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Rise of intravenous nutrition products among professional team sport athletes: reasons to be concerned?
  1. Nathan Lewis1,2,
  2. Andrew Hodgson3,
  3. Tamim Khanbhai4,
  4. Jennifer Sygo5,
  5. Jordan Mazur6,
  6. Casey Smith7,
  7. Paul Catterson8,
  8. Charles Pedlar1,9,10
  1. 1 Orreco Limited, Business Innovation Unit, NUIG, Galway, Ireland
  2. 2 English Institute of Sport, Sports Training Village, University of Bath, Bath, UK
  3. 3 Department of Haematology, Sligo University Hospital, Sligo, Ireland
  4. 4 Tottenham Hotspur FC, Enfield, UK
  5. 5 Toronto Raptors, OVO Athletic Training Center, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  6. 6 San Francisco 49ers, Santa Clara, California, USA
  7. 7 Dallas Mavericks Inc, Mavericks Training Center, Dallas, Texas, USA
  8. 8 Newcastle United Football Club, Department of Medicine, Benton, UK
  9. 9 Faculty of Sport, Allied Health and Performance Sciences, St Mary's University Twickenham, London, UK
  10. 10 Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Charles Pedlar, Faculty of Sport, Allied Health and Performance Sciences, St Mary's University Twickenham, Twickenham TW1 4SX, London, UK; pedlarc{at}

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Use of intravenous nutrition products in sport

The authors regularly interact with professional team sport players in European and American leagues and their multidisciplinary support teams, and we are aware of players receiving regular intravenous nutrition (IVN) products. Furthermore, this is often evident in blood biomarker profiles where specific nutrients are beyond the upper-bound measurement limit of the clinical laboratory. The precise prevalence of IVN use is not known, however, anecdotally some players are receiving IVN as often as weekly as part of a pregame or postgame routine. So-called ‘drip bars’ and concierge IVN services are easily accessible, although seemingly devoid of appropriate regulation.1 These offer a menu of IVNs containing nutrients such as B vitamins, amino acids, glutathione, vitamin C and electrolytes, claiming to boost health and performance, restore hydration, accelerate recovery and so on. Further, players might request parenteral administration of nutrients such as iron and vitamin B12 from a team physician when not otherwise indicated. Typically, sports physician-administered IVNs are reserved for clinical presentations such as anaemia, significant deficiencies with accompanying symptoms, or in race medicine (eg, severe dehydration/collapse caused by ultramarathon running in the desert).2 While these are …

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  • Contributors CP and NL originally proposed the editorial. All authors contributed to generating the material content of the article. CP and NL wrote the article. All authors edited and approved the final article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests NL, CP, AH are consultants with Orreco who provide blood biomarker monitoring services to professional athletes.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.