New study on health benefits of chewing gum could help fight vitamin deficiencies in diet

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

The benefits of chewing gum maybe a surprise to some. Pic: GettyImagesMrKornFlakes
The benefits of chewing gum maybe a surprise to some. Pic: GettyImagesMrKornFlakes

Related tags Health Chewing gum

‘A number of commercially-available chewing gums contain health-related ingredients including vitamins. The ability of chewing gum to deliver these ingredients to the plasma has not been well-studied,’ according to the report.

According to latest figures published in a report the Journal of Functional Foods​, published by the Department of Food Science At Penn State University, on the effectiveness of vitamin-supplemented chewing gums for the delivery of vitamins, approximately 50% of Americans chew gum with sales exceeding $4.8bn in 2015.

As Confectionery News reported in 2014​, functional chewing gums containing ingredients such as botanical extracts and vitamins are commercially available and represent approximately 14% of the US market.

Potential advantages

The detailed report, which examined the release and plasma levels of a panel of vitamins from two supplemented gums in 15 healthy human participants, claims there are several potential advantages to using chewing gums as delivery vehicles for vitamins compared to bolus formulations (i.e. pills, capsules, and gummies).

First, because chewing gums are used habitually, these products can be supplemented with much lower levels of vitamins than bolus dosage forms, potentially reducing the risk of overdose and facilitating better titration of doses.

Second, the popularity of chewing gum could increase compliance compared to other supplement forms.

Graphical abstract
How gum delivers benefits into the human body. Pic Elsevier

The report looks at what it describes as the ‘chronic or transient vitamin deficiencies still exist in the United States’, which can cause developmental abnormalities, growth deficiencies, visual impairment, and compromised immune and cognitive functions.

Component vitamins

Although vitamin-containing chewing gums are commercially available, the extent to which these products release their component vitamins, and their efficacy in influencing blood levels of vitamins has not been examined, until the publication of this recent report.

The report authors say the objectives of the study “were to determine the extent to which a subset of water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins are released from the gum matrix into the saliva during a typical chew, and to evaluate the impact of chewing these supplemented gums on acute plasma levels of the constituent vitamins in a population of healthy human participants​.”

This study provide data that “can be used in the design of future human intervention studies to assess the efficacy of these products for the mitigation or correction of vitamin deficiencies, and to guide the development of novel formulations of vitamin-supplemented chewing gums with improved performance characteristics​”.

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