Is it safe to vape essential oils and vitamins?

By Editor on 24th Sep 2019

As vaping of tobacco substitutes and other substances come under scrutiny by various States and Healthcare Authorities, there’s one area that so far seems to have escaped the attention of these authorities: vaping of essential oils or vitamins.

In the last few years, several companies have started selling vitamins and essentials oils specifically for vaping as opposed to ingesting or applying them in other ways. But there is very little research been done to see if this is either effective or safe. But the feeling among most experts is that it is best avoided….

According to healthline.com “Amid all the controversy regarding their safety, some people looking for a healthier alternative have started vaping essential oils. Products for vaping essential oils are still very new. Makers of these products claim that you can reap all the benefits of aromatherapy by vaping essential oils, but should you do it? Healthline.com asked Dr Susan Chiarito to discuss the risks and benefits of vaping essential oils. Chiarito is a family physician in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians‘ Commission on Health of the Public and Science, where she’s actively involved in tobacco policy development and cessation advocacy.

Asked if vaping essential oils is safe, Chiarito warned that, “Essential oils are a volatile organic compound (VOC) that when heated over 150 to 180° Fahrenheit can convert to abnormal compounds that can be damaging to our lungs, mouth, teeth, and nose on contact with the burning compound. Essential oil vape pens are very new, and there isn’t any research available on vaping essential oils specifically”. According to Chiarito, the side effects of vaping essential oils depend on the oil used and may include: coughing, aggravation of asthma itching and swelling of the throat.

The long-term effects of vaping aren’t fully understood. Are there any benefits?
While there’s evidence of the benefits of aromatherapy and certain essential oils, there’s currently no proof that vaping essential oil — or vaping anything for that matter — has any benefits. Chiarito advises waiting for evidence-based research that shows the safety and benefits to a person before trying it. Anyone who’s considering vaping should be aware of the potential dangers.

The argument propounded by the Vitamin Vape companies is that by ingesting essential oils or vitamins directly into the lungs it is quicker and more effective than taking them in pill form or applying topically. Carly Cassella writing for ScienceAlert.com explains what’s going on: “The vaping of vitamins is a new health craze being sold by some companies as a better alternative to shots and pills. But while some companies claim the benefits are scientifically proven, experts have pointed out that actual studies are meagre and extremely outdated”.

The vaping of vitamins is a new health craze being sold by some companies as a better alternative to shots and pills. 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 nothing about the safety or efficacy of inhaling vitamins. VitaminVape is just one of the companies that are providing these products, claiming its products are safe and non-toxic. They say “according to the existing research on B12 inhalation: This simple form of therapy is not only effective but safe and economical.”

Cassella claims VitaminVape’s research is based on very old findings. “Although these studies are half a century old, they represent the most recent research on the absorption of vitamins in the 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 vaping B12”.

As one expert pointed out “You’re putting something inside your body and it’s unknown, and therefore the risks are also unknown” The FDA told inverse.com that vitamin vaping liquids will probably not be regulated as supplements, because you can’t eat them, you inhale them.

“Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, a dietary supplement must, among other requirements, be intended for ingestion,” Khan says. “Accordingly, a vitamin product for inhalation cannot be legally marketed as a dietary supplement. Instead of filling a vape pen with an e-liquid containing nicotine, some are filling them with vitamin-based concoctions. The first of these “vitamin vaping” companies launched in 2016 but now, scientists have emerged in publications like Men’s Health, Elle and The New York Post, commenting on potentially dangerous health effects off swapping out a vitamin pill for an e-liquid.

Local Essential Oil specialist and a regular contributor to the magazine, Sheila McGinnis adds: “I know of no benefits in vaping vitamins or essential oils.  I know there are several “anecdotal” stories out there, but there’s no proof.   Ehen essential oils become heated, the oil evaporates and loses its efficacy. The problem with vaping is that some pens/devices can heat up and cause a reaction. When the vegetable glycerin gets heated to a high temperature the chemical substance changes and becomes very irritating to our mouth, nose, and even lungs.  My honest opinion is it’s a marketing scheme”.

When essential oils become heated, the oil evaporates and loses its efficacy.

Ultimately many experts say that the Lungs are just not designed to be used in this way, they are there to provide the body with Oxygen, not vitamins and oil extracts. Until more research has been done the overall recommendation is to continue the traditional method of dispensing and using essential oils and vitamins and in close consultation with your chosen healthcare professional.

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