I have had personal success with oil pulling AND think the usual explications that I read are crap.
But, I have an alternative explanation.
I have worked as a compounding pharmacy technician and one of the great ways to boost the buccal absorption of drugs is to arrange to have them be suspended in an oil or an alcohol.
Furthermore, oral transmucosal drug
delivery bypasses first pass effect
and avoids pre-systemic elimination in
the GI tract. These factors make the
oral mucosal cavity a very attractive
and feasible site for systemic drug
Now, where they are talking about drugs, we might want to consider the uptake oil of fat nutrients that may help with conditions like sinus difficulties.
My theory is that the buccal swishing of oils (for the 10-20 minutes usually advocated) allows us to absorb some factors from the oil that would be lessened or destroyed by the digestive tracts processing.
If it was mechanical action, then doing this with water or beer should have the same effect.
(I have only tried the water version. GRIN)
Factors impacting sublingual absorption
The physical and chemical characteristics of a drug will determine how well it can be absorbed.
There are several factors which determine how substances (drug, vitamins or minerals) are absorbed inside the mouth:
Fat-soluble drugs are absorbed better when taken sublingually than are water-soluble ones.
Tissues inside the mouth, as any body tissue, consist of cells, and the cell membrane is lipoidal (fat-like). Because of this molecules of materials which are better soluble in fat can penetrate cell membranes more easily.
Small molecules penetrate through oral tissue better than larger molecules.
Molecules penetrate better than ions. (An ion is a charged molecule, or atom.)
Having this information, what can we say about sublingual absorption of spray vitamins?
- Based on the solubility factor, it seems that water-soluble vitamins (vitamins C, H, B complex) would not be absorbed as well as fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, K).
Recent studies show that small molecules (molecular weight less than 100) cross the oral mucosa easily.
Molecular weights of all vitamins are greater than 100. Vitamin C has the smallest weight of 176, and vitamin B12 has the highest molecular weight of 1357.
This means that vitamins might be absorbed sublingually - but not as well as substances with smaller molecules (for example, alcohol, with molecular weight of 46).
There are vitamins with neutral molecules, such as vitamins B3 and B12. Others have positively charged molecules - vitamin B1 (thiamine), and some vitamin molecules carry negative potential - vitamin C (ascorbic acid) or B2 phosphate.
As neutral molecules can be absorbed better than charged molecules (ions), it seems that some vitamins would be absorbed more easily in the mouth than would others.