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People Are Vaping Vitamins Now. Here’s Why Maybe That’s Not a Great Idea

The vaping of vitamins is a new health craze being sold by some companies as a better alternative to shots and pills.

By puffing on nicotine-free, tobacco-free vitamin cocktails, consumers can supposedly ensure they are receiving all their basic nutritional needs.

 

But while some companies claim the benefits are scientifically proven, experts have pointed out that actual studies are meagre and extremely outdated.

“To me, [using vitamins and nutrients] is a marketing ploy to sell this product and make it look healthier. Consumers associate vitamins with health,” Regan Bailey, a nutritional epidemiologist at Purdue University, told Scientific American.

“These products might be completely safe, but they might not be. We know literally nothing about the safety or efficacy of inhaling vitamins.”

VitaminVape is just one of the companies that is cashing in on this new and unsubstantiated fad.

It sells vitamin B12 vapour that it claims is “completely non-toxic.”

The science page of its website states that vitamin B12 is immediately absorbed when it is inhaled and is “many times more efficient than pill absorption, and comparable only to injections (though injections are still the most efficient).”

Yet somehow its front page has no qualms declaring that its product is “better than shots and pills.”

Beyond this minor inconsistency, the bigger worry is the company’s list of peer-reviewed sources, which are meant to support its product.

 

Out of the six sources listed, half are about the benefits of the B12 vitamin itself, and the other half are peer-reviewed studies from the 1950s and 1960s.

Despite the fact that these studies are half a century old, they represent the most recent research on the absorption of vitamins in lungs.

What’s more, these studies used a “cool mist” and not a vaporiser. To this day, there are no studies that have been done on actually vaping B12.

Given the extraordinary lack of modern research, experts are warning that vitamin vaping may not work and may not even be safe.

Ron Crystal, a practicing pulmonologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian, told Vox that while inhaling vitamins may seem like a “rational concept”, it is still unclear how well the lungs actually take in nutrients and what the effects might be.

“You’re putting something inside your body and it’s unknown,” Crystal said.

Unfortunately, this means that any possible risks are also unknown.

VitaminVape claims that “vitamin B12 is NOT sensitive to the heat associated with vaporising,” but there is zero evidence to back that claim up.

 

In fact, the link that the company provides for this claim doesn’t even take you to a proper study, just the University of Utah’s latest research and trends.

Even among vitamin vape companies there is debate over which nutrients could be potentially harmful when inhaled. Some companies told Scientific American that they thought Vitamin D was toxic, while others said they thought B12 might be carcinogenic when taken orally.

Risk assessment is a major problem with vaping in general. It just hasn’t been around long enough for proper long-term studies, although we do know there are risks of inhaling heavy metals, and potential damage to the immune system from vaping the sweeteners used in some flavours.

“The concern with anything that we vape, whether there’s nicotine or not, is that we really don’t know a whole lot about what happens when chemicals are heating up and inhaled through the device into the lungs,” Albert Rizzo, a senior advisor to the American Lung Association, told Elle.

“We can’t say that there aren’t other particles and chemicals that are getting inhaled, and there’s no answer at this point in time.”

 

Even Mehmet Oz, the king of all snake oil experts, has warned people not be fooled by the health claims of vaping vitamins.

“I think that unless you’re vaping as a means of quitting cigarette smoking, it’s a bad idea,” he said.

“Adding vitamins doesn’t turn it into a health move. In fact, the American Lung Association thinks you shouldn’t vape at all; you really don’t want to be putting particles into your system that haven’t been tested.”

Well, this just might be the one time we end up agreeing with him.

 

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