If you’re feeling a bit droopy during your workday, you may consider caffeine an option for pulling through a slump. Recently, popular options in energy supplements have expanded to include caffeine gum. Here we look at what caffeine gum is, and how chewing it affects your health.
What is Caffeine Gum?
Caffeine gum came to prominence when it was used by the US military to prolong the usefulness of soldiers. Tests performed showed that caffeine gum kept soldiers awake and fighting strong for as long as 68 hours. The gum manages to mask the bitter flavor of caffeine, usually with a spicy cinnamon or mint flavor. Different gums deliver different percentages of caffeine, anywhere from 12 mg to the 200 mg used in military grade gum.
When you eat or drink caffeine, like in chocolate or coffee, it’s absorbed into the body through the stomach lining. This way of absorbing can take between 45 and 90 minutes. Not so with caffeine gum, which delivers the caffeine dose directly through the soft tissues of the mouth. In this manner, the caffeine begins to enter the bloodstream almost immediately. Within ten minutes, almost 100 percent of the caffeine contained in the gum is transferred to the body of the person chewing it. This quick absorption is a good thing, if you want a fast effect. It’s also a good thing because caffeine gum is usually considered one of the more unpleasant tasting gums available.
Is It Safe?
Military grade caffeine gum, such as Stay Alert Gum, has intensely high levels of caffeine. It is not recommended nor available to the general public. Lower-level caffeine gum, such as Jolt gum, is not considered to at all dangerous to your general health. It takes two sticks of Jolt gum to equal the caffeine in an average cup of coffee. If you consider a cup of coffee safe, you can rest assured that most caffeine gums will do you no harm.
Caffeine and Health
The evidence for whether or not caffeine is physically addictive is conflicted. But, few will argue that people who consume caffeine feel negative affects when they can’t get it. People often become reliant on even small amounts of caffeine to become alert enough to function. Caffeine also triggers the fight or flight reflex. The physical changes wrought by this effect cause stress on the body every time it is activated. In truth, all these effects are mild, especially when experienced infrequently.
Caffeine is a stimulant. This means it is a drug that forces an effect in your body that wasn’t occurring naturally. If your body is tired, it is usually because you have not given it enough rest. Caffeine in any form, including gum, isn’t a permanent solution. The caffeine will leave your system quickly, and the following slump is often worse than the initial tiredness.
If you find you are needing an extra boost to get through your day, first consider how much sleep you’re giving yourself. Try sneaking in another hour, and see if that doesn’t help remove the needs for stimulants. If you still choose to have an artificial pick me up in your daily routine, caffeine gum is safe. Just remember to use it sparingly. Don’t let addiction make it a part of your daily routine. Your body and your mind will suffer for it.