I Tried It: Vitamin Injections
As a kid, taking your vitamins was easy—pleasurable, even, thanks to the candy-like, chewable Flintstones supplements (with, it turns out, debatable efficacy) I was known to sneakily triple up on in the mornings. Twenty-something years later, I decided it was time to revisit my nutrient intake.
Enter Aura MD Body, the Spring Branch-area practice of board-certified physician Dr. Ashley Toutounchi (aka Dr. T) and its "Boost Bar," which offers injectable cocktails of vitamins and antioxidants meant to help with everything from anti-aging to boosting energy and metabolism.
It was the latter I was after. Intrigued by the potential, I signed on for a series of six shots with Dr. T over the course of three weeks. I chose injections of B12—said to promote natural energy and help regulate sleep, mood, and appetite—and something called "Lipo Lean," a cocktail of carnitine (which helps with fat burning and lactate removal from muscles) and vitamins B1 and B5 for boosting immunity and metabolizing carbs and fats.
The Lipo Lean would help me work out harder and recover faster, I was told, while the B12 would give me more energy to get to spin class in the first place. Sold.
At the intersection of wellness, weight loss, and nutrition, Aura MD offers services that touch on all three, from the Boost Bar to medication-assisted weight loss programs and micronutrient and genetic testing to pinpoint vitamin deficiencies, food sensitivity, and more for customized supplement and nutrition plans.
On the second floor of a sprawling, elegant building, the practice is decidedly glamorous for a doctor's office—the kind of place with faux fur throws on trendy acrylic chairs, Beyoncé playing in the waiting room, and an active Instagram. With long blonde locks and chic wrap dresses, it's easy to forget Dr. T is a medical professional until she's plunging a hypodermic syringe into your hip.
It sounds scary, but it really doesn't hurt—not any more than your annual flu shot, five seconds of discomfort and maybe a little bruising later on; nothing that your swingy summer dress won't conceal.
Boost Bar injectables are much more potent—like, 600 times more—than over-the-counter oral supplements, in part because they're entering your muscle directly through an injection, so fibers can absorb the full vitamin for maximum, sustained effect—typically five to 10 days, Aura MD says. Plus, the vitamins, which all come from a certified compounding pharmacy, have 100 percent purity.
They're also water-soluble, an important distinction when it comes to the potential for "overdosing" on vitamins—that only happens with fat-soluble vitamins, like A, D, E, and K (Aura MD only uses D in patients with a confirmed deficiency who require supplementation), and those commonly used in Boost Bar injections don't carry adverse effects since the body will naturally excrete them as they're metabolized, releasing what it doesn't need. As such, there's the potential for red-tinged urine (the color of the injection, not blood!), though I didn't experience it.
I came in for my shots every few days, always in a dress—easy access—and tried to exercise soon after, as Dr. T advised. She was right: I consistently felt less sore after strenuous spin sessions, which I took as proof of the vitamins doing their job. With that in mind, I pushed a little harder, sprinted a little longer, and my body thanked me for it later.
As for the energy, well, I'm a notorious caffeine fiend, so this one was harder to measure. I did, however, skip my afternoon energy drink on Boost Bar days, so that's saying something.
There are other injections for other priorities, including no fewer than four dedicated to beauty—Vitamin C for brightening, biotin for stronger hair and nails, glutathione for detoxifying, et cetera. If you're up for it, well, it might be worth a shot.
Aura MD Body, 952 Echo Ln., Suite 210. Boost Bar pricing varies by package.