Caffeine chewing gum works twice as fast as caffeine in pills or capsules
If you want to be more alert, more energetic and less drowsy within a few minutes, chewing gum with caffeine is more effective than caffeine in pill form. If you give caffeine as chewing gum, the concentration in the blood peaks within 25 minutes. If you your caffeine in pill or capsule form, then it takes twice as long for for the stimulant to reach this level.
In 2002, researchers from the US Army published an experiment in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics, in which they gave 12 healthy young men 200 milligrams of caffeine in the form of a capsule.
Another group, which also consisted of 12 healthy young men, received 200 milligrams of caffeine in the form of chewing gum. The men had to chew on their chewing gum for 5 minutes.
After caffeine intake, the researchers monitored the concentration of caffeine in the men's bloodstream for 29 hours.
The chewing gum that the researchers used was called Stay Alert. That product is still on the market, but has undergone a name change. Now it's called Military Energy Gum.
If you look at it within the 29 hours time frame, capsules are slightly more economical suppliers of caffeine than chewing gum, mainly because caffeine that you ingest through chewing gum disappears faster from the blood.
However, if you look specifically at the first 90 minutes after the moment the subjects put the capsules or the gum in their mouths, you can see that the caffeine from the chewing gum came faster in the blood than the caffeine from the capsule. When administered as chewing gum, the caffeine level peaks after 25 minutes. With the administration as a capsule, reaching this same level took almost an hour.
"The results suggest that the rate of drug absorption from the gum formulation was significantly faster and may indicate absorption via the buccal mucosa", write the researchers.
"These findings suggest that there may be an earlier onset of pharmacological effects of caffeine delivered as the gum formulation, which is advantageous in situations where the rapid reversal of alertness and performance deficits resulting from sleep loss is desirable."
Int J Pharm. 2002 Mar 2;234(1-2):159-67.
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