Tokyo-based Fuji Spinning Co. has a new idea for people who can’t remember to take their vitamins in the morning. The textile manufacturer has developed a yarn impregnated with vitamin C, called V-Up. While spilling a glass of orange juice on one’s pants can accomplish the same end, the innovation is that the normally water-soluble vitamin can last up to 30 washings, the company claims. Rather than being dissolved by water, it responds to sebum, a grease that people exude through their skin.
The company claims that when the vitamin dissolves in sebum, it can be absorbed by the skin. Samples of fabric made from V-Up did not have an unusual feel or smell.
There is some scientific evidence that vitamin C applied to the skin can help to protect people from the ultraviolet solar rays that cause sunburn. Makers of beauty products have been pushing the idea of topical vitamin application in recent years.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration recommends adults ingest 60 milligrams of vitamin C daily, though many nutritionists recommend higher intake levels, particularly for women and smokers. An eight-ounce glass of orange juice contains 100 milligrams of the vitamin.
In general, people are seen as being at low risk for overdose of vitamin C because it is normally water soluble, which means the body can easily excrete unneeded amounts of it. However, some doctors have recommended that daily intake not exceed 2,000 milligrams. Some medical literature recommends against ingesting large amounts of vitamin C in dietary supplements, partly because it is generally seen as better to consume vitamins in the form of food, and partly because the vitamin may pose some health risk at highly elevated levels.
A Fuji spokeswoman said it’s not clear how much vitamin C one would absorb while wearing a garment made of V-Up. Absorption would vary based on factors such as how much fabric was in direct contact with the skin and how many times the garment had been washed.
The company sells cotton and synthetic-fiber fabrics made with V-Up for $6 to $7 a yard. A Fuji subsidiary is also selling V-Up garments, primarily T-shirts and underwear, under the Coscob name. Fuji plans to begin selling the fabric in the U.S. shortly.
“The impression we got here in New York is that designers wanted something new,” said the spokeswoman, while acknowledging that the main value of the product may be its novelty.
“It’s not like it’s really going to make you very healthy all of a sudden,” she said. “But if the garments are the same cost and one gives you vitamins, why not?”