PO vs. IM vs. IV: Which Route is Best?

Vitamins are important, not just for basic physiologic functions but also for energy, wakefulness, concentration, and shrugging off the effects of a hangover. Something many people may not realize, however, is how you get your vitamins is just as important as which vitamins you receive.

You can get your vitamins in three key ways: orally, intramuscularly, and intravenously. The method in which you take your vitamins, however, will affect the benefits you will receive from them.

For example, taking a handful of vitamin B12 capsules is not going to provide you with the same benefits as a B12 injection. Going the oral route for your vitamins is also a much slower method than shots or IV administration. And, as anyone who has ever had a hangover knows, time is of the essence.

Here’s the breakdown on vitamin intake and why swallowing your vitamins is inefficient.

PO: by mouth

If you’ve ever received a prescription for pills or tablets, you may have noticed “p.o.” written on the slip. This is a Latin abbreviation for per os, which means “by mouth.”

The PO route is the most common method of medication administration, which is perfectly fine for drugs like blood pressure medication or long-term nutritional supplements. When there is an emergency, or you need to feel better fast, however, it’s best to bypass the oral route altogether. Here’s why.

The stomach absorbs almost nothing (with the ironic exception of alcohol). Your stomach acts as a reservoir and processor of food. It helps break everything down, but the small intestine is where absorption occurs. Unfortunately, if your vitamin intake is solely by mouth, you’re going to be waiting six to eight hours before those vitamins reach your small intestine.

Additionally, you’ll be losing some of those vitamins during their trip through your digestive tract. In some cases, your stomach acid will destroy some, so, oftentimes, you simply won’t be physically able to swallow enough vitamins to receive a beneficial dose.

IM: Intramuscular 

IM stands for intramuscular. You can receive an intramuscular injection in your upper arm, the gluteus muscle of your butt, your upper thigh, and other areas. IM is the preferred route for most vaccines, corticosteroids, and some vitamins.

The trained personnel at Hangover Heaven IV Hydration® administer B12 and B complex shots intramuscularly so that you can receive the positive effects of the vitamins, such as more energy and increased red blood cell production, much faster than via the oral route.

pills and syringes to adminstor vitamins

IV: Intravenous 

Intravenous (IV) administration is the method of nutrient and drug administration used in emergencies or when healthcare providers need to ensure the potency of a substance. IV delivery brings hydration, electrolytes, vitamins, and medication straight to your bloodstream, bypassing any absorption time.

Once nutrients or meds are in the bloodstream, they immediately travel to the organs. IV access allows us to deliver hydration, vitamins, etc. in seconds rather than minutes or hours.

Although not all medications and vitamins can be delivered through an IV, most can. The IV route is the best choice when patients are nauseous and/or dehydrated.

I’ve treated many clients who are too queasy from their hangovers to keep down even plain water, so IV Hydration was the best way to get them feeling back to normal right away.

The Bottom Line

Of course, most of your water and nutrients are going to be received through the oral route and that’s fine for day-to-day life. But when you need a vitamin boost or you’re suffering from dehydration or hungover, it just makes sense to get IV therapy.

Not only will more of the good stuff get to where it needs to go, but you’ll also feel more energized and less nauseous quicker than attempting to drink water or take oral medications.

Learn more about the IV Therapy services we offer at Hangover Heaven IV Hydration today!

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