Inhalable Vitamins Make Pill-Popping A Quaint 20th-Century Ritual

From the "Solutions to Problems You Never Knew You Had" department

Why swallow your vitamins when you can huff them? That’s the general thinking behind the world’s first breathable vitamin, called LeWhif Vitamin, which launched in the UK earlier this month and is expected to hit the US market this week.

The creation of Harvard biomedical engineer David Edwards, inventor of inhalable insulin, inhalable chocolate and inhalable coffee, LeWhif Vitamin is a lipstick-like delivery device that works a lot like a miniature pipe, only instead of inhaling smoke with each toke, you inhale a fine powder of healing supplements (a sort of anti-smoke) that dissolves in your mouth.

By skipping the digestive system, which breaks down pills and diverts many of their active ingredients to the liver, LeWhif Vitamins claims to deliver more concentrated doses of nutrients into the bloodstream. Eight hits supplies 100 percent of the daily recommended amount of A, B1, B2, B3 and B5.

Whiffing takes practice, however. When I tried my first hit of inhalable chocolate a few weeks ago with Edwards, I nearly choked to death. Edwards quickly corrected my technique. “It’s just a gentle breath, like this,” he said, as he took a quick hit off his coffee pipe. Inhale too hard and the particles can fly into the back of your throat. Once I got the technique down, the experience was surprisingly pleasant, and almost delicious, although my illicit-seeming huffs drew suspicious glances from strangers. I’ve yet to sample the vitamins, but they work the same way, and come in three tea flavors—Antioxidant Green Tea, Age Smart Wine Tea (with resveratrol) and Hibiscus Tea.

Inhalable vitamins are an innovative alternative to those one-a-day horse pills that leave your urine neon, but huffing supplements is insanely pricey: In England, a 3-day supply costs £4.99 (or about $8; no word yet on US pricing). That said, the money goes to a worthy cause, as it funds Edwards’ novel idea laboratory, called ArtScience Labs, which helps student inventors bring daring innovations, a la huffable supplements, to market.