Is IV hydration therapy safe? The Local I-Team investigates

Local Health Alert

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – From Hollywood stars to athletes, IV hydration therapy is all the rage on the east and west coast, and yes, it’s now here in the Mid-South. 

People go into spas or clinics and get IV bags filled with combinations of vitamins or drugs, hoping to do everything from make their skin glow to cure their hangover.

So who is doing it and is it safe?

It can run from $75 to couple hundred dollars per treatment depending on where you go and what you get.

Memphis lawyer Ed Wallis is a true believer.

“Sometimes it gets that vibe of being junk science when you read some things online, but from my personal experience it works for me,” said Wallis.

We caught up with Wallis at Pro Health Wellness Clinic in East Memphis, where he is a frequent customer.

“If I get a sinus infection or a stomach bug, the IV therapy just re-hydrates your whole body,” said Wallis.

There is a long list of types of IV vitamin therapy: treatments to boost your immunity, for hangovers, migraines, anti-aging, vitamin blasts – you can even have your own custom therapies mixed up.

“We have a lot of patients who are getting chemotherapy who come in for high doses of Vitamin C IV with the theory being the heavy doses of Vitamin C is going to clean out the toxins from the chemotherapy,” said Estes Folk.

Clinic owner Estes Folk says this isn’t just for people with medical conditions – IV hydration therapy also attracts the work hard/play hard crowd and those into physical training and wellness.

“The same person who is getting acupuncture, the same person who is getting raw girl shakes, and going to yoga class, Pilates, or massage, they want IVs,” said Folk.

While some people swear by, it others are skeptical.

“It’s a quick fix,” said dietitian Hannah Osterndorf.

St Francis hospital registered dietitian Hannah Osterndorf says drinking plenty of fluids and eating right often work just as well as getting these expensive IV bags.

She says for the majority of people who are getting the basic types of IV hydration therapy, it won’t hurt you because most of the vitamins are water soluble.

“An excess in your body, you are just going to pee what you don’t need out,” said  Osterndorf.

She said there are a few exceptions, which is why if you have medical conditions, check with your doctor.

“This is actually a medical procedure we’ve taken out of a hospital, stuck it in a clinic, and made it available to everyone,” said Folk.

The Federal Trade Commission says it’s illegal for IV therapy clinics to falsely advertise they can cure serious diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis, or congestive heart failure.

“If they are claiming they are treating things I would stay away,” said Osterndorf.

The East Memphis center Wallis goes to does not make those types of claims. Wallis says he is a true believer.

“It may not work for everyone, but for me, it simply makes me feel healthier function better. It puts me in a good mood,” said Wallis.

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