Naturally Good 2019

Chew for health: Australian firm’s swallowable gum also delivers gut health gains

By Pearly Neo contact

- Last updated on GMT

Australian Food and Pharmaceutical Industries (AFPI) has launched a science-based chewing gum that aims to not only cleanse the mouth and eliminate bad breath, but also help heal the gut. ©AFPI
Australian Food and Pharmaceutical Industries (AFPI) has launched a science-based chewing gum that aims to not only cleanse the mouth and eliminate bad breath, but also help heal the gut. ©AFPI

Related tags: Australia, Chewing gum, Gut health

Australian Food and Pharmaceutical Industries (AFPI) has launched a science-based chewing gum that aims to not only cleanse the mouth and eliminate bad breath, but also help heal the gut.

Mast Chew is made of pistachio resin, essential mint oil and xylitol, making it plant-based and sugar-free.

Speaking to FoodNavigator-Asia​ at the Naturally Good Expo 2019 Business Summit, AFPI founder and CEO Dr Sharif Sharifi told us that the gum also contains nothing artificial, including the commonly added food additive E171, or titanium dioxide.

Titanium dioxide is found in over 900 common food products​, and a recent University of Sydney study demonstrated not only that it is found in ‘high quantities’​ in these products, and is as such consumed ‘in high proportion everyday by the general population’​, but also that it significantly increases the risk of cancer and gut diseases.

“Conventional chewing gum has titanium dioxide, which was recently banned in France for carcinogenic properties, but Mast Chew does not,”​ he said.

“It is also digestible when swallowed, and in fact we do recommend swallowing it – it has been scientifically proven to be assist in the healing of stomach ulcers.”

Pistachio resin has been the subject of multiple studies and found to show antimicrobial properties. It has been traditionally used throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East for thousands of years for gut health maintenance and the treatment of gut issues like stomach, gastric and intestinal ulcers as well as heartburn

“Mast Chew is exceptionally effective in dealing with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori,”​ added Dr Sharifi, who comes from a medical background and has also published multiple papers on the antimicrobial activity of pistachio resin.

H. pylori​ is a common cause of peptic ulcers and gut inflammation. It is known to be present in some 40% of all Australians and some 50% of the global population, although many are dormant carriers without exhibiting symptoms, and are as such unaware.

Ambient challenges

Mast Chew is currently available in Australia, Canada and some areas in the Middle East and South Africa.

Responding to queries about the possibility of expanding to the South East Asian market, Dr Sharifi said that although there was interest, this is currently very challenging as the product was sensitive to temperature and moisture.

“It is necessary to keep Mast Chew in cool temperatures below 20°C, and it also wouldn’t be able to maintain [structural integrity] in humid places like Singapore or Malaysia,”​ he explained.

Moving forward

Although Dr Sharif was coy on revealing details, he told us that upcoming innovations and NPD from the company include using the chewing gum as a delivery medium for drugs.

“In addition to its natural antimicrobial properties, the gum could also be used as a carrier vehicle for things like medicines or vitamins,”​ he said.

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