Effects of Chewing Menthol Gum on the Alertness of Healthy Volunteers and Those with an Upper Respiratory Tract Illness
Article first published online: 4 JUN 2012
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Stress and Health
Volume 29, Issue 2, pages 138–142, April 2013
How to Cite
Smith, A. P. and Boden, C. (2013), Effects of Chewing Menthol Gum on the Alertness of Healthy Volunteers and Those with an Upper Respiratory Tract Illness. Stress and Health, 29: 138–142. doi: 10.1002/smi.2437
- Issue published online: 1 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 4 JUN 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 3 MAY 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 21 MAR 2012
- Manuscript Received: 14 JUL 2011
- chewing gum;
- upper respiratory tract illness (URTI);
Recent research has shown that chewing gum increases subjective alertness. Upper respiratory tract illnesses (URTIs) lead to reduced alertness, and it has been shown that stimulants such as caffeine can reverse this effect. It is now important to determine whether menthol chewing gum can produce a similar effect. Young adults with an URTI (N = 16) and a healthy control group (N = 12) rated their mood and symptoms on two occasions (the first when those with a URTI were ill and the second when both groups were healthy). During each session, volunteers provided a rating while chewing gum and when they were not chewing. Those with a URTI reported reduced alertness, which persisted into convalescence. Chewing gum was associated with greater alertness in both those with URTIs and the healthy group. Chewing gum reduced the severity of nasal symptoms in those with a cold. The effects of the URTI and menthol gum may reflect changes in trigeminal stimulation. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.