What is Energy Gum?
“An energy gum is a chewing gum that can have a stimulating effect on people. Energy gum contains a certain amount of caffeine and B vitamins, which has a positive effect on physical and mental performance.”
This is the current product description found on Wikipedia. That's still quite a vague definition! After all, how many mg of caffeine makes a chewing gum an energy gum? Can you even call it an energy gum if the low dose of functional ingredients means it doesn't actually work?”
Defining energy gum
There has fortunately been a lot of scientific research on the effects of caffeine. In 1987, for example, it was discovered that while a faster reaction time was measured at a dose of 32mg, an improvement in performance was only noticeable from a dose of 64mg of caffeine. In another study on the effects of a 300mg dose of caffeine on the performance of professional sports shooters, it was found that such a high dose actually made them perform worse.
It is clear that it is primarily the stimulant effect that distinguishes an energy gum from a regular chewing gum. If there are only few of the functional ingredients in a gum that an effect is not noticeable, then the product does not belong in the energy gum product category. In addition, a chewing gum that does not stimulate but instead has a negative effect due to the high dose of caffeine also does not fit into the energy gum category.
What are the benefits of an energy gum?
In comparison to pre-workout, energy drinks, coffee, and caffeine pills and tablets, the caffeine in FIRST is absorbed into your system much faster. Professor of Nutritional Sciences, Asker Jeukendrup, explains that this is because the caffeine is absorbed through the mouth within 10 minutes without first being able to be filtered out of the blood by the liver, resulting in a faster noticeable effect. Energy gum, due to its functional ingredients caffeine and B vitamins, has a number of positive benefits.
Caffeine gives you energy and extra strength
As soon as the caffeine enters the bloodstream, the body starts producing Epinephrine, or adrenaline. This hormone is responsible for better performance which allows you to keep going longer and also gives you the idea that the effort is less strenuous than it really is. This is especially beneficial when fatigue strikes but the race is not yet over. In addition, a comparison of 27 studies has shown that caffeine can increase leg muscle strength by up to 7%.
Caffeine improves your focus and concentration
According to Professor of Neuropsychology, Eric Scherder, chewing caffeine gum makes you sharper and faster. In addition, your memory function improves. This is because your heart rate goes up slightly, which improves blood flow to the brain. Chewing makes the different areas of the brain more active and the connections between them also become faster.
Caffeine keeps you awake
Caffeine is an antagonist of the neurotransmitter adenosine. During the day, adenosine builds up in your body, causing you to accumulate enough at the end of the day that you feel sleepy. During sleep, you break down adenosine until you wake up. Then the cycle begins again. Caffeine temporarily blocks the effects of adenosine, but does not stop its production.
Caffeine increases fat burning
Naturally, a healthy diet, exercise and adequate rest remain the basics, but caffeine can certainly help you burn more calories. Research has shown that taking caffeine before a workout increases the release of stored fat by 30%. In addition, caffeine helps burn extra calories and fat by increasing heat production and adrenaline levels. However, whether caffeine also improves long-term weight loss has not been proven.
Caffeine promotes muscle recovery
Studies have shown that caffeine reduces muscle soreness and promotes strength recovery. Studies noted a clear positive difference in muscle soreness in the large leg muscles when subjects had consumed a caffeine product beforehand. It did not matter whether the subjects drank a lot of coffee or not at all. Both had the same pain reduction when they exercised with the use of caffeine. You can read more about this in this article we published earlier.
Product comparison: The best energy gum
FIRST is not the only brand that sells an energy gum. So we did a comparison between different options, examining the dose of caffeine, taste, sugars and/or sweeteners, and price per gum. These were the results:
* The price comparison depends on the exchange rate.
There are a few things that stand out. For example, a Sportlife Energy gum contains so little caffeine per gum that, as the study above concluded, it has no stimulating effect on performance. In contrast, Military Energy Gum has a high dose of caffeine, which is accompanied by a hefty list of added sweeteners and sugar to mask the bitter taste of caffeine. In terms of flavors, Run Gum has the most options. FIRST contains the fewest sweeteners followed by Neuro Gum. Per gram of caffeine, Run Gum is the most expensive energy gum, Blockhead on the other hand is the most economical. Therefore, what is ultimately the best energy gum, depends mainly on consumer preferences.
Is energy gum safe?
Energy gum is safe and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA]. They control the quality of food and medicines. The European Food Safety Authority [EFSA] has also examined it and found that an intake of up to 400mg per day is harmless to health. The Dutch Nutrition Center also keeps this amount as a limit. They also warn, by the way, that children under 12 should not take Caffeine products. For children between 13 and 18, the limit is set at 1 caffeine-containing product. This, of course, includes an energy gum. It is also recommended to use as few caffeine products as possible during pregnancy.
Energy gum can also be used as a sports supplement. We cannot comment on other energy gums here, but FIRST is NZVT-tested and holds an NZVT [Nederlands Zekerheidssysteem Voedingssupplementen Topsport] stamp. FIRST is officially doping-free. Also, both the WADA [World Anti Doping Agency] and the IOC [International Olympics Committee] removed caffeine from the banned list in 2004.
Frequent questions about energy gum:
- How long does it take for an energy gum to work?
You can feel the effect of an energy gum within 10 minutes. This is possible because the functional ingredients are absorbed directly through the cheek mucosa. After 10 minutes of chewing you have absorbed almost all of them and you can take out the gum. The effect remains noticeable afterwards!
- How long will you continue to feel the effect?
This depends on several aspects such as your gender, weight, age, and how sensitive you are to caffeine. On average, caffeine stays in the blood for about 4 to 5 hours. After about 2 to 3 hours, the effect begins to gradually fade.
- Can you take energy gum as a pre-workout?
Sure! We even recommend replacing pre-workout shakes, energy drinks and sports drinks with energy gum. FIRST is sugar-free, you won't suffer from a crash after the caffeine wears off. You also feel the effect much faster and can better determine when to take the energy gum to peak at the right time. With FIRST, you also don't have to worry about doping controls or issues. FIRST has an NZVT-stamp and can be used by professional athletes without any problems.