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The truth behind the drip
The truth behind the drip
Dr. Refilwe Mothibamele


The truth behind the drip

  • Dr Mothibamele explains intravenous (IV) drip therapy

It is that time of the year once again; when many worry about the ever-present threat of flu and, of course the much-dreaded Covid. While flu shots were previously sought to keep the cold at bay, vitamin intravenous (IV) drip therapy has become the latest fad, especially as boosting one’s immunity is top priority.

Made popular by Hollywood A-List stars and regional celebrities alike, vitamin infusions date back to the 50s when they were first formulated by Dr. John Myers in USA – hence they’re known as the ‘Myer’s cocktail’ – to treat chronic conditions like asthma, fatigue, migraines etc.

Voice Woman visited Dr Refilwe Mothibamele, who offers the treatment at her clinic, situated at Railpark Mall, to chat about the sought-after IV vitamin therapy or vitamin drips.

The 34-year-old University of Kwa-Zulu Natal graduate’s career began in 2012 when she interned and worked for a year in Rustenburg before returning home to later join Botswana Harvard Partnership in 2016 as a Research Clinician.

Following a short stint in government, the mother-of-one then joined AO Clinic KB Mall in November 2018 before subsequently opening AO Railpark Health Center in September 2019.

Let’s get right to it… everyone’s talking Vitamin drips. Is the concept really new or has anything similar been done in the past?

The Myers’ formula consists of high doses of B vitamins, vitamin C, and minerals (magnesium and calcium) mixed with sterile water and it was used for patients with fibromyalgia.

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The truth behind the drip

HAPPY: Clients getting their Vitamin C drip to boost immune system, stimulate collagen production , boost energy levels.

Dr John Myers developed and administered the first IV vitamin treatments in Baltimore in the 1970s.

Thereafter, Dr Alan R. Gaby, a renowned nutritional medicine expert, continued the cocktail.

In current medicine, IV nutrition is used mainly in the aesthetic field as pure supplementation just like we supplement orally if we do not meet our daily required vitamins in a balanced diet.

Absorption of IV vitamins is obviously higher than the oral route due to digestion and absorption into the bloodstream.

However, a doctor always needs to get a full history from a patient to verify use of vitamins and any contraindications.

What are the varied health benefits of the vitamin drips? Is a balanced diet not enough?

Drips can never replace food, as they are supplements.

They are add-on just like oral supplements we choose to take daily e.g. in winter, we up our vitamin C intake and often supplement to keep away flu.

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And this is very different to taking vitamins when a patient has been diagnosed of a deficiency e.g. scurvy, which is a vitamin C deficiency.


-Collagen production

-Boosts immunity

-Improves wound healing

-Antioxidant – protects the body from various deleterious effects of free radicals, pollutants and toxins

-It also increases the absorption of iron in the gut by reducing ferric to ferrous state

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-It facilitates the conversion of cholesterol into bile acids and hence lowers blood cholesterol levels

-It helps in the synthesis and metabolism of tyrosine, folic acid and tryptophan, hydroxylation of glycine, proline, lysine carnitine and catecholamine

Would you then say vitamin drips are our generation’s elixir of life/youth; or an all-in-one quick fix to our myriad ailments?

There are no short cuts in life; nothing can ever replace a healthy diet, good exercise, and good water intake. Not even supplementation, as this is just a convenient add-on to the basics.

After administering the vitamins, when can one expect to see results and how often do patients receive the therapy?

All individuals are different but, as drips are part of hydration, you will feel the effects from 30mins of getting therapy.

Traditionally, in hospitals, we gave the ‘yellow drip’ to patients who were intoxicated from accident scenes so they sober up and we better assess and treat them.

So, effects were seen shortly in that same emergency room.

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That’s now commonly known as hangover drip.

Can patients become ‘addicted’ to the drips? I read somewhere that among the many benefits, they boost libido.

Supplements are not known to be addictive.

I have read about libido boosting drips but a lot of controversy surrounds their contents and use, etc … but we do not offer those.

What common risks are associated with vitamin drips? Are they safe for children and pregnant women?

With drips in general, one has to make sure that there is no fluid overload for patients.

Even all vitamins have a maximum safe dose hence those need to be in check.

I understand you also offer the collagen drips…. Quite pricey?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body.

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It’s the main component of connective tissues that make up several body parts, including tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles.

Collagen has many important functions, including providing your skin with structure and strengthening your bones.

There are 28 types of collagen, but here are the four most common Type I: the most common type, found in all connective tissue

Type ll: found in joints and intervertebral discs (the cushions that serve as your spine’s shock absorbers)

Type lll: the main component of reticular fibers, which are found in your skin and blood vessels

Types lV: a component of your kidneys, inner ear, and eye lens

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So, collagen supplementation comes in the form of tablets and powder.

You have a 10-Day Skincare Challenge coming up next month, do share details…

For skin challenge, we cover basic skin anatomy, physiology and active ingredients one should look for in their skincare products to target different skin conditions ranging from acne, hyperpigmentation, dryness etc.

What does the good doc enjoy most about her job?

Medicine is truly a calling as every patient that walks in has a different and unique challenge or disease that needs your assistance.

Yes you are not God hence can’t solve every problem, but you get guidance to assist a patient in the best possible way.

And the gratitude they have, as their diseases get better is what gives the strength daily to get you up and face the world.

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