The Doctors: Does Chewing Gum Take 7 Years To Digest?
What’s your biggest medical myth question? The Doctors tackled some of the most popular topics in their show today. Have you heard about this one? Chewing gum is a great way to get fresh breath, but what happens when you swallow it instead of spitting it out? Does Chewing Gum Take 7 Years To Digest? The Doctors also explored the Beer Before Liquor question and Hiccup Remedies backed by science.
The Doctors referred this to a gastroenterologist, Dr Su Sachar, who said this is a common belief. I remember hearing this as a kid, so where did the idea come from and why is it so popular? To test the idea, Dr Sachar had a patient, Jennifer, swallow some gum and see what happened.
The Drs: Swallowing Gum Myth
Using a special scope camera, Dr Sachar checked out Jennifer’s stomach but couldn’t find the gum. The Pylarus is the exit door of the stomach, and that’s where Dr Sachar said she’d expect to find the gum if it was still in her system.
Moving on to the small intestine, “still no sign of gum anywhere,” she said. Dr Sachar concluded that this is a complete myth.
Back in the studio, Dr Sachar demonstrated how the gum would travel through the body’s gastrointestinal tract, with everything else you eat or drink. It takes about six or seven hours for food or gum to move into the 25 feet of intestines. After another 12 hours, the gum should be in your colon, and it may still take another 12 hours to make its way out of the body.
“All in all, two to three days,” Dr Sachar concluded. “Seven years? Definitely not.”
Beer Before Liquor: Myth or Reality
There’s a popular saying among drinkers that is believed to be a guide to preventing hangovers. “Beer before liquor, never sicker. Liquor before beer, in the clear.” But is there any science to back this up?
Dr Lisa Masterson said this is a myth. “Just because it rhymes doesn’t make it so,” she said.
Dr Sachