There have been several recent reports in the media of intravenous infusions of different solution or fluids used to enhance one's appearance or performance. One report was of amino acid intravenous drips used to improve test-taking ability by Asian students. In the US, infusions have been reportedly used by celebrities to impart a youthful, glowing and dewy appearance of their skin. Other reports are of an Intensive VitaInfusion Facial consisting of Vitamins C and B as well as magnesium and calcium, again to improve the skin's appearance and to provide energy boost.
I was really stunned to learn about these infusions. Sometimes I wonder what people will come up with next. I think that the trend of intravenous infusions is potentially very dangerous. Intravenous infusions should only be given in a medical setting and for a real medical problem. The two most common reasons to give an intravenous infusion are to re-hydrate a dehydrated person or to administer antibiotics or other medications to someone who is ill.
An intravenous infusion involves, first, inserting a small catheter through the skin into a vein, and then inserting plastic tubing into the catheter to allow fluid to drip into the vein. Even in a hospital setting, there are concerns about the possibility of an infection involving the skin, the vein into which the catheter is inserted, or the blood stream. A blood stream infection can be catastrophic and result in death. A skin or vein infection may result in hospitalization and the need for antibiotics.
As for the Intensive VitaInfusion Facial, which purportedly gives the body a vitamin boost though both internal, intravenous vitamins and external vitamins applied to the skin, you can get similar benefits by taking a multi-vitamin tablet with vitamin B and C, daily, and eating a healthy balance diet (without the risk of infection). Fortunately, neither vitamin would pose a danger because each would be excreted through the urine so dangerously high levels would not occur. The infusion also includes calcium and magnesium which do, unfortunately, have potential side effects. According to the medical literature, magnesium intoxication could result in serious consequences such as a decrease in blood pressure, paralysis, and cardiac and central nervous system depression. Excessive calcium could result in a decrease in blood pressure. They should definitely be avoided in this type of setting.
As for amino acid infusions, they are used in medicine for people who are unable to eat or drink (think coma or on a respirator) and thus, cannot maintain adequate nutrition. If you can eat or drink, you do NOT need this infusion. Will the infusion make you smarter and do better on an important test? Only studying hard will do that. What about radiant skin? If you want glowing, dewy skin, which the infusion promises, drinks a glass or water, or two.
Dr. Susan B. Taylor