Glycerol is a type of naturally occurring chemical that is used for a broad range of different purposes. It is used as medicine for a number of different conditions and the FDA has given its approval for certain doses and uses.
Among the reasons that many people take glycerol include improving exercise performance, enhancing weight loss and boosting the ability of the body to replace lost water from having vomited or had diarrhea. Glaucoma patients may also be able to benefit from its effects that reduce the pressure within the eye. Many athletes look to this substance to help them to avoid dehydration. For those reasons, it is generally taken orally.
On the other hand, it can also be taken intravenously. Many healthcare providers will administer glycerol by IV in order to reduce brain pressure in order to treat a spectrum of different conditions.
These can include encephalitis, meningitis, stroke, Reye’s syndrome, pseudotumor cerebri, central nervous system (CNS) tumors, CNS trauma, fainting on standing as a result of inadequate blood flow to the brain (postural syncope) and even to decrease the volume of the brain ahead of neurosurgical procedures.
Externally, glycerol is used by some people as a skin moisturizer in order to combat dryness and its associated discomforts.
Optometrists and other eye specialists will sometimes use glycerol solutions within the eye in order to reduce corneal fluid ahead of an eye exam.
Glycerol is also used rectally as a laxative.
That said, it is not actually proven to be effective for all those purposes. According to scientific research, the benefit this ingredient is most likely to have for home use is to ease constipation when used as a rectal suppository.
Preliminary research has indicated that using this substance orally will likely not benefit dieters who are hoping to lose weight. It is also not likely to provide performance benefits when used ahead of exercise and taken orally. Research is also increasingly showing that intravenous use of glycerol to treat acute stroke is probably not effective.
For the rest of the conditions for which glycerol is sometimes used, there is insufficient evidence to show whether or not it will be beneficial. This includes assisting people with intestinal struggles or to improve hydration in athletes. There haven’t been enough studies to make any conclusions regarding the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of this substance.
Speak with your doctor before beginning the use of this ingredient for any purpose, including weight loss.