12 January - 20 June 2016

Chewing gum may be effective for delivering vitamins

A study by Pennsylvania State University scientists has explored the possibility of using chewing gum for delivering both water- and fat-soluble vitamins. Khoo et al. carried out two experiments, the first focused on the concentration of vitamins extracted from chewing gum into the saliva, and the second investigated the resultant vitamin levels in blood plasma over a 10-hour period/

A study by Pennsylvania State University scientists has explored the possibility of using chewing gum for delivering both water- and fat-soluble vitamins. Khoo et al. carried out two experiments, the first focused on the concentration of vitamins extracted from chewing gum into the saliva, and the second investigated the resultant vitamin levels in blood plasma over a 10-hour period.

Two gums were used in the study containing up to 12 vitamins, including vitamin C, B vitamins and vitamin E, these were used alongside a placebo gum with zero vitamin content for comparison.  The gums were tested on 15 healthy human participants, aged between 22 to 52 years. Their results showed an affinity for water-soluble vitamins to partition into saliva and, hence, found in higher concentrations in plasma, compared to the fat-soluble compounds.

The first experiment examined the release of the vitamins from the chewing gum into the participants saliva over a 30-minute chewing period.  All saliva was expectorated and separated into the following time periods: 0-2, 2-5, 5-15 and 15-30 minutes. Compared to the saliva taken immediately prior to gum chewing, the water-soluble vitamins, namely B3, B6 and C, were almost completely extracted from the gum after the 30-minute chew, with the peak levels being reached after approximately 5 minutes. The fat-soluble vitamins, A, D3 and E, reached their peak saliva concentrations at around 2 minutes, however, the overall extraction of available vitamin was 65, 44 and 55% respectively. These results were justified by considering the medium in which the vitamins favoured, with the water-soluble vitamins being attracted to the water-based saliva and the fat-soluble compounds favouring the hydrophobic gum polymers over the half an hour period.

Subsequent experiments targeted the vitamin levels present in plasma following a 10-hour period with low-vitamin meals and gum chewing at 0, 0.75, 4 and 8 hours for each participant. Blood samples were collected at 0.25, 0.5, 1.5. 4.25 and 10 hours following the 30-minute standardised chewing and vitamin concentrations determined using HPLC with a UV detector. Overall, there was an increase in vitamin concentration in plasma for the participants chewing the supplemented-gum compared to the placebo gum. The concentration of water-soluble vitamins B6 and C increased rapidly and remained high over the 10-hour period, whereas, the fat-soluble A and E vitamins gradually increased and did not reach comparable levels to B6 and C. Khoo et al. also noted there were no significant changes in the plasma levels of vitamins B1, B2 and D3 despite their release in the first experiment. The low levels of the fat-soluble vitamins could be attributed to the reduced extraction during chewing as well as the affinity of hydrophobic compounds to partition into tissues, resulting in a low plasma concentration.

This study provides supporting evidence for the ability of chewing gum to be used as a medium for delivering vitamins to prevent and/or treat vitamin deficiencies with the potential to deliver both water- and fat-soluble vitamins. Khoo et al. proposed their work could be used to further assess the efficacy of chewing gum providing dietary supplements and future work could be focused on tailoring such mediums to improve the bio-accessibility of fat-soluble vitamins.

RSSL provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets.  It provides a full vitamin and mineral analysis service to assist with labelling, due diligence, claim substantiation and stability. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

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