At 44 years old, Stamatis Ferarolis now lifts weights with ease. But just a few years ago this former college soccer player was having trouble keeping up.
"I did all those things that really beat up my body so my body was in pain. By the time I hit 40, I started really feeling the effects, getting out of bed and feeling like old man," he said.
By age 42, it was worse.
"Just not feeling good and energetic. Mind got a little foggier, libido, all those things that you hear about."
His doctor recommended hormone replacement therapy and an amber colored fluid. Once a week the mixture drips directly into Stamatis' veins.
"Since I travel quite a bit for quite for work, I wanted to stave off any illness with being in hotels, planes, what not. And this was something I wanted to try. Since then, I've fallen in love with this," he said.
This IV fluid is based on what's known as a Myer's cocktail. It's a mix of micro-nutrients developed decades ago: B and C vitamins, magnesium and calcium.
But there's a push to add some new twists. Today, it's an antioxidant called glutathione.
"What the antioxidants do is scavenge up free radicals and clench them for lack of a better term, so they don't damage cells and tissues," explained Dr. Justin Saya, medical director at Tampa's Defy Medical Center.
That damage leads to aging and disease.
"Your whole body, everything that happens, is a result of chemical reactions," he said. "When these chemical reactions happen, sometimes free reacticals, which are reactive oxygen, are produced."
Saya believes this drip helps neutralize reactive molecules. He now markets modifications of the drip, for example: A version promising to counteract something many experience - a hangover. It's called the After Party Infusion.
"We give Zofran, which is an common anti-nausea medicine," another intravenous drug, commonly used in chemotherapy patients.
But more and more medical IV's are being given outside a medical facility.
"This is a hangover ... we give your body everything it needs to recover quickly," he said.
There's a service in Las Vegas called "Hangover Heaven." A staff brings medications and drips right to your door.
Here in Tampa the I-Vitality group provides intravenous cocktails in a gym. It promises a performance boost, anti-viral therapy and a way to detox.
But make no mistake, depending on what is in it, many drips are considered supplements – ingredients often prepared in compounding pharmacies – bypassing the level of regulatory scrutiny, side effect reporting, or testing - the FDA requires from a drug.
And when it comes to research you won't find any large studies proving the Myer's works. Studies, Dr. Saya believes, are absent because of funding.
"Do I wish big Pharma would get behind IV infusions? Yeah. Bioidenticals? Yes. The studies would be there and it would be more publically accepted but do I think it's going to happen? No," he said.
Stamatis said his proof is in how he feels.
"I wanted to feel great and energized, getting out of bed every day, and I do."
Find more at:
Dr. Justin Saya
Defy Medical: 813-445-7342
1120 E. Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33602
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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