you consider intravenous supplements?

Updated: Jan 4, 2019

Everyone knows that we need vitamins, but for most of us, that’s about all we know about them.

Dripboost nurse explaining therapies

So what is a vitamin?

It was not until about 1912 that concept of a substance, necessary in small quantities to sustain life, was recognised, largely thanks to the pioneering work of Polish scientist Casimir Funk. Vitamins – or “vital amines ... vitamines” as Funk originally called them – have been described as “substances that make you unwell if you lack them”, because that is how many of them were first identified. There was one that prevented scurvy, another which prevented rickets, and so on. These are diseases that have all but disappeared in modern western society, but the fact remains that there are still many of us who fall short of getting the quantity of vitamins we need, and this can have an adverse effect on our health.

How do we get the vitamins we need?

The human body is not good at making most of the dozen or so vitamins that have been identified: we need to take them into our bodies, and in the ideal world this would be through our food. An exception is vitamin D, which is made in the body when exposed to sunlight.

However, many of us fall into bad habits regarding our diets, and as a result we don’t get the vitamins we need through food alone. Many factors are to blame for this: how many of us know exactly what foods, and what preparations, will give us a full complement of essential vitamins? And even if we know the answer, there are many times when we are rushed: we grab something off the shelf and cook (or microwave) it – not because it’s what we need but because it’s quick and easy to prepare. And then there is vitamin D: sadly our climate in the UK doesn’t give us as much sunlight as we might wish – and on the sunniest days we are advised not to get too much of it, because of the dangers of excessive exposure. And so, many of us have a shortfall in our vitamin intake, whether we realise it or not.

What can go wrong if we are deficient in vitamins?

Vitamins have a key role in maintaining the health of many of our bodily systems. In particular, a lack of vitamin A can damage our eyesight; the various B vitamins help maintain the health of our hearts, circulatory and digestive systems, blood, skin, mouths, and reproductive functions. Vitamins C and D are those that prevent scurvy and rickets, but even in cases where the full disease doesn’t cause weakening of the soft tissues or bones, there can be tiredness, weakness, and a generalised feeling of being ‘unwell’. The list goes on, and can include mental and emotional changes, while research is continuing all the time.

The importance of vitamins

How can we boost our vitamin intake?

One common way that people attempt to make up for inadequate diets is by taking oral vitamin supplements. A drawback to this method is that – despite the bewildering range of products available (at a price) at your local pharmacist – the tablets or capsules are not finely matched to an individual’s requirements and the different metabolic rates that each one of us has. Furthermore, it has been postulated that the absorption of vitamins taken in this way is inefficient, with the active ingredients being prevented from reaching the sites they should by failing any one of a series of hurdles, from problems with swallowing, to the way the ingredient (and the coating and bulking agents included in every tablet or capsule) dissolves in the stomach, to the transportation of the right quantities of the vitamin by way of the bloodstream.

Many of these hurdles can be overcome if the vitamin is introduced directly into the bloodstream, by way of an intravenous drip or “IV”.

A detailed survey of your health is taken

Why should you consider intravenous vitamin supplement?

Before undertaking an IV vitamin supplement, a specialist will carefully gauge your exact requirements, by means of a detailed survey of your health. A bespoke prescription can then be prepared and administered directly into your bloodstream, ensuring that the right amount of the vitamins you need finds its way to the receptors in your body. An IV solution may not be for everyone, but you will have ample opportunity to talk over any concerns you may have with your specialist, and to discuss your goals from the treatment, before you commit to anything.

In the wintertime, when nights are long and sunshine rare, and when our thoughts turn to buying festive gifts for our loved ones, why not treat yourself for a change? And instead of buying jewellery, or booking a facial or manicure or tanning session to improve the outward appearances of our bodies, isn’t it time to think of your inner workings too! An IV vitamin supplementation could be just what you need to boost your general health and energy levels, at just the time you’ll need them the most.

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