In 2016, a time when drinking algae for breakfast and injecting vitamins for a quick energy boost can be the norm, those dusty back-of-the-shelf multi-vitamins seem so retro and effervescents start looking like dated hangover cures in a tube.
As someone who takes around seven vitamins per-day and drinks green powder like it’s Sunny D in 2002, I’d always been curious about injectable vitamins. Why swallow seven tablets a day when I can get an ultra-high concentration of vitamins injected straight into my veins in ten minutes and feel the effects immediately?
I initially booked in for a vitamin B12 shot with intravenous vitamin specialist Bianca Estelle of bea Skin Clinic. Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in the formation of healthy blood cells and the functioning of the brain and nervous system. When the body is low in B12, symptoms can include tiredness, weakness, depression and poor memory. “Vitamin B12 shots are particularly popular with DJs, artists and performers as they give the patient an immediate boost of energy,” explains Bianca. “Some of my patients, if they’re about to go on tour or know they’re going to be travelling a lot, will ask for a double dose to make sure they’re on top form.”
My low-maintenance laptop-based lifestyle as a writer definitely didn’t warrant a double dose so I opted for a single shot. Laid on my front with my trousers off, Bianca loaded up the injection and with a quick thrust, the needle was stabbed straight into my left ass cheek. It was almost totally painless and over within minutes. Although I didn’t feel any immediate bursts of energy, I definitely felt lighter.
The very same night, I went to a party with friends, got home at 5am having drank too much whisky and woke up at 9am, having had only four hours sleep. No hangover, no exhaustion, nothing! Was it the B12? Or coincidence? I’ll never know. But I felt good.
The following week, I booked in for intravenous Vitamin C therapy. Vitamin C is an extremely powerful antioxidant and has by far the most sweeping and endearing claims of all the IV treatments. With benefits range from skin brightening and slowing down the ageing process to preventing and treating life-threatening illnesses. It sounded like crack for health-conscious people like me. I had to give it a go.
Bianca loaded up 1000mg of Vitamin C into a large injection and tied a small purple belt around the top of my right arm to find a “good vein”, before smoothly injecting the needle. It felt a bit health-junkie-fied but fun and risk-free “This is my favourite of all the treatments,” said Bianca, as she pushed the Vitamin C through my veins. “Your arm might go a bit numb for a bit but don’t worry.” Of course I started worrying. As the solution coursed through my veins, a bizarre cold sensation ran through me and I couldn’t feel my arm. I tried to move my fingers (be it to take a Snapchat) but I couldn’t move a single cell. It was debilitating but euphoric.
Bianca then pushed through a slightly quicker second injection of saline solution, to wash through the vitamins. Once I was plastered up, I stood up and the feeling quickly returned to my arms and hands. Relief. At the time of getting the injection, I was in the midst of a bitchy case of the flu, and the following day, almost all symptoms were gone. Whether it was because of the IV or not, I still don’t know.
Would I get injectable vitamins again? Yes. As someone who has a predominantly vegan diet, I lack B12 (the easiest way to consume it is via cow’s liver, red meat or shellfish). Would I recommend it to everyone? Probably not. In the words of Roberta Anding, MS, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, “They can plug nutritional gaps in your diet, but it is short-sighted to think your vitamin or mineral is the ticket to good health – the big power is on the plate, not in a pill.”
Injectable vitamins, like most nutritional supplements are fantastic as an addition to an already-healthy diet. If you’re eating junk food and not exercising on the regular, no amount of jacking-up vitamins is going to prevent your body from free radicals, eradicate fatigue or make you look younger. But if you’re already taking care of yourself, they can be a nice booster shot.
Vitamin C IV starts from £100 an IV and B12 starts from £50 an injection at bea Skin Clinic London.