The stomach may be the quickest way to a man’s heart, but it’s a roundabout way to anyone’s bloodstream. That’s why Harvard University biomedical engineer David Edwards invented Le Whif breathable vitamins, which get into blood faster than pills do.
When you swallow vitamins, your intestinal tract and liver can degrade the active ingredients and also slow their absorption into your body. Breathable vitamins, on the other hand, skip the digestive system and dissolve into the highly permeable tissue lining your cheeks.
To make Le Whif, Edwards (who also pioneered inhalable chocolate, coffee and insulin) ground various vitamins into aerosolized particles, mixed them with different teas to enhance flavor, and packed the mixture into a lipstick-shaped inhaler that you draw on like a pipe to pull the particles out. A plug at the end of the device directs the vitamin spray upward and prevents the mist from shooting down the throat and making the user choke.
The manufacturer Breathable Foods sells three varieties: green tea with vitamins C and E, hibiscus tea with a multivitamin, and wine tea, which delivers vitamin D and 20 milligrams of resveratrol, a compound found in the skin of red grapes that may fight cancer and inflammation. Eight inhales a day supply 100 percent of the daily dose of each vitamin.
Edwards’s team is exploring other edibles, too. Food substitutes, he says, provide flavor without adding calories, satisfying cravings in a healthy way. Mmm, huffable mac ’n’ cheese.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.