Gum that gives you fresh breath? That’s so last century. Now, there’s a gum that can literally kill your cold, or keep you from getting it in the first place.
Immuno-Gum, created by Terry O'Neil, contains six key ingredients that support the immune system, including zinc, vitamin C, elderberry, Siberian ginseng, astragalus, and echinacea.
O’Neil isn’t your typical confectioner though; he’s also a medical doctor and presides over the emergency room at Fullerton, Calif.’s St. Jude Hospital.
When he had the idea to create the gum, he knew there were other products on the market that claim to do the same thing, but they just weren’t quite right for truly busy people — like emergency room doctors.
“Airborne, you need a water with you, they’re kind of a hassle; it’s not really a product that busy people could really take,” O’Neil explains. “Lozenges, over time, they become sticky; they stick to the exterior of the wrapping.”
So, he decided that a chewing gum, which you could carry around with you and use on a daily basis, was a better idea. It also has some added medical benefits.
“If you have a pill or a drink and you mix it in water, it goes straight to your stomach. But a lot of medications can be absorbed underneath your tongue, and gum, it absorbs in your mouth. It actually coats the back of your throat, too,” O’Neil says.
Of course, as with any candy, the big question is: Does it taste good?
O’Neil says they worked on the flavors for years, but they finally got it right. Immuno-Gum comes in three flavors: Mint, Mixed Berry and Citrus. While the Mint and Mixed Berry gums provide immune support, the Citrus flavor is a vitamin C only gum.
“We finally have it where the ingredients do not affect the flavor,” he says. “It tastes like a traditional chewing gum.”
The product was also designed so that people can chew it every single day. All the ingredients are water soluble. So, for example, if someone chews a whole pack of the Mint gum, all the ingredients could simply be flushed out of their system by drinking water. Other immune system support products, which have vitamin A and vitamin D, are fat soluble and potentially can lead to a dangerous build up.
“[Immuno-Gum] is meant to support your immune system on a daily basis,” O’Neil says.
The good doctor is still taking shifts at the emergency room as he and his team work to launch the product.
“The good thing about the emergency room is I tend to work evenings and weekends, so it doesn’t conflict so much,” he says.
Immuno-Gum currently is sold in Vitamin World stores, in some airports, at colleges and universities, and various other retail locations. O’Neil and his team will also be at NACS, Oct. 12-15 in Atlanta, to promote the gum.
“This is a very difficult to do because other people aren’t doing it, bringing an immunity functioning gum to the market,” he says. “My motivation was, I really believe in the product and the ingredients. I wanted a product that I could bring to the market that I could personally use. I feel that I would use this and I feel that the packaging looks good and it just makes sense to me.”