Last Bite: Gumming Up Support


Gum may not be the first thought that comes to mind as a nutritional delivery system, but it’s being considered more and more, these days.

Functional ingredients are commonly challenged by their delivery methods, as taste, ease of digestion, and even proper absorption can be serious obstacles. For these reasons, innovative delivery systems remain at the forefront of today’s nutrition. And one idea making recent strides has been under our noses the entire time.

Gum may not be the first thought that comes to mind as a nutritional delivery system, but it’s being considered more and more, these days. Beyond gum’s immediate appeal to younger audiences, it can provide for a highly efficient oral absorption of some nutrients.

Gum is already showing its worth as a way of combating a variety of health conditions that begin at or near the mouth. Last fall, Frutarom (North Bergen, NJ) introduced a prototype for a gum with the probiotic BLIS K12. Using strains of Streptococcus salivarius, the probiotic BLIS K12 is intended to help combat bad bacteria in the mouth and respiratory tract. The BLIS K12 gum is being marketed for immune-system support to stave off conditions like strep throat, sinus infections, and halitosis (bad breath).

As recently as 2008, clinical science has supported S. salivarius as a well-tolerated and effective bacteria against pathogens.

Thanks to BLIS K12, CulturedCare (Coquitlam, BC, Canada) claims to own the first probiotic gum launch in Canada. The company’s gum tablets of the same name were introduced in February, containing 20 mg of S. salivarius and a reported 500 million bacteria at manufacturing.

Frutarom’s BLIS K12 gum can also be noted for the challenges the company confronted with formulating the gum. Rather than using heat in its production process, BLIS K12 is cold-pressed and without excipients or binders. The company says that this decision was crucial, as probiotics cannot withstand heat and moisture.

CulturedCare stresses the importance of utilizing up-to-date technology for the manufacturing of this gum, noting that the full manufacturing process allows for a 100% release of BLIS K12. CulturedCare’s gum is also all-natural, using xylitol and stevia for natural sweetening.

Vitamin gummies and chewables tend to be a popular choice for children and those who just don’t want to swallow pills. But can you blow bubbles with a gummy or chewable? No.

That’s one advantage of VitaminGum. Regis Nesbitt, vice president of marketing and sales at Vitaball Inc. (Ft. Thomas, KY), says that his company launched VitaminGum primarily to reach an audience of older females, who he says tend to be heavy gum chewers and nutrient-enhanced water users.

VitaminGum (with 12 pieces of gum per unit) provides 9 to 12 key nutrients in each of three available formulas.

Since launching VitaminGum last fall, the company has been planning a new children’s gum ball with electrolytes to be used for sports activities. The company is also considering fresh-breath vitamin gum.

Emerging Science
Speaking of fresh breath, new research published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice suggests that nutrients for periodontal health could benefit from a gum delivery system.

Iranian researchers recruited 72 high-school students with gingivitis for a double-blinded, randomized study in which students were assigned to a gum fortified with Salvadora persica-an herb commonly recommended for dental hygiene-or placebo. For two weeks, students were assigned to one of four groups: persica and dental scaling, persica and no scaling, placebo and scaling, or placebo and no scaling.

Various measures of dental health were measured at baseline, seven, and 14 days into the trial. Compared to placebo, the persica gum was found to have a significant effect on gingivital and bleeding index.

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