IV Therapy Vs Oral Supplementation
IV Vitamins? Why would we need IV supplement therapy when oral supplements are easily available, cost much less and don’t involve a needle?
The reason can be summed up in one word. Bioavailability.
What is Bioavailability
Bioavailability is the proportion of a drug or other substance which enters the circulation when introduced into the body and so is able to have an active effect. Simply put, bioavailability is the amount of an ingredient that gets absorbed in the body.
When products are administered intravenously, they are fully available in the blood stream and are 100% bioavailable.
However, when compounds are administered via other routes, such as orally, the overall percent bioavailability varies as these drugs must pass through further barriers before reaching systemic circulation.
In order to become bioavailable, products must survive the acidic environment of the stomach, pass through the intestinal wall and then the portal circulation to the liver. At the liver, many products are metabolized, and many products may not even reach circulation.
Absorption of oral supplements through the intestinal wall can be impacted by a wide range of dietary and lifestyle factors. These include stress, infections, leaky gut, inflammation (from Diabetes, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis etc), medications (Ibuprofen and Aspirin for example), smoking and alcohol consumption.
Most people do not have perfect gut barrier function. This makes oral supplements even less efficient than they usually are.
Oral supplements are convenient, you can purchase them easily and can take them easily in the comfort of your own home. These supplements are great to take on a regular basis for maintenance. However, in situations where your body needs nutrients the most, and you want to get them quick, such as when you are sick, stressed or when there are many people around you sick, IV therapy can often be much more beneficial.
Dr Deborah Wong
Deborah is senior medical advisor at Life Clinic. Dr Deborah Wong obtained her MBBS from the National University of Singapore and post graduate training in Family Medicine with the College of Family Physicians Singapore. She is currently pursuing her Fellowship with the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environment Medicine.
She has a special interest in preventive health, women’s health and sports medicine. She has also undergone training and attained various certifications in exercise medicine and Clinical Orthopedic Manual Therapy. She believes that healthcare should be holistic, and treatment should involve mind, body and soul. With a passion for movement, she is also co-owner at Breathe Pilates and enjoys olympic weightlifting in her spare time.