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Side Effects of Vegetable Glycerin

by Gauri Kolhe

Sometimes you might have seen “vegetable glycerin” in different corners of supermarket like food corner, cosmetic corner and in medical shops. Do not get confuse between vegetable glycerin and glycerol, both refers the same thing.

Usually glycerin used for provide moisture to the skin in cosmetic and as add as additive in medicines.

Glycerin has been used on a big commercial scale. Despite the vast use a question always arises about the safety of using vegetable glycerin. Although vegetable glycerin is beneficial in many ways, this also has some side effects such as irritation and problem in lungs after inhaling glycerol for a long time.

This article contains information about safety aspects of vegetable glycerin.

Vegetable glycerin

American Chemistry Council (ACC) defined vegetable glycerin or glycerol as sugar alcohol and it has been widely used in many industries. In food and beverages, glycerin can be used for the purpose of flavoring and food coloring as solvent glycerin is used in candy and soda.

Vegetable glycerin can also be used in the preparation of cakes, meats, candies and cheese as humectants or softening agent.

Vegetable glycerin can also play a key role in food industry as preservative and sweetener. Due to the preservative nature glycerol also used in pharmaceutical industries for preparing capsules and other dosage form.

ACC explains that you can easily find vegetable glycerin in cosmetics like toothpaste, hair conditioner, moisturizers and makeup products. Components that provide moisture to the food can also provide moisture to the skin and help make the skin soft and soothing. They also protect skin from the irritants.

Glycerol not only protect skin from irritants, this also protects internal surface from the irritants that is why glycerol is used in preparing cough syrup which protects throat from irritant that might induce cough.

Does Vegetable Glycerin use Safe or not?

Vegetable glycerin is categorized under the category of “generally recognized as safe” by united state food and drug administration (FDA). But still glycerol is a subject of controversy. A study conducted in December 2016 in environmental science & technology journal says that glycerol is reported as ingredient of vaping liquid.

It has been seen that E-cigarettes vaporize could be dangerous to lungs as this is a combination of propylene glycol and glycerol. As per mayo clinic, short-term data shows the sign of irritant to airways while there is no long term safety data available about inhaling vegetable glycerin   affects lung tissue.

When it comes to the cosmetic safety, a review published September 2014 in cosmetic ingredient review, examined the multiple studies in animal and human subjects the toxicity in oral and dermal use has been seen. Few instances of toxicity, irritation and sensitivity have been reported on long term use of glycerol.

Although most evidences reflects the safety of vegetable glycerin still glycerol is used as food additives even food and drug administration (FDA) accept the fact.

However the safety of additives regulates the safety measures for the additives as they provide safety, nutrition maintain freshness and also improve taste.

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