What is vegetable glycerin?

Vegetable glycerin is the variant made from plant oils.

Even when adding our organic VG derived from soya bean glycerine, the extract liquid does not lose its potency.

Vegetable glycerin is widely used in the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.

For instance, it is often added to foods to help oil and water-based ingredients mix, sweetening, or moistening the final product.

It can also be used to prevent ice crystals from forming in frozen foods, such as low-fat frozen-yoghurt, ice cream and other desserts.

Glycerin is a common ingredient in pharmaceutical drugs, including heart medication, suppositories, cough remedies and anesthetics.

Additionally, you can find vegetable glycerin in toothpaste, as it helps prevent the toothpaste from drying out or hardening in the tube.

SUMMARY: Vegetable glycerin has several uses. The most popular are cosmetics, pharmaceutical drugs and food products.

Potential benefits

Vegetable glycerin is touted as a product with numerous health benefits.

However, only a few benefits are supported by science — and the related studies tend to be few and small. Keep in mind that more studies are needed on its health benefits.

The following benefits have the most research behind them.

1. May reduces constipation

Vegetable glycerin may provide some relief from constipation. That’s because it can draw water into your gut. This has a laxative effect, which helps digested food move through your gut more smoothly. For this reason, glycerin is often used as a suppository.

In one study, glycerin suppositories were significantly more effective at reducing constipation caused by pain-killing medication than other types of laxatives. In another study, a glycerin enema was 16.5% more effective at relieving constipation than a liquid soap enema.

2. May boost hydration and athletic performance

Glycerin may also boost hydration, which can improve your athletic performance.

Dehydration can greatly impair athletic performance, especially when sweat loss exceeds 2% of your body weight.

A good strategy to avoid dehydration is to drink enough liquids both before and during exercise. However, it can be impractical to drink during certain types of physical activity. In such a case, drinking plenty beforehand is key.

The problem with drinking large amounts in a short timespan is that a sizable portion of the fluid is generally lost through urine in the following hour.

However, in one meta-analysis, adding 2.4 grams of glycerin per pound of body weight (1.1 grams per kg) to water drunk before exercise increased fluid retention by 50% compared to water alone. Glycerin may also lead to small improvements in athletic performance.

In another study, a glycerin drink was also more effective than water or a sports drink at improving hydration in athletes who lost significant amounts of water through sweating during exercise.

SUMMARY: Vegetable glycerin may act as a moisturizer, reduce skin irritation, protect against infection and boost wound healing. It may also help relieve constipation and promote hydration and physical performance. That said, more studies are still needed.

Potential side effects

Vegetable glycerin is generally considered safe. 

SUMMARY: Vegetable glycerin is generally considered safe.

The bottom line

Vegetable glycerin is a clear, odorless and sweet-tasting liquid derived from vegetable fats. It is added to food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals and may offer health benefits, such as moisturized and resilient skin, relief from constipation, improved hydration and potentially better physical performance.


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