Dispatches from Vitafoods Europe 2013

Chewing gum developed to battle common cold

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Fertin Pharma gives the common cold something to chew on with its ImmuneGum containing plant extract Echinacea, vitamin C and zinc
Fertin Pharma gives the common cold something to chew on with its ImmuneGum containing plant extract Echinacea, vitamin C and zinc

Related tags Asthma Xylitol

Private label gum maker Fertin Pharma has developed an immunity chewing gum that it claims can help guard against the common cold.

ImmuneGum contains plant extract Echinacea, vitamin C and zinc and comes in a blackberry-mint flavor.

Explored probiotics

We spoke to Thomas Jahn, marketing manager for Fertin Pharma, at Vitafoods in Geneva earlier this week.

“It’s a product you take when you’re beginning to feel the onset of a cold. It’s designed so you take three pieces a day and then that should cover it.”

“We wanted to develop a chewing gum that we didn’t have in our range. One gap that we saw was something for cough and cold and immunity.

“We started looking at what ingredients would be interesting in that field. Probiotics is one ingredient that is interesting, but it’s also one of the more difficult ingredients.”

“So we tried to look beyond probiotics and we fell upon Echinacea, vitamin C and zinc because all three ingredients are back by a lot of clinical studies.”

EFSA health claims

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) immunity health claims exist for vitamin C​ and zinc​, meaning brand owners are able to make an immunity claim on the label.

“We try to spice it up with Echinacea, which although it doesn’t have an EFSA claim, has a lot of documentation and studies as an ingredient for cough and cold,”​ said Jahn.

A clinical trial​ of 246 people with the common cold found that intaking 13.56 mg Echinacea purpurea extract, the same amount in each piece of Fertin’s gum, three times daily for seven days relieved cold symptoms more than a placebo.

Jahn said that pharmacies were a likely trade channel for the product.

Gum production and composition

The gum is made through Fertin’s patented bi-layered compressed chewing gum technology, which uses a dry and cool manufacturing process to incorporate active ingredients.

Each piece of ImmuneGum contains a 30 mg dose of vitamin C that gives 37.5% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C in three pieces.

A single piece also contains 3.33 mg of zinc that meets 33.3% of the recommended daily allowance when three pieces are consumed.

The company recommends not consuming Echinacea for longer than three weeks. The upper tolerable intake for zinc is 40 mg for adults and 13-23 mg for children. The limit for vitamin C is 2000 mg for adults and 400-800 for children.

The gum is sweetened with xylitol, sorbitol, aspartame and acesulfame-K.

Related topics R&D Gum Health & functionality

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