Could chewing gum be an effective vitamin supplement?
Vitamin deficiencies can be serious conditions that often go undiagnosed, making vitamin-supplementing chewing gums the latest topic of discussion. No research has been undertaken to measure chewing gum’s capacity to deliver vital ingredients to the blood plasma, so researchers from Penn State University decided to measure the efficacy of nutritional gums.
The researchers found increases in plasma of fat-soluble vitamins such as the vitamin-A derivative retinol and the vitamin-E derivative alpha-tocopherol in supplemented gum chewers.
The researchers studied two vitamin-supplemented chewing gums on 15 people. They measured the levels of eight vitamins released into their saliva. In a separate experiment with the same participants, the researchers measured the levels of seven vitamins in their plasma. The researchers also used a placebo chewing gum.
The researchers found that that retinol (A1), thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacinamide (B3), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid, cyanocobalamin (B12), ascorbic acid (C) and alpha-tocopherol (E) were released into the saliva of the participants who chewed the supplemented gums. The participants’ blood plasma vitamin concentrations (depending on the supplemented gum they chewed) were increased for retinol by 75 to 96 per cent, pyridoxine by 906 to 1077 per cent, ascorbic acid bu 64 to 141 per cent and alpha-tocopherol by 418 to 502 per cent, compared to the placebo.
The study also found that water-soluble vitamins such as vitamins B6 and C increased in the plasma of participants who chewed supplemented gum, compared to participants who chewed the placebo gum. The researchers also found increases in plasma of several fat-soluble vitamins such as the vitamin-A derivative retinol and the vitamin-E derivative alpha-tocopherol in supplemented gum chewers. For all the products that were tested, the water-soluble vitamins were completely extracted from the gum but fat-soluble vitamins were not released completely.
The researchers recommend undertaking further studies to see if chewing vitamin-supplemented gum regularly for a longer period of time can increase levels in blood plasma. However, chewing gum has still been found to be a viable strategy to increase the levels of vitamins in subjects.
Source: Journal of Functional Foods
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