What Is Vegetable Glycerin? Uses, Benefits, And Side effects!
Vegetable glycerin, also popularly known as glycerine or glycerol, is a clear liquid prepared from coconut, soybean, or palm oils. Vegetable glycerin is odourless ad it has a sweet, mild taste. The consistency of glycerin is similar to a syrup.
Vegetable glycerin is especially popular in the cosmetic industry due to its unique properties and its other uses. It might also provide certain fantastic health benefits ranging from strengthened gut to skin health and better hydration.
Please keep reading to learn what is vegetable glycerin, its uses, side effects, and benefits.
What is vegetable glycerin?
Glycerin is sugar alcohol generated from animal products, petroleum, or plants. Vegetable glycerin, as the name suggests, is a variant of glycerin derived explicitly from plant oils. It is said that this variant of glycerin was discovered accidentally nearly two centuries ago by heating a blend of lead monoxide with olive oil.
But then it became industrially and economically significant in the late 1800 century when it was used first to create dynamite.
Vegetable glycerin is currently made by heating vegetable fats rich in triglycerides such as coconut oil, soy oil, or palm oil. They are heated together with a powerful alkali, for instance, lye or heated under pressure.
This heating causes the glycerin to separate from the fatty acids and blend with water, thus converting into a sweet-tasting odourless liquid having syrup-like consistency.
There are numerous uses, benefits, and applications of vegetable glycerin. Once you learn what vegetable glycerin is, you will know all of them.
Typical uses of vegetable glycerin
Vegetable glycerin is used widely in cosmetic, food, as well as pharmaceutical industries. For example, if it is frequently added to ay food items to water-based ingredients and oil to mix correctly, thus moistening or sweetening the final product formed.
It is also used to prevent ice crystals from forming in any frozen food, such as ice cream, low-fat frozen yoghurt, or other desserts. Glycerin is a common item in many pharmaceutical drugs, including suppositories, heart medications, anaesthetics, and medications for cough.
In addition to so many uses, you will also find glycerin in some kinds of toothpaste as it aids in preventing your toothpaste from hardening or drying in the tube itself. Other than that, it is also commonly added to many soaps, lotions, candles, makeup items, and deodorants.
Now that you are familiar with vegetable glycerin and its uses let’s see some potential benefits to getting more profound insights into the product.
Potential benefits of vegetable glycerin
Vegetable glycerin is claimed to be a product that possesses multiple health benefits. However, out of so many claimed benefits, only a few are supported by science. All the related studies are small and very few. In such cases, always keep in mind that we require more studies to examine the benefits and see if the claims made are valid.
Here are some benefits of glycerin that have some research to support the advantages.
1. Acts as a skin moisturizer
Vegetable glycerin is a widely popular ingredient in the skincare industry. As you already know, glycerin has moisturizing power, which makes it beneficial as a skincare product.
Research has shown that applying vegetable glycerin to the skin might gradually enhance the suppleness and smoothness of your skin. Using only the crams that have glycerin in some amount might increase your skin’s hydration in less than ten days.
A study observed that a cream prepared from glycerin was more effective than some creams made from hyaluronic acid or silicone oil. It also prevents loss of moisture from the skin and hydrates it making it soft and supple.
2. Promotes overall skin health
Vegetable glycerin might lead to better health by helping soothe your skin if it is irritated. It also protects against infections and supports the fast healing of wounds. Studies have shown that applying products with glycerin in good proportion might protect your skin agast microbes and irritants as well as calm wounded and inflamed products.
Moreover, using vegetable glycerin is beneficial as it acts as a barrier and safeguards your skin from some aspects, including cold and wind.
Another study has reported that using vegetable glycerin might be more beneficial than a placebo at decreasing the sensations of smarting in someone suffering from eczema. However, it appears to have negligible effects on drying, itching, stinging, or irritation.
3. It may reduce constipation
Vegetable glycerin might provide some comfort if you are suffering from constipation. This is because it helps draw water inside the gut. This type of laxative effect allows the digested food to move through the stomach smoothly, providing comfort.
