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Chewing gum helps reduce stress

Chewing gum helps relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress among individuals, according to a new study.

health and fitness Updated: Aug 30, 2008 13:41 IST

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 per cent during mild stress and nearly 10 per cent 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 pe rcent 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 per cent during mild stress and nearly 12 per cent 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 per cent during moderate stress and 109 per cent in mild stress.

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