In the midst of my web surfing one day, I came across an advertisement for a vitamin vape pen (thanks Google ads). I had never heard of such a thing and was instantly intrigued. As a whole, vaping is a big trend right now. You can walk down the street to find vape shops and people smoking their own personal vape pens filled with anything from medicinal marijuana to flavored oils, and now…vitamins! Vaping, to me, seems a strange way to administer vitamins, but perhaps there could be benefits to it…couldn’t there?
I looked into the health claims and scientific research out there to find out exactly how it works and what–if any–benefits there are to vaping your vitamins. Whatever it is that goes into the vapor liquid, the devices all work the same: a heating component on one end aerosolizes the liquid solution, and the vapor is inhaled through a mouthpiece. There has been a lot of controversy around vaping and its safety. Supporters argue that there are no dangers and that using a vape device is much safer than inhaling smoke. I’m sure this is something we can all agree on–inhaling vapor is safer than inhaling smoke and all the carcinogens in cigarettes. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best thing for your body.
Not all vapor liquids are created equal, meaning that the ingredient lists can differ greatly. VitaCig, a global company, has trademarked their name in a way that is misleading to customers. What looks at first like a vitamin enhanced product, is in reality just a part of their trademarked name. Their products contain proprietary blends of vitamins A, B, C, E and CoQ10. However, many of these vitamins are heat sensitive and the amount actually absorbed by the body is negligible. It would be the equivalent of attempting to get your vitamins from a Vitamin Water. In this case, don’t be deceived and look beyond the trademark name.
In February 2016, Vitamin Vape Inc. announced the release of their new B12 vaporizer. As most vegans know, vitamin B12 is the one that is difficult to get through plant foods as soil becomes more depleted. The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine recommends that vegans regularly eat B12 fortified foods or take supplements. But, vaping? Is it safe? Effective? Could this actually be a healthy and viable option? The Vitamin Vape claims to give the health benefits of vitamin B12 with the convenience of vapor inhalation. Since B12 is not sensitive to heat, it makes a good candidate to use in a vapor pen. Also, the body only needs a small amount of the vitamin everyday, so it’s easy to meet the recommended daily intake with 10-20 puffs daily of the pen.
The company assures that the product is safe and healthy while providing a proper dosage of the vitamin. They claim that inhalation is more efficient than pill absorption, is as efficient as injections, quoting a study to support that claim. However, the study quoted is from 1953 and probably does not take into account the different additives that are also present in the Vitamin Vape product.
When it comes to foods, supplements and just about any other product on store shelves, things aren’t always as they appear. To mass produce certain products, there are going to be additives. Take a carton of almond milk for example. In reality, all that’s needed to make that product are almonds and water. However, read the ingredients and you will find a much longer list. All of these added ingredients are for the purpose of making the product shelf-stable and preventing separation which makes it much more appealing to buy.
The situation is the same when talking about different vapor liquids. A base is needed to be a carrier for whatever it is that’s going into the vapor liquid. Two of the most common are propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG). These are both recognized as generally safe by the CDC. The term “generally safe” might not sound too comforting to you, and I agree. While scientific studies have not yet found dangers with these additives, some users have reported allergic reactions and adverse effects such as headaches and respiratory tract irritation. As with anything, it’s best to do your own research and think carefully about what you put into your body.
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Photo: Yury Orlov on Unsplash; VitaCig; Vitamin Vape