Effects of chewing gum on nitric oxide metabolism, markers of cardiovascular health and neurocognitive performance after a nitrate-rich meal

Sharon Ong, Nicola P. Bondonno, Luke A. Downey, Andrew Scholey, Michael Smith, Con Stough, Lauren C. Blekkenhorst, Richard Woodman, Kevin D. Croft, Jonathan M. Hodgson, Catherine P. Bondonno*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Cardiovascular and neurocognitive responses to chewing gum have been reported, but the mechanisms are not well understood. Chewing gum after a nitrate-rich meal may upregulate the reduction of oral nitrate to nitrite and increase nitric oxide (NO), a molecule important to cardiovascular and neurocognitive health. We aimed to explore effects of chewing gum after a nitrate-rich meal on nitrate metabolism (through the enterosalivary nitrate-nitrite-NO pathway), endothelial function, blood pressure (BP), neurocognitive performance, mood and anxiety.

Methods: Twenty healthy men (n=6) and women (n=14) with a mean age of 48 years (range: 23-69) were recruited to a randomized controlled cross-over trial. After consumption of a nitrate-rich meal (180 mg of nitrate), we assessed the acute effects of chewing gum, compared to no gum chewing, on (i) salivary nitrate, nitrite and the nitrate reductase ratio (100 x [nitrite] / ([nitrate] + [nitrite]); (ii) plasma nitrite, S-nitrosothiols and other nitroso species (RXNO); (iii) endothelial function (measured by flow mediated dilatation); (iv) BP; (v) neurocognitive performance; (vi) mood; and (vii) anxiety.

Results: Consumption of the nitrate-rich meal resulted in a significant increase in markers of nitrate metabolism. A significantly higher peak flow mediated dilatation was observed with chewing compared to no chewing (baseline adjusted mean difference: 1.10%, 95% CI: 0.06, 2.14; p=0.038) after the nitrate-rich meal. A significant small increase in systolic BP, diastolic BP and heart rate were observed with chewing compared to no chewing after the nitrate-rich meal. The study did not observe increased oral reduction of nitrate to nitrite and NO, or improvements in neurocognitive performance, mood or anxiety with chewing compared to no chewing.

Conclusion: Chewing gum after a nitrate-rich meal resulted in an acute improvement in endothelial function and a small increase in BP but did not result in acute effects on neurocognitive function, mood or anxiety.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American College of Nutrition
Early online date18 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Feb 2021

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