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How Chewing Gum Can Help Relieve Stress and Anxiety

  • 3 min read

How Chewing Gum Can Help Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Modern life can feel like a minefield of stress and anxiety.

In the digital age, these feelings are never more than just a few clicks away.

The American Psychological Association recently declared high levels of stress and anxiety a “national health crisis”.

In these uncertain times, it’s important to remember we are bigger than our feelings!

Strategies such as regular exercise and meditation can be potent defenders of your happiness and well-being.

But there’s also another proven way to stay calm and collected that most people are unaware of — chewing gum.

women chewing gum anxiety calm

 

It’s true. 

Chewing gum is scientifically-proven to reduce chronic stress.

“The benefits of long-term (gum) chewing on stress reduction suggests that it may be a simple, cost effective method of reducing stress and improving quality of life and well-being,” write the authors of a review published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Research.

Humans have suspected gum’s therapeutic and medicinal powers for thousands of years.

Archaeologists recently discovered a 6,000-year-old wad of gum made from birch tar along the southern coast of Denmark. DNA testing on the gum revealed the chewer was likely a female hunter-gatherer with dark hair and blue eyes.

Why was our neolithic ancestor chewing gum?

Scientists believe it may have helped early humans relieve pain, stave off hunger and improve oral health (and also serve as a handy adhesive for toolmaking).

Hippocrates of Ancient Greece recommended chewing mastic, a natural gummy-like resin, to cure digestive problems, fend off colds and freshen breath, while the Mayans and Aztecs were known to smack the white sap of the sapodilla tree for similar reasons.

During World War II, most American field rations contained chewing gum. Army Signal Corps materials explain the gum helped troops “conserve water and relieve nervous tension.”

While the anecdotal benefits of chewing gum have been around for millennia, recent years have seen researchers dedicate themselves to more objective evaluations.

The results?

The act of gum chewing has convincing health benefits.

Its impact on stress and anxiety is particularly compelling.

A study presented at the International Congress of Behavioral Medicine found chewing gum helped “relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress” among participants. Gum chewing helped mildly-stressed individuals reduce their reported anxiety by nearly 17 percent.

In an online research study published in the journal Current Medical Research and Opinion, over half the participants reported that chewing gum significantly lowered their stress levels.

The study authors write that, “particular stress-specific emotions (e.g., not feeling relaxed, feeling tense) were reported to have significantly increased when participants abstained from chewing gum and to have decreased when they chewed.”

And while chewing gum helps relieve stress and anxiety, it does not appear to make us drowsy or lethargic.

In fact, the opposite is true — gum seems to make us more productive.

A study published in the journal BioMedical Research Internationalfound that “chewing gum during the workday was associated with higher productivity and fewer cognitive problems”.

Biologically, how does gum help us stay both calm and focused?

A review published in the journal BioMedical Research Internationalexamined the many “neuronal mechanisms” that underlie interactions between “masticatory function and stress-coping behaviors in animals and humans.” 

Researchers found chewing helped suppress “stress-induced activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and autonomic nervous system.”

In other words, chewing helps us decrease activation of our fight-or-flight nervous system.

Another review published in the International Journal of Medical Sciencesnoted how “blood oxygen levels in the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus are increased by mastication”.

The hippocampus plays a crucial role in memory and learning, while the prefrontal cortex is key to executive function.

Since we have multiple neural circuits that connect our masticatory organs to our brain, chewing gum can help stimulate function of these vital brain areas.

The beauty of using chewing gum to soothe stress and anxiety is it can be utilized virtually anywhere, including when we’re:

  • Swamped at work
  • Sitting in traffic on our hectic commute
  • Seeking refuge from screaming kids
  • Simply wanting to get more done!

Yet many chewing gums negate these benefits with their low-quality formulas.

Some are high in sugar or contain risky additives like butylated hydroxytoluene, while others utilize gluten or non-vegan ingredients.

Run Gum Calm brings the time-tested, science-backed benefits of chewing gum into the modern age.

Formulated with calming ingredients like Ashwagandha, GABA and L-Theanine, Run Gum Calm enhances the soothing effects of traditional chewing gum.

Available in flavors like Lavender and Raspberry Lemon and designed with a gluten-free, vegan-friendly formula that contains zero grams of sugar, Run Gum Calm is the new way to relieve stress and help you run your day.

 

REFERENCES 
  1. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/index
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6410656/
  3. https://www.cnn.com/ancient-chewing-gum-genome-scn/
  4. https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/k-rations-created-the-worlds-best-fed-army/
  5. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/chewing-gum-may-be-the-best-stress-buster
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19425900/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26075253/
  8. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2015/412493/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4466515/
Nathan Woods

Nathan Woods

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