Chewing gum helps reduce stress

August 30th, 2008 - 2:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 30 (IANS) Chewing gum was found to help relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress among individuals, according to a new study. Andrew Scholey, professor of Behavioural and Brain Sciences, Swinburne University, Australia led the study, based on 40 volunteers averaging 22 years.

The study was done on the Defined Intensity Stressor Simulation (DISS), a multi-tasking platform which reliably induces stress and also includes performance measures, while chewing and not chewing gum.

While chewing gum, participants reported lower levels of anxiety. They showed a reduction in anxiety as compared to non-gum chewers by nearly 17 percent during mild stress and nearly 10 percent in moderate stress.

Participants experienced greater levels of alertness when they chewed gum. They showed improvement in alertness over non-gum chewers by nearly 19 percent during mild stress and eight percent in moderate stress.

Stress levels were also lower. Levels of salivary cortisol (a physiological stress marker) in gum chewers were lower than those of non-gum chewers by 16 percent during mild stress and nearly 12 percent in moderate stress.

Chewing gum resulted in a significant improvement in overall performance on multi-tasking activities. Both gum-chewers and non-chewers showed improvement from their baseline scores.

However, chewing gum improved mean performance scores over non-gum chewers by 67 percent during moderate stress and 109 percent in mild stress.

These findings were presented on Saturday at the 10th International Congress of Behavioural Medicine, Rissho University in Tokyo.

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