For such reasons, vegetable glycerin is often used as a suppository. A study observed that glycerin suppositories were more effective in reducing constipation caused as a result of certain pain-killing medicines than other laxative types.
In one more study conducted, a glycerin enema was observed to be 16.5% more useful at relieving constipation than a liquid soap enema.
4. It might boost athletic performance and hydration
Glycerin might also help boost hydration, which certainly helps to improve athletic performance in different activities and sports. Dehydration can impact your athletic performance significantly. It is mainly seen when you sweat a lot, and sweat exceeds more than 2% of the body weight.
A great strategy to prevent dehydration is to intake enough liquids after the workout and before the exercises. However, it seems impractical to drink water or any other liquid during certain activities. In such circumstances, drinking plenty of water beforehand is the key.
The issue with drinking a lot of water in a very short time is that some notion of the fluid is usually lost through urination after an hour or so.
Yet, in one meta-analysis, it was seen that adding 1.1g per kg of body weight to the amount of water drunk ere the exercises increased fluid retention by as much as 50% as opposed to water alone. Vegetable glycerin might lead to some improvements in yr athletic performance.
In another case study, a glycerin drink was prepared. It was seen that it was more effective than water or other sports drinks at increasing hydration in athletes who have lost vital amounts of water due to sweating between the workouts.
You are now familiar with what is vegetable glycerin, its uses, benefits, etc. Let’s see if there are any side effects you should be concerned with.
Potential side effects of vegetable glycerin
While vegetable glycerin is generally considered safe and non-toxic, someone who is consuming glycerin orally might witness some side effects. Some people do not see any adverse effects of using it.
Possible side effects of vegetable glycerin include the following:
- mild headaches
This is the reason one must seek medical advice if they wish to use glycerin orally. If you are applying glycerin as a topical cream for moisturization, you will hardly see side effects.
Vegetable glycerin might also cause an allergic reaction. However, this is very rare. For instance, a study from 2016 indicates that someone who received an enema blend comprising of glycerin developed skin rashes. In chronic or severe cases, an allergic reaction as a result of glycerin might lead to Anaphylaxis.
Due to the consistency of vegetable glycerin, some people might use it as a lubricant for the vagina, but this should be avoided. It was seen to increase the development of yeast infections. Therefore it is advised not to use it as a lubricant as it may increase the risk and make you more susceptible to yeast infections.
Since glycerin comes under the class of sugar alcohol that our body cannot absorb completely, using too much — both alone or in foods — might also cause problems like gas and diarrhoea.
A person might want to consider performing a patch test before using glycerin to make sure their skin does no great negatively to any product that has glycerin. You can apply a small quality of glycerin and wait for a few hours to see if your skin is creating negatively to glycerin or not.
Most people do not realize what is vegetable glycerin. If you are breastfeeding or expecting, avoid using anything that has minimum pieces of evidence. Not enough material is there when it comes to using vegetable glycerin during pregnancy days. Try staying on the safer side and prevent using it.
Glycerin might not be safe when it is injected intravenously. This is because it may damage your red blood cells severely.
Do not try to vape vegetable glycerin or glycerol. Researchers have found that using electronic cigarettes filled with vegetable glycerin might cause lung inflammation over time.
The Bottom Line
So, what is vegetable glycerin? Vegetable glycerin is a sweet and transparent liquid that arises from vegetable or plant oils. Glycerin may also come from other sources, such as animal sources, but vegetable glycerin is a vegan option for people who wish to avoid animal products. It is a popular ingredient that companies might add to certain cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and Food products.
Due to vegetable glycerin’s ability to hold moisture, it might be advantageous for skin wellness, digestive health, and enhancing athletic performance. Nevertheless, it may cause certain gastrointestinal discomfort, and some people might also be allergic to glycerin. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare specialist before using any product that contains glycerin.
This was everything about vegetable glycerin, its uses, side effects, and some potential benefits.
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