Stimulating your brain with gum

In Health & Lifestyles on January 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm

By: Brianna Jordan

Students are sometimes thought to be rebelious for chewing gum. Photo courtesy of Google images

        How many times has your teacher said for you to spit your gum out because it’s distracting? That teacher probably has not done enough research to know that chewing gum actually stimulates your brain and can help to improve your focus. United Kingdom psychologist did memory and attention testing on 75 people, and of these 75, 25 of them chewed gum while the rest did not. The results for the gum chewers were 24 percent higher on immediate word recall tests and 36 percent higher on delayed word recall tests.

            “These results provide the first evidence that chewing gum can improve long-term and working memory,” Psychologist Andrew Scholey explained. Scholey later on showed off his research at an annual British Psychological Society in Blackpool,Lancashire,UK. The trick to getting your brain stimulated is to convince it into thinking a meal is about to be consumed. Once the brain realizes the chewing action, it thinks a meal is about to come and that causes it to release insulin to soak up all the extra glucose and sugar in the body, therefore; the brain gets all the extra energy it can.

            By chewing gum, it not only stimulates your brain, but it causes the heart to pump faster to get the blood moving faster, so when this sudden burst of energy happens, the body begins to focus more. Most people would assume that such a sudden increase in heart rate and blood and oxygen flow could actually cause harm, but this has not been shown. The increase is not so dramatic that it causes a shock to the body.  

            The Japanese noticed changes of activity in the hippocampus, a part of the brain important for memory, in March 2000, but they could not explain why such activity happened. The gum chewing tactic is really used to just trick the brain into releasing chemicals, so there may be other things someone can do to get the same effect. This research is still going on and who knows, maybe in the future it could be recommended to chew gum in school or work. The next time a teacher says “spit your gum out,” a student could explain to him/her how it could help improve grades, but remember, the teacher may not agree and he/she may still have to spit it out.



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