Vail Valley businesses deliver vitamin-packed IV fluids to combat ailments | VailDaily.com

Vail Valley businesses deliver vitamin-packed IV fluids to combat ailments

Tracey Flower
Special to the Daily

Staying hydrated can prevent and ease the effects of altitude sickness, make or break athletic performance and help you recover from a night of overindulgence. It doesn't matter if you've been in the high country for a week or a decade, sometimes it can feel like there's no amount of water you can consume to counteract the effects of this arid climate.

That's where IV bars can help.

Located next to Zino Ristorante in The Riverwalk at Edwards, iV Bars Vail Valley, which opened March 1, is part of a chain of businesses that provides customers with a high dose of vitamins, minerals and fluids intravenously. While all of the company's other locations are in Texas, Operations Manager Aaron Roberts said iV Bars saw an opportunity in the Vail Valley because of that need for a little extra hydration at high altitude.

"We decided to open a location in the Vail Valley due to all the outdoor activities that require extra hydration — skiing, hiking, biking — and because of the altitude sickness and so forth," said Roberts, who is also a certified personal trainer. "If you hydrate a lot of these folks, especially those suffering from altitude sickness, they're back to 100 percent in 20 to 30 minutes. Colorado is just the perfect location for this."

The delivery method

In addition to providing hydration, iV Bars' "cocktails" also provide nutrients to help your body recover better and perform better and to ease stress and anxiety, Roberts said. And while many of the vitamins, minerals and amino acids delivered through their cocktails can also be consumed orally through a pill, food or even a Gatorade, Roberts said they're much more effective when delivered intravenously.

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"It's all about the delivery method," Roberts said. "When you eat or take a vitamin, your body has to take that through a digestion process, but with an IV, it goes straight into your system and you metabolize it faster so it's quick and really effective."

Dr. Scott Brandt, M.D., owner of ThriveMD, also located in The Riverwalk at Edwards, offers both in-office and mobile service IV treatments and said receiving one of these treatments is "like drinking three liters of Gatorade and taking two weeks' worth of vitamins all in one IV dose."

"The whole trend (of IV bars) is based on replenishing nutrients that typically aren't well-absorbed if you take them orally," Brandt said. "By giving them through an IV with a large dose of fluid, you kind of achieve two goals in that you hydrate the patient, as well as provide a bunch of vitamins and minerals that they wouldn't normally be able to absorb in high quantities if they were taking them orally."

That high dose of nutrients can have a big impact, said Brandt, who has used IV treatments to help patients suffering from everything from fatigue and anxiety to dehydration to hangovers to Lyme disease.

"Some people will feel immediately better after a treatment from the hydration and some of the vitamins; it kind of gives them a little kick," Brandt said. "Others will feel a lot better 24 hours after the treatment, once the various nutrients have had time to work. Most people will feel better the night of a treatment because IV magnesium is a great relaxant and it really helps you settle down. It's also used for anxiety, so it's a great treatment in that regard."

Feel-good nutrients

In addition to magnesium, Thrive MD's IV treatments also contain high doses of feel-good nutrients such as vitamin C, zinc, selenium and taurine. All of their products are medical-grade, which, Brandt said, means they often contain higher amounts of the vitamins and minerals than other IV bars.

"Our signature treatment is called the Thrive Super Immunity," Brandt said. "It's a really rich formula to have. You get a big dose of vitamin C. … It also has magnesium and vitamins B5, B6 and B12, so it's got a real diverse array of all the best antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, as well as a large dose of glutathione after that initial bag goes in. It's the answer to the common cold or when you're feeling run-down or beat-up."

Another treatment helps patients recover from a hangover.

"We deliver one through our mobile service that we call The Hangover Healer, so for people suffering from drinking too much," Brandt said. "It has a combination of some anti-pain, some anti-nausea, a large amount of fluid, then a number of vitamins and minerals that kind of help you shake off the hangover."

Those suffering from the effects of altitude sickness, with a headache, nausea or fatigue, can also find relief from the intense hydration and blast of nutrients delivered via an IV treatment.

"We do a number of IVs for altitude sickness, where hydration is probably the No. 1 cause of altitude sickness," Brandt said. "Everybody reaches for oxygen to ease altitude sickness, but oxygen's pretty low down on what most people suffer with when they come to the mountains. And, again, it's a rich formula that has a bunch of different vitamins and minerals in it to help replenish you."

The experience

At ThriveMD, each treatment starts with a physical exam, performed by Brandt or a registered nurse, to rule out any underlying issues that might be exacerbated by an IV treatment; an example of such an issue would be kidney dysfunction, where the body has trouble processing and removing large amounts of fluid at a time. After the exam, you settle into a comfy chair in a quiet room, where Brandt or a medical assistant will place the IV. From start to finish, he said, the whole process takes 30 to 40 minutes.

At iV Bars Vail Valley, you can also expect an initial health assessment before receiving your IV cocktail.

"You will meet first with an assistant, who will give you a consent form and then you'll sit down and talk with a registered nurse or EMT," Roberts said. "The nurse will ask you a few questions and then she'll have you fill out a health assessment before we start the infusion. The IV is always administered by an RN or a paramedic, and it's all overseen by an M.D."

From the waiting room to the treatment areas, the experience feels more like that of visiting a spa than a medical office, Roberts said. The walls are painted a cool blue and you get to relax in a big, comfortable leather chair and watch television or read a magazine while you receive your cocktail.

The average cocktail costs between $100 and $250, with the most popular one, the Recovery Cocktail, priced at $180. That might seem like a lot, but it can often be less expensive than receiving the same service at a doctor's office, where, even with insurance, the cost can be more than triple that at iV Bars (iV Bars does not accept health insurance). This was the case for one customer at their Dallas, Texas, location.

"One person came in and she had been having chronic migraines for like 20-something years," Roberts said. "And her doctor was charging her $500 to $700 an IV as part of her treatment. She came in and saw the cost of our Myers Cocktail and started crying. I asked her what was wrong, and she said, 'You don't understand, my insurance and my doctor are charging me $600 an IV and it's so tough on the family.'

"Long story short, she did the Myers Cocktail and it got rid of her headache right away. She walked out of here saying, 'Wow, I'm going to get a membership, this is so emotional, I gotta tell my mom.' And they've both been coming to us for about six months now at our Dallas location."

Stories like that are why he does what he does, Roberts said.

"You have stories like this, where someone has chronic headaches and don't know why and they try to treat it with this or that and then, all of the sudden, they feel better," he said. "It's just a vitamin deficiency. It could be magnesium that she's deficient in or it could be another vitamin, but we help bring that out and find out what the reason or the root cause is."

If you go …

What: iV Bars Vail Valley.

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and by appointment Sundays.

Where: 27 Main St., Suite C-104 E, next to Zino Ristorante in the Riverwalk at Edwards.

Cost: $100 to $250.

More information: Visit http://www.ivbars.com or call 855-600-8341 for more information or to schedule an appointment. Same-day appointments available, and walk-ins welcomed.

What: ThriveMD.

When: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Where: 280 Main St., Suite C-104, across from Kind Bikes & Skis in the Riverwalk at Edwards.

Cost: $150 to $250.

More information: Call 970-446-1135 to schedule an appointment, go to http://www.thrivemdvail.com for more information or to schedule a callback. Same-day appointments and mobile services are also available.