Hey, Girl, Wanna Get Lit... on Some Vitamin D?
First, there were the chewable tablets and the gummy versions your mom gave you in school, then the fruit-snack-style supplements you popped in college. Now, vitamins have adopted an edgier aesthetic. The west is teeming with ads for vitamin-infused vape pens—candy-coloured sticks that emit thin wisps of smoke. Issa wellness mood, right?
Companies market these disposable vapourisers (or non-nicotine e-cigarettes) filled with supplements, like Vitamin B12, on social media, as the cool new way to get your nutrients. There’s just one problem—they might not work at all.
“There’s no evidence that inhaling vitamins through vaping has any benefit,” says US-based pulmonologist, Dr Humberto Choi. And they aren’t regulated by the FDA, so there’s no way to confirm they contain what they say they do. Also, since it’s a relatively new phenomenon, most people are on the fence about them.
But why wouldn’t they work? We know puffing things is an effec-tive way to get stuff into your bloodstream (like asthma meds). But it may not be the case for vitamins, says Julie Devinsky, a clinical dietician in NYC. “Our gastrointestinal tract is designed to absorb nutrients,” Julie explains. Since lungs don’t function the same way, it’s hard to know if inhaled vitamins will enter your bloodstream.
“These devices also emit tiny chemical particles that are deposited into the far reaches of the lungs, which causes inflammation,” says Dr Humberto. Short term, that might lead to a cough or bronchitis. But so far, it’s hard to say how much damage it could do later.
The heat that these devices require to turn vitamin juice into vapour could also affect the safety of the ingredients. Take diacetyl, an organic flavouring in some e-cigarettes. When heated to super-hot temps, it’s been linked to a condition that scars lungs, causing you to dry-cough or feel short of breath, says Albert Rizzo, Chief Medical Officer, American Lung Association. Most brands claim that their products are diacetyl-free, but since they aren’t regulated, you just have to take their word for it. And there’s not enough research to say for sure that the other ingredients are harmless when vaped, he says.
Bottom line: right now, science isn’t sure if this is legit or even safe, so you’re better off getting your nutrients the old-school way—by eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies. Boring? Yep. Equally Insta-friendly? Totally.