State College, PA--Chewing gum is an effective delivery system for water-soluble vitamins, suggests research published in theJournal of Functional Foodsand reported on by Science Daily.

In the study, researchers from Penn State University had 15 people chew two off-the-shelf supplemented gums, and measured the levels of eight vitamins released into their saliva and the levels of seven vitamins in their plasma. An identical gum product, minus the vitamin supplements, was used as a placebo in the study.

The researchers found 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 study participants. Plasma vitamin concentrations were drastically increased compared to the placebo.

Of major significance, according to Joshua Lambert, professor of food science in the College of Agricultural Sciences was that water-soluble vitamins were almost completely extracted from the gum during chewing, while fat-soluble vitamins were not completely released. “Improving the release of fat-soluble vitamins from the gum base is an area for future development for the manufacturer.” The next step, he added, would be to enroll vitamin-deficient people in a longer trial to determine if gum can elevate plasma levels of vitamins long-term.