The Surprising Benefits of Chewing & How Investors Can Profit
October 4, 2017 11:24 am ET
The early 20th century dietician Horace Fletcher discovered that chewing each bite of food 32 times would help people control how much food they consumed. The craze quickly gripped the nation and “fletcherizing” became the most popular weight loss strategy - complete with catch phrases like “nature shall castigate those who don’t masticate [chew]”. But by mid-century, the calorie-limiting diets we know today came into vogue and the benefits of mastication were lost.
Fortunately, these benefits aren’t lost on researchers who remain very interested in the benefits of chewing - or mastication. These researchers have continued to study the benefits of chewing on everything from nutrition to cognitive improvements, while publishing their findings in leading medical journals around the world. Innovative companies have started to discover these findings and bring new mastication-based therapeutics to market.
In this article, we will look at some of the core benefits and how investors can capitalize on these trends over the coming years.
Benefits of Chewing
The act of chewing may seem like a simple process, but there is a lot happening behind the scenes. In addition to processing food before it enters the stomach, chewing causes a cascade of hormone releases, increased blood flow to the head, and many other potentially beneficial effects. The buccal mucosa - or inner lining of the cheek - is also an exceptionally permeable barrier for drugs to be delivered to the bloodstream.
The act of chewing (or mastication) may play an important role in nutrition and weight loss, according to research published by Jei Li of the School of Public Health at Harbin Medical University. The researchers studied the breakfast habits of 30 individuals with varying body mass indexes (“BMI”) to see how they ate and if chewing longer had an impact on nutrition.
“Mastication apparently plays a role in the gut hormone profile, which consequently influences energy intake,” wrote the scientists. In particular, the scientists found that chewing longer reduced hormone signals, like ghrelin, that spur the feelings of hunger. The scientists also found that obese men tended to eat each gram of food more quickly and with fewer chews than those who were leaner and had higher levels of ghrelin in their bloodstream.
The act of chewing is also associated with reduced anxiety and lower cortisol levels. In one study, participants that chewed gum twice a day for 14 days rated their anxiety as significantly lower than those that didn’t chew gum at all. Several other studies have confirmed these findings by looking at survey responses, brain imaging, and blood work.
“The mechanisms underlying these effects are unknown, but may involve improved cerebral blood flow and/or effects secondary to performance improvement during gum chewing,” the scientists wrote in the first study. Those chewing gum had lower cortisol levels, better alertness, and reduced anxiety and stress compared to the control subjects, which could explain some of the stress-relieving feelings expressed by participants.
Chewing is also associated with other cognitive benefits, including quicker reaction times in memory-related tasks, higher sustained attention spans, and greater overall alertness. Researchers believe that these beneficial effects occur because chewing gum stimulates multiple senses, including smell, taste, and touch, which creates a heightened awareness.
“Overall, the results suggest that chewing gum produces a number of benefits that are generally observed and not context-dependent,” said the authors of one study involving 133 volunteers that carried out a series of tests with and without chewing gum.
There has been a lot of research focused on the benefits of chewing gum as a delivery mechanism for drugs. While Nicorette is an obvious example, several companies have demonstrated that various active pharmaceutical ingredients - or APIs - are better absorbed through the mouth than through other delivery mechanisms.
In a 2002 study published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics, researchers found that the rate of caffeine absorption from chewing gum was significantly faster than capsules, which could indicate absorption by the buccal mucosa. The randomized, controlled trial - a gold standard for researchers - showed that both delivery mechanisms delivered the same amount of caffeine, but the delivery was much faster from chewing gum.
AXIM’s Unique Platform
AXIM Biotechnologies Inc. (OTCQB: AXIM) is an innovative biotechnology company focused on leveraging the therapeutic benefits of mastication. The company’s oral, transmucosal, controlled release delivery system is the culmination of 14 years of continuous work and investment that provides a vastly superior drug delivery system relative to anything else on the market, including capsules, oral sprays, evaporations, or suppositories.
The high surface area of the oro-pharyngeal mucosae is ideal for the rapid and controlled absorption of active ingredients, while avoiding the diluting and potentially toxic effects of first-pass metabolism. With a 24-hour controlled release, the chewing gum-based delivery system is ideal for medical conditions like IBD, IBS, Crohn’s disease, ADHD, and others that require an ongoing supply of the active ingredient over time.
Currently, the company has a diverse pipeline of therapeutics leveraging its unique platform, including its complete line of cannabinoid-infused chewing gums for MS, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, restless leg syndrome, opioid addiction, smoking cessation, IBS, IBD, and other large unmet medical needs. Management believes that the cannabis industry is ripe for innovation given that smoking is the most common delivery mechanism.
Finally, chewing is a much more approachable and manageable activity than smoking medical cannabis, remembering to take a pill, or taking injectables or suppositories. Patients can simply chew a stick of gum for an extended release of the API over time.