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Celebrities help the £500 vitamin jab go mainstream

Intravenous therapy has taken off via social media after star names led the way. But its effects are unknown, doctors warn

Rihanna is among famous names to have had intravenous vitamin therapy. Photograph: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Fenty Beauty

Madonna does it. Rihanna’s done it. Katy Perry, Rita Ora and Gwyneth Paltrow have been known to dabble and while there are no clinical studies to prove the benefits of intravenous vitamin therapy, the celebrity wellness trend appears to have gone fully mass market.

In a gleaming west London clinic, with plump leather recliners and a TV tuned to Netflix, Yassine Bendiabdallah explains the benefits of his IV treatments. Customers, mostly wealthy and mostly women, visit him for courses of injections promising an array of anti-ageing, anti-stress, brain-boosting, energy-restoring properties. His most popular is the NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), which costs £500 and can take up to three hours to administer. “It causes an uncomfortable tightening in your head and chest,” he explains, “but that’s normal”.

Vitamin clinics, where IV drips are provided for customers looking for hangover cures, boosts to their vitamin D, B12 and C levels and more, have been stealthily popping up in British cities, matching the surge of sales in vitamin supplements. According to Mintel, 34% of people in Britain supplement their diet with daily vitamins; sales leapt by 27% for adults in 2018 and the market, which has grown overall by 6% since 2013, is expected to be worth £477m by 2023…

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