Ryan Lochte Banned From Competing for Using Vitamin IV Therapy


By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder

Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte recently received a suspension that will put him on the sidelines until July of 2019.

Essentially, Lochte got banned for trying to protect his immune system. He took a vitamin IV drip, which seems innocent enough. Of course, none of the substances in the drip were illegal. But according to U.S. anti-doping laws, an athlete cannot receive an IV unless they are hospitalized or have special approval from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

(Unless exempt, athletes are also not supposed to receive an infusion greater than 100 milliliters in a 12-hour period. Lochte violated this rule).

“Lochte said he took the IV because both his wife and son were ill and had recently visited hospitals, and that he didn't want to get sick as well. He said the IV contained B-12 and other vitamins that could be purchased at any pharmacy,” according to one report.

“He and his wife both got IV infusions in Gainesville, Florida, he said, to bolster their immune systems.”

Lochte posted a photo of himself receiving the drip on social media, so it didn’t take long for authorities to discover his violation.

"I should know better," Lochte said.

So this all brings us back to the discussion of vitamin infusions.

Are they really worth it?

I think we know Lochte’s answer to this question. But from a medical standpoint, do they work?

We have discussed this before, and basically came to the conclusion that there is credible evidence that infusions are good for a quick fix. When you get a vitamin shot or IV drip, you bypass the digestive system and nutrients are delivered directly into the bloodstream where your cells can immediately absorb these nutrients.

Vitamin IV drips have become extremely popular among celebrities. Reportedly celebrities, like Kim Kardashian and Chrissy Teigen, use vitamin shots and drips not only for an energy or immunity boost but also as a weight loss aid.

For weight loss, some receive a MIC injection which consists of the amino acids methionine, inositol and choline. According to one report, these amino acids “prevent excess fat buildup in the liver and body, support the endocrine and cardiovascular systems, and aid in the metabolism of fats.”

We may not receive a harsh penalty like Lochte did for getting a vitamin infusion, but we certainly don’t want to shortchange ourselves when it comes to our health by relying solely on the quick fixes that these infusions may provide. We also do not want to waste time and money on the nutrients we get from infusions if we really don’t need them. For example, we run the risk of excessive amounts of certain nutrients if we were not deficient in the first place.

So what else can we do to protect our health and immune systems?

  • Good nutrition. There are specific nutrients found in foods like oatmeal, nuts, spinach, eggs, bell peppers and avocados which may protect our immune system by boosting our white blood cells (also known as the “immune boosting” cells).
  • Wash our hands regularly. This is one of the oldest rules in the book, but in my opinion one of the most effective. Also we should avoid touching our mouths and eyes without washing our hands first.
  • Watch the booze. Heavy drinking depletes nutrients from the body that we need to stay healthy. This is why people may get a vitamin infusion after a night of too much partying. Also drink plenty of water. Water is a nutrient that is extremely important for immune function, as it helps carry oxygen to cells in the body.
  • Take the test. It is also extremely important to avoid nutritional deficiencies or excesses. One of the ways we can do this, in addition to eating a variety of healthy foods, is to get a comprehensive nutrient test to determine whether we have any nutrient deficiencies or imbalances that may affect our immunity. If we do, we may have to tweak our diets, take good quality supplements or even consider the use of liposomal technology.

Let's enjoy our healthy lives!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of healthcare and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.