The Vitamin C Injection Fad

There’s another fad in town. It’s Vitamin C injection and this is being promoted by beauticians!
I am glad our Director-General of Health has spoken strongly on this subject

While many Malaysians pop a Vitamin C tablet every morning for a host of reasons, others are opting for a syringeful of the diet supplement. Prices range from RM100 for a jab or RM2,700 for a series of ‘special’ seven injections that come with the promise of a lighter complexion, anti-ageing benefits and general good health. Some also pay a premium for a cocktail of ingredients that include Vitamin C and other elements, including collagen and placenta.
While most of the suppliers are private medical practitioners, there are also beauticians cashing in. Even some government doctors have got into the act and are peddling the liquid diet supplement to nurses. Some ‘patients’ go for daily jabs, others every two days, once a week or once a fortnight.
But it’s not all glowing face and rosy cheeks; there are some very real side effects. They include localised inflammation of the vein, thinning of bones, kidney problems and allergic reactions. While some of the side effects may be temporary and not really serious, there are others which may lead to death.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Ismail Merican believes that Vitamin C administered intravenously is of no real benefit to anyone. “I strongly believe that women are being duped into parting with their money by some using baseless claims,” he said.
He said the perception that Vitamin C helped overall wellness needed to be proved by facts.
“Action will be taken against errant doctors if complaints are filed against them.”
It is learnt that the intravenous Vitamin C preparation is imported. The intravenous Vitamin C fad began last year when beauty parlours started promoting it on the basis that it did wonders to the skin besides having anti-ageing properties.

The NST also elaborated on this:

Malaysia Dermatology Association president Dr Gangaram Hemandas said claims attached to the Vitamin C injections were exaggerated.
“From a scientific point of view, there is no justification for its use as an intravenous infusion,” he said, adding that the best way to deliver Vitamin C to the skin was applying it as a cream.
Dr Hemandas, the senior consultant and laser surgeon at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, said Vitamin C supplements were for people with low levels of the vitamin.
“As far as aesthetic purposes are concerned, Vitamin C does not reach the skin in significant amounts to be effective.
“I really don’t know who started the whole story with these baseless claims.”
He said the association had written to the Health Ministry and the National Pharmaceutical Bureau on the issue.
“We are against this practice because the product is not registered, the intake has side-effects and consumers are being duped into believing claims which are baseless.”
Malaysian Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery protem committee secretary Dr Ruban Satkuna Nathan said he had been asked for such injections by guest relation officers and entertainers.
“Many are willing to pay any amount.”

Willing buyer, willing provider. That’s the sad state of affairs today, where there are some doctors willing to administer injections for these gullible people (for a fee of course).

Legal adviser Liza Ibrahim, 30, is happy that she did not fall for the scam although she admits to being interested when friends told her about the “wonder” injection.
“I was curious and went to several beauty parlours in the Klang Valley to make enquiries and found at least five selling the product.
“One beautician said she could inject the drug while others told me that I should visit several doctors who provided the service.”

Worse still are the beauticians who administer injections. Where’s the enforcement?

Links:
Emedicine: Cosmeceuticals

The use of cosmeceuticals has drastically risen in recent years. This significantly increases the armamentarium of the clinician in improving the treatment of skin conditions. However, at times, claims of effectiveness lack convincing evidence, thus the industry is challenged to provide convincing evidence of the effectiveness of these compounds.

PDRHealth: Vitamin C
This link has comprehensive information on ascorbic acid (vitamin C)

The MMR Says:
1) The best source of vitamins, including vitamin C, are a good helping of fruits and veg. This is truly natural. Anything that comes in a pill, capsule, bottle or injection is no longer natural.
2) More is not necessarily better. It may be harmful.
3) The main effect of expensive Vitamin C injections will be an increased production of expensive urine (Vitamin C is water soluble and is excreted in the urine)

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Malaysian physician, haematologist, blogger, web and tech enthusiast

Posted in - Fraud watch, - Palmdoc
24 comments on “The Vitamin C Injection Fad
  1. UK Doc says:

    Ha, seems like those beauticians are making better money than face lift surgeons. What about Botox? How popular is it back home??

  2. K says:

    ooh thanks for this write-up. was looking for something on this just recently.

  3. poor doctor says:

    Again, our fellow Malaysian would rather believe those conman / saleperson than listen to proper medical advice from experts. Remember the incident that 8tv invite a bogus doctor (who claimed himself as oncologist and talk about endometriosis, he misled the malaysian public that vitamin C is the cure of everything!)to talk in a tv show? It is us the ‘stupid’ Malaysian mentality that want a quick fix of every of our problem that make these people rich.

  4. ann says:

    Hi,

    I have personally had vitamin c injections for almost a year and my skin is dramatically improved, but i don’t know whether there is a side effect.. I hope the doctors which they have given the comments above will do the research on vitamin c as well… and not saying is harmful or whatever.. we want proof as well… by proving it the governent also will have to stop those people from importing these vitamin c ampoule

  5. Palmdoc says:

    Hi Ann. What you are experiencing is what we would term an “anecdotal experience” and while that it good for you, one cannot conclude that it was the vitamin C which improved your skin complexion since other factors could be involved. Who’s to say your better complexion could have come about because over the past year you took better care of your diet etc. Proof of this can only come about by a randomised trial say comparing IV Vit C vs Placebo (dummy drug). Do read the Links in the blogpost above.

  6. Sally James says:

    I’m in the same situation with Ann in which I’ve taken at least 10 1000mg Vit. C jabs in the last 2 months for the treatment of a very severe case of ezcema. It was adviced by my personal doctor as alternative to steroid treatment. Thank God my ezcema clears up and as a side effect, I have improved complexion. I wish those responsible would seriuosly take up research to determine whether Vit. C is beneficial as ezcema treatment. As in my case, I am forever thankful to my GP for suggesting Vit. C jabs.

  7. Palmdoc says:

    Thanks for sharing. It’s yet another anectdotal experience and other factors could have helped. OTOH there could be other patients with eczema “treated” with Vitamin C injections who could have got worse. So without clinical trials we cannot advocate this.

  8. wireless says:

    The results of being injected with vitamin C are quite tempting,which led me to finding out more informations on this booster.Yet why was it being mentioned that it is harmful, and i thought that by injecting into one’ veins, the absorption would be faster than oral intake,thus giving better health.

  9. Palmdoc says:

    Any intravenous injection carries some risk e.g. inflammation of the veins, infection (if not done in an aseptic/sterile manner).Renal adverse reactions (1-10%) have been reported due to dose-related Hyperoxaluria. Some other side effects reported include dizziness, faintness, fatigue, flank pain and headache; there are also drug-drug interaction considerations (source: Lexidrugs). Basically one needs proper trials to validate any benefit; the benefit of giving any drug should always be weighed against any potential risks.

  10. jessy garcia says:

    saya ingin bertanya, ape effect suntikan vitamin C??
    adakah ia membawa kepada kesan yang tidak elok di masa akan dtg?
    saya terasa ingin mencuba suntikan tersebut kerana ada kawan kawan yang telah mencubanye menceritakan tentang kesan baik mengenai suntikan vitamin C..
    contohnye kulit mereka semakin cantik, halus mulus, dan berseri..parut jerawat juga hilang disebabkan suntikan vitamin C..
    adakah semua ini benar hanya kerana pengambilan suntikan vitamin C?
    dan adakan doktor mengesyorkan untuk saya mencuba suntikan tersebut?
    adakah suntikan vitamin C sudah mendapat kelulusan Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia?

  11. jessy garcia says:

    anyone..plz answer me..

  12. Palmdoc says:

    The answers are in the posting and comments above. Pls read.

  13. jessy garcia says:

    x fahamlaa…

  14. jessy garcia says:

    so, do u recommend me to take the injection???

  15. gabby natasha says:

    to me this is all about you and your body…every girl in this world want to look beautiful..that is why we are willing to pay..but the real fact is vit c jab is the most easy,effective and affordable choices that we have. i don’t know about these bad effects and all that i can see is the better complexion. beaty is pain afterall……

  16. Palmdoc says:

    Sounds very subjective to me. For the desperate housewives and ladies out there, there is no shortcut other than to eat sensibly, takes lots of fruits and vegm and exercise regularly.
    Vit C injections are not a shortcut to beauty.

  17. Vagus says:

    “…but the real fact is vit c jab is the most easy,effective and affordable choices that we have…”????
    Omigosh. How gullible can one be? What is the evidence for this ‘fact’?

  18. fitri says:

    i have inject the vit c and i think it’s good..
    i only take it for about 15 dose..
    so..what u wanna say palmdoc?

  19. Palmdoc says:

    Why do you say it’s good? This is hardly evidence based medicine!

  20. Vagus says:

    don’t always believe what people say. you need hard evidence to tell you that it works, and there are no bad side effects.
    remember that poor singaporean actress who took some herbal slimming products and lost her liver?

  21. fitri says:

    is it the same situation mr vargus?!!!
    plz try to find any evidence that bring bad side effect by inject vitamin c…not the other product!

  22. fitri says:

    hey mr vagus!
    answer me

  23. Palmdoc says:

    What comes first is whether or not there is any evidence it works in the first place. Side effects are another issue. The answers are all in the article, comments and links above. Please read. Comments are now closed. TQ.