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Chew Your Way Back to Cheerful

 

Courtesy of Men's Fitness

Scientists have long suspected that chewing gum can effectively reduce stress, relieve tension and lower depression. However, a scientific study has not been done in this area—until recently! In the last several years, a handful of studies have concluded that chewing gum is beneficial for a bevy of reasons.

One of the studies looked at 30 patients suffering from mild to moderate depression. They were administered either medication along with chewing gum or medication alone. After of period of 6 weeks, the patients who were given gum along with medication responded better to treatment than those given only medication. The results were measured using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D). The most profound effect of chewing gum was that it alleviated gastrointestinal symptoms associated with depression such as loss of appetite, showing that it’s effective in at least reducing symptoms originating from depression. A Turkish study yielded similar results. The mere act of chewing or “mastication” stimulates the digestive process which makes a person hungry.

Another study out of Cardiff University in the United Kingdom rigorously examined gum’s potential benefits across a wide range of categories including mood, memory, learning and intelligence. The results of this study suggested that both alertness and mental performance were boosted in gum-chewing subjects, although memory showed no improvement.

Recently, another group of scientists discovered that chewing gum before a test improved performance, possibly due to reducing stress and calming nerves. They found that gum may “warm-up” the brain in a manner akin to physical exercise, sending blood to the brain.

Studies have also revealed that gum acts as an effective anxiety reducer, but the causation behind this is still unclear. Although scientists are unable to ascertain exactly why they got these results, they were able to determine that chewing gum reduced cortisol levels. That is important because cortisol is the so-called “stress hormone”. Stress and anxiety are closely linked.

Also, a Japanese research team suggests that prolonged chewing of gum activates a region in the brain triggers a series of effects that results in less feelings of depression. Chewing gums actually suppresses “nociceptive responses” or “pain in the brain”.

In spite of all of the benefits of chewing a stick of good old gum, doctors won’t be writing you a prescription for Wrigley’s or BubbleYum anytime soon. Medication and cognitive behavioral therapy are still the preferred methods for treating depression. However, all of this research cannot be ignored. Besides, what’s easier and less risky that just throwing a stick or gum into your chompers?

Depression is still a serious condition and can lead to suicide or self-mutilation. If you or someone that you know suffers from feelings of worthlessness, self-pity, lethargy, misery or moodiness you probably should talk with someone you trust. Getting professional help can be hard, as asking for help often is difficult. Please don’t let that stop you. There is number available right here on this website that will connect you with someone who can help you or someone you know to get the help needed. Don’t hesitate to call!

 

Sources:

DiSalvo, David. “Chew Yourself a Better Brain.” Forbes.com. Forbes Magazine, 08 Mar. 2012. Web. 25 June 2013.

Kuzma, Cindy. “The Calorie-Free Snack That Improves Your Mood ” News.menshealth.com. Men’s Health Magazine, 21 June 2013. Web. 25 June 2013.

Science, Seriously. “Depressed? Try Chewing Some Gum! : Seriously, Science?” Discovermagazine.com. Discover Magazine, 29 May 2013. Web. 25 June 2013.

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Written by

Kevin Giles is a product of Santa Cruz, CA – the stoner capitol of the world. A born again Christian, Kevin loves his Lord Jesus and believes that his purpose in life is determined by God. He first entered drug recovery at the age of 19, suffering from an addiction to marijuana. He is a recent graduate of the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, where he earned his Master’s degree in Christian Ministry. Passionate about God’s Word, he aspires to become a pastor or missionary. Kevin has also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Monterey Bay. His interests include traveling, movies, golf, fitness and reading. He also enjoys being outdoors as well as spending time with friends and family. Kevin’s faith, education and life experience give him a unique perspective on addiction, recovery and spirituality.

Filed under: Conditions and Disorders, Mental Illness, Treatment · Tags: chewing, depression, Gum, help

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