The following is from an article published January 13, 2011, in the New York Times. GERD, also known as heartburn or acid reflux, affects millions of Americans. Prilosec, Nexium, and other proton pump inhibitors are some of the best-selling medications on the market. Chewing on a piece of gum or two, it appears, may be just as effective, with no side effects, as long as you use non-sugary gum. Gum sweetened with xylitol is best.

An independent study in 2005, published in the Journal of Dental Research, involved 31 patients who were recruited for testing after they showed up at St.Thomas’ Hospital in London with symptoms of heartburn. The scientists admitted that their hypothesis at the beginning of the study “was that chewing gum would not have any effect on the clearance of reflux from the esophagus.” They were surprised by the outcome. Chewing gum, helps force fluids back into the stomach and flood the esophagus with alkaline saliva, neutralizing acids that cause the characteristic burning sensations.

More and more data is coming forth on the benefits of high-intensity training (HIT) compared to the longer duration and more moderate intensity regimens. HIT is essentially all-interval exercise; short, strenuous intervals followed by short rest periods. The most recent, reported in the New York Times on April 15, studied cyclists doing 30 seconds of the highest intensity biking they could, followed by four minutes of rest. They repeated the intervals several times until they had a total of two to three minutes of total exercise time covered. After two weeks, the HIT riders, with less than 20 minutes of hard exercise behind them, had increased their aerobic capacity as much as riders who had pedaled more leisurely for more than 10 hours. Need I say more?

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.