POSTED: Saturday, July 21, 2012 - 4:00pm
UPDATED: Saturday, July 21, 2012 - 7:35pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Twice a week, 38-year-old Malea Kanoho sits in a chair hooked up to an IV of vitamins.
"People didn't believe that I was sick because I have so much energy," she says, but Kanoho has Stage Four breast cancer that has spread to her lungs.
She believes the vitamin treatments are helping her live a better life.
It's the same for Elaine Gibson.
She is a cancer survivor, but now gets regular infusions to stave off exhaustion and boost immunity.
"If I'm tired or run down from whatever, my first call is to Natural Horizons Wellness Center. Can I come in? Can I get an IV?" Gibson says.
"The people who come to us are largely people looking to improve their overall health. They don't necessarily come in with issues if you will, or illnesses," says Peter Ewens. "But they're looking to boost their immune health and this is a way to jump start the immune system and get it to an optimal level."
Ewens is president of Natural Horizons Wellness Center, an alternative health provider, which has been offering IV vitamin infusions for years.
He says the treatments have been gaining popularity as more and more people come in for help with boosting athletic performance, combating fatigue and treating illness, including cancer and Lyme Disease.
"The body craves this kind of fortification and unfortunately in the lifestyle we have today, often times, the body doesn't get the percentages that it really needs in high enough quantities from the food that we eat," he says.
Ewens charges patients around $150 for a customized vitamin cocktail.
The most popular is a blend of high-dose Vitamin C with magnesium and other trace elements that he believes can help people boost immunity and perhaps even fight cancer.
He says getting vitamins delivered directly into the blood stream, enables the body to absorb more nutrients.
Still, some doctors say an IV drip is unnecessary unless the body has problems absorbing vitamins.
"The average American who doesn't have a gut disease or trouble with previous surgeries should be able to get these vitamins absorbed with a multivitamin," says Dr. Timothy Koch.
Doctors say that they're not surprised people feel better and more energized after getting vitamin IV drips, but that's because most people don't get enough vitamins and nutrients in their diet to begin with.
It is also possible to overdose on certain vitamins, so always consult with your physician before undergoing any medical treatment.