Hey, if you don’t remember us talking about this gum when it launched, that’s okay!
Lotte’s ‘gum that preserves your memory’ debuted in September 2017. It’s aimed at middle-aged people who feel like they’re getting forgetful. But how do you know if you’re forgetting things? Well, if you open the fridge and find your car keys, it’s time to start chewing.
The idea of a brain-boosting chewing gum was… funny, at first. Then, we remembered we’re in Japan. The land of interactive customer service robots, and vending machines that know what you want before you do.
We bought 2 packs.
The green is ‘bittersweet mint’ sticks, and the gold is ‘flavourful mint’ in ‘tablet’ pieces. The ‘flavourful’ bit can also be read as ‘meaningful’ in Japanese. Sneaky wordplay, Lotte.
Fair warning, this isn’t gonna be scientific. For best results, the instructions say ‘chew a whole pack per day’. Uhhhh, no. We’re gonna try a stick – maybe 2, max – and see what happens.
The taste test
The new memory-enhancing version’s from the ‘gum that won’t stick to your teeth’ range. Created for people with dentures, and people who recently had dental work. Yeah, Lotte really did the research and made a ‘non-stick’ chewing gum. Teflon for your mouth.
Sounds like a great idea. We’ve seen the damage left behind when gum sticks to our shoes. Imagine what that’d do to someone’s false teeth…
Before tasting this gum, we could smell the mint straight out of the pack. The ‘flavourful’ mintyness lasted for as long as we kept chewing. And it stuck around – we had super mint breath for ages.
How about that ‘won’t stick’ claim? Seems legit. We could feel the gum… not sticking to our teeth… if that makes sense. It’s got a different texture to other chewing gum, and not in a bad way. Didn’t feel sticky at all.
The legit test
Since 1983, Lotte’s been on a mission to protect our mouths. And now, they want to look after our brains, too.
We’d heard rumours that this gum doesn’t work well if you’re under 45. None of us are 45 yet, oops. And it gets worse. In the small print under the amazing results graph, it says the key ingredient’s been tested on even older people. (from this article in Japanese)
See those big red improvement bars? Those were made by a test group of 48 Brazilian guys… in their 60s and 70s. The blue bars are test subjects who got placebos instead. They sucked at the first test, but their memories did improve a little.
And what’s the secret ingredient in memory gum? Gingko biloba leaf extract. It’s been a known herbal remedy for memory problems since… as far back as we can remember. (lol) Sadly, no actual science studies have ever proven that gingko biloba works.
The memory test
A straight before-and-after test felt like the best method. Take a test, fail miserably, chew some gum, retake the test, do better. Sounds simple enough, right?
First, we had to find a decent memory/brain age test. In an app, so it’d be easier to screencap. See, we’re smart in some ways. Is our pick the most scientific app on the market? Hell no. Does it look simple to use and fairly taxing on the brain? Yeah, close enough.
We took the memory test 3 times in a row, to get an average result.
Oh. Okay, so these ages are all younger than we are anyway. (As if we’re telling you our real ages, kids!) The average of 25, 21 and 28 is… 24.6. Now to see if we’d beat that, after some gum.
Lotte suggests chewing for about 10 minutes. There’s a test printed on each wrapper, to help pass the time. Memorise the symbols, colours, and order. Then flip the stick over to find the question. What was furthest to the left? What was on the right of the yellow circle?
After that, we waited another half hour, and did the memory test 3 more times. Here are the ‘after’ results you’ve been waiting for:
Great, amazing… ah. Hey, that last one’s not so good. Did the pressure of doing better the first 2 times get to us? We didn’t see caffeine in the ingredients, but we felt super nervous. Pre-exam nervous. So once we saw it was going good, we choked.
The average of 21, 21 and 29 is… 23.6. Brain age lowered by a whole year, in under an hour. Huh, guess it did something after all.