IV Solutions

IV solutions provide your bloodstream and cells with hydration and fluids that treat different medical issues. There are two main types of IV solutions. What differentiates them is the way in which they enter and move through your bloodstream.

In this article, we go over the two forms of IV solutions, how each of them impacts your body, and the health conditions that they remedy, alongside some examples that you will likely come across (if you haven’t already).

What are the different types of IV solutions?

There are two main types of IV solutions that can supply your body with the fluids that it needs: Crystalloids and colloids solutions. Each of them affects and interacts with your body differently.

Crystalloid Solutions

When it comes to crystalloid solutions, the fluids are characterized by their small particles that allow them to easily move from your bloodstream to your cells and tissues. Some of the most commonly-used IV fluids are crystalloid solutions.

Examples of Crystalloid Solutions

Here are some of the main types of crystalloid solutions and their medical benefits:

  • Saline (0.9% Solution): As the most prevalent IV solution, saline is used to treat common dehydration problems. 
  • Lactated Ringers: This is burn and trauma patients' go-to fluid.
  • Dextrose (5% in Water): Dextrose treats hypernatremia (a problem related to the amount of electrolytes in the patient's body) and supplies the kidneys with free water.
  • Normal Saline (0.45% Solution): This IV solution helps hypernatremia and diabetic ketoacidosis patients.

As mentioned earlier, the fact that crystalloid solutions can easily enter the cells and tissues makes them ideal for addressing these medical problems.


This form of IV solutions, on the other hand, has molecules that stay in your bloodstream. This is because colloids' molecules are too big to go through semipermeable membranes and into the cells or tissues. However, this also means that colloids use provides your body with a higher volume of fluids.

The following fluid types are the most widely administered colloids solutions:

  • Albumin
  • Hydroxyethyl Starch (HES)
  • Gelatin
  • Dextran

Although there are different forms of crystalloids and colloids fluids, they all have some similar impacts on your cells.

Common Vitamins in an IV Drop

The following vitamins and nutrients can be found in most IV solutions:

  • B Complex, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin C: People with vitamin deficiencies can immediately supply their blood with a high concentration of vitamins through an IV injection. In fact, this method is much faster and more efficient than oral supplements. 
  • Magnesium: A magnesium sulfate injection helps hypomagnesemia patients (those with low levels of magnesium in their blood) recover faster, and it reduces the risk of seizures amongst pregnant women.
  • Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide + Hydrogen (NADH): NADH injections are crucial for treating multiple illnesses and conditions, including Alzheimers, dementia, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Moreover, NADH-containing IV fluids make it easier to recover from jet lags and hangovers.
  • Regardless of what you need an IV solution for and whether you use crystalloids or colloids, all the different injections have some similar impacts on your cells.

    What the Fluids Do To Your Cells

    When IV solutions fluids enter your body, they apply osmotic pressure through a process called osmosis.

    • Osmosis: With osmosis, the molecules of the fluid enter or exit your cells' membranes to either enhance the concentration of the solution or dilute it. This largely depends on the IV fluid that you're taking and the medical condition that you want to treat.
    • Osmotic Pressure: This prevents your cells from consuming more water than they can handle because osmotic pressure stops the inward flow of water across a cell's membrane.

    At the end of the day, the exact way in which IV fluids interact with your cells depends on whether you received crystalloids or colloids, alongside the specific solution that you took and the health issues that it addresses.