NeuroGum bills itself as “the smart way to chew gum” and claims their caffeine/L-theanine blend will enhance focus and cognition making you smarter, reducing your stress levels, and even enhancing your dreams. NeuroGum promises chewing it will make you feel energized without giving you the jitters or a hard crash.
What’s the ingredients of NeuroGum?
NeuroGum claims their patented blend of ingredients has been scientifically proven to clear your noggin as well as give you a boost of energy. Specifically, they state it’s the combination of caffeine (40 mg) and L-Theanine (60 mg) that work together to enhance your brain and change your life.
Caffeine is a stimulant and the world’s most consumed psychoactive drug, thanks to the billions of coffee, tea, and soda drinkers around the world. A cup of coffee contains about 80-175 mg and caffeine’s effects are apparent on anyone that has tried it; technically speaking it blocks adenosine, which prevents us from getting drowsy and stimulates our nervous system.
In small doses, this can be a good thing. NBC News reports that 100 to 200 mg a day is a good amount to wake you up and keep you focused, but over 250 mg can cause nausea, headaches, jitters, or anxiety. NeuroGum states it has just half the amount of a cup of coffee, which they insist will give you only the positive cognitive benefits of caffeine.
L-Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in green tea, sometimes used to treat anxiety and high blood pressure. NeuroGum claims that L-Theanine, when combined with caffeine helps with focus and reduces anxiety. They point to a few studies that they claim supports their assertion:
- Study 2 was conducted with 44 adults, who were given 97 mg L-Theanine and 40 mg caffeine and the results suggest that it improves focus; however it should be noted that there is only 60 mg L-Theanine in the gum.
- Study 3 makes a similar conclusion, but this one gave the patients 250 mg L-Theanine and 150 mg caffeine.
- Both study 1 and 4 compared 50mg caffeine with and without 100mg L-Theanine in 27 patients.
Conclusion: While there is some small evidence that the combination of L-Theanine and Caffeine combined will work together to reduce focus and stress, the studies cited don’t use the same blend as NeuroGum uses.
Other ingredients in NeuroGum are vitamins B6, which they claim may prevent heart disease and B12, an important vitamin which they state many vegetarians don’t get enough of.
However, while taking vitamin B6 helps people with deficiencies, according to the Mayo Clinic evidence it helps prevent heart disease is inconclusive. The Physicians Clinic for Responsible Medicine states that vegetarians and vegans can likely get enough B12 from cereals or soy.
What’s so cool about NeuroGum?
In addition to the special blend of ingredients, they boast that the act of chewing gum is a better way to get your caffeine. They state coffee is expensive and results in a quick crash and that sports drinks are full of sugar. They claim chewing helps you concentrate and NeurGum contains no sugar or aspartame so it’s better for your teeth. Finally, they tout it has a minty-fresh flavor that will give you good breath, be it for a job interview or first date.
NeuroGum was created by Kent Yoshimura and Ryan Chen, who were students together at UC San Diego and enjoyed an active lifestyle as well as an interest in nootropics (aka smart drugs). They state they began working with “veteran” chemists to create Neurogum.
How much does NeuroGum cost?
They don’t say. According to the website, they are launching the product on September 10 via indiegogo, a crowfunding platform similar to Kickstarter.
Other sources state NeruoGum will cost a $3.95 for one package, $18.95 for a 5-pack, and $39.95 for a 12-pack tray. Each pack is said to contain the equivalent of 2.5 cups of coffee.
Bottom Line: Will NeuroGum really make me smarter and help me concentrate?
As we’ve discussed in our article about smart drugs, the scientific evidence behind most of them is minimal. That said, the one nootropic that does have proven stimulating effects is caffeine; however its interaction with L-Theanine is unclear. And while they tout their gum is aspartame-free, according to the majority of health-related organizations around the world, including the FDA, the sweetener aspartame is safe at current levels of use.
So, will NeuroGum work? The gum has relatively little caffeine per dose. While this may give some people the boost they need but since we build up a tolerance to caffeine, this may not be enough for people who drink a lot of coffee.There is evidence that the act of chewing gum helps you stay focused and concentrate longer.
But you have to ask yourself, is it worth the $3.95 a pack? People who regularly drink coffee and chew gum may find no benefit at all. Generally speaking, a cup of coffee is good for you for a variety of reasons besides the caffeine. If you chew aspartame gum it’s just as safe as NeuroGum.
Caffeine has a bitter taste, so once any sweetener is gone it may not be so much fun to chew. Depending on how long the flavor lasts will affect how much caffeine you ingest.
Caffeinated Gum Controversy
While NeuroGum claims to be the first nootropic gum, there are many types of caffeinated gums that essentially do the same thing. But the FDA has been concerned about companies adding caffeine to their products, especially gum and sports drinks which they say can be ingested by children. In 2013 they began sending warning letters and because of this Wrigley and several other companies decided to discontinue their caffeine gum.
Since NeuroGum is marketed as a nootropic not for children they may not receive a warning. But if you are chewing caffeinated gum as well as drinking coffee or a sports beverage you run the risk of caffeine overdose, especially if you get over 500 mg a day.
Maybe you should try chewing on a coffee bean…
Let us know your experience with NeuroGum below!