How do you find it most convenient to take your vitamins? For some people it appears the answer doesn't involve taking a daily tablet, but rather involves having nutrients delivered via intravenous drip.
The latest health fad for IV drips as nutritional supports is becoming increasingly popular in the UK's capital, with one London 'drip bar' even having a Hair Enhancement offering on its menu.
Get A Drip in Shoreditch's Boxpark mall offers a Hair Enhancement IV drip for £200-£295 per session. One drip promises to deliver 'basic hydration' (sodium chloride, bicarbonate, potassium and calcium) plus B complex, amino acids, methionine 750mg, zinc and vitamin B12 methylcobalamin. These ingredients are remarkably similar to some of the ingredients contained in Belgravia's exclusive one-a-day Hair Vitalics
food supplements, though without the benefit of gender-specific formulations.
So are IV drips the new food supplement when it comes to healthy hair? We spoke to Belgravia
senior hair loss specialist and superintendent pharmacist prescriber, Christina Chikaher
, to find out more about nutrition and supplementation...
IV drips for hair supplementation
"Vitamin Drips have recently become quite trendy and, despite the exorbitant cost, they are even popping up at parties now a drip bar as well as a regular bar. We have to consider why one would want a vitamin drip, besides any 'fashionable' element,"
"Do you want a vitamin drip because you are lacking energy? Maybe it's a substitute for eating a healthier diet? Or perhaps you see it as the antidote for a stressful lifestyle? If any of these apply to you then you should strongly consider getting to the root cause of the issue quick fixes are not a long-term solution."
"Most healthy people are able to get enough of the relevant nutrients from an appropriate, balanced diet. However, where this is not achievable - for instance, people who experience malabsorption - in many cases a simple oral supplementation of vitamins at an appropriate dose should be enough to correct most nutritional deficiencies within a matter of weeks,"
"Our bodies are designed to ingest the majority of essential nutrients orally - not through a drip in our arm. Taken orally, the amount of vitamins absorbed by the body is limited by the digestive system. Given by IV it enters the blood stream directly, there is the potential for serious overdose. Vitamin drips and injections can also be dangerous if not carried out correctly and can result in complications."
"Should anyone wish to try intravenous infusions as a way to boost their hair health, we would advise ensuring you use a reputable company with sterile equipment and investigate how regularly they should be undertaken for your specific needs and stick with this. Furthermore, and particularly where you have any existing health issues, checking with your GP or other healthcare practitioner and discussing concerns with your IV consultant before booking an appointment, just to minimise the risk of any potential adverse events."
Nutrition, hair growth and hair loss
There are many products and therapies that claim to reduce hair loss
, promote hair growth or otherwise benefit the hair. Very few are actually clinically-proven and properly licensed for these purposes, however, so it is always wise to do the necessary research before spending your money. Regularly consuming too much or too little of certain nutrients can even cause thinning hair
so it's important to understand what you're ingesting and why.
Nutritional items such as food supplements are not as highly-regulated as medications - such as pharmaceutical hair loss treatments
- in the UK, though claims regarding certain ingredients in supplements are monitored by government agencies. A cursory internet search for 'hair vitamins' or 'hair supplements' will prove that this does not stop some retailers from misleadingly promoting products from onion juice
to pomegranate seed oil
as hair growth products or hair loss solutions.
There are a number of nutrients which are able to support healthy hair growth BUT
there are no vitamins or minerals currently recognised as being safe and effective for treating hair loss when it is genetic (Male Pattern Baldness
or Female Pattern Hair Loss
), autoimmune-related (Alopecia Areata
) or the result of external factors such as tight hairstyles (Traction Alopecia
). In these instances a specialist consultation is required to investigate pharmaceutical treatment options which can be used on their own or alongside other hair growth supporting products
, such as highly-targeted food supplements.
For example, biotin, selenium and zinc are the only vitamins and minerals with permitted 'hair growth' claims attached to them in the UK. This is because each has been proven to directly support the maintenance of normal hair growth
. All three of these ingredients are present in both Hair Vitalics for Men
and Hair Vitalics for Women
alongside a host of other key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanical extracts.
Although other ingredients, from calcium
to vitamin C
, may support separate functions which, as a result of their optimum functioning, may be beneficial to hair health, no claims can be made regarding those components due to the effect being indirect.
It is also worth noting that following a healthy, balanced diet is important for everyone's overall health, not just that of their hair, and neither IV drips nor food supplements are intended to replace this. They are simply convenient methods with which to 'top up' your dietary intake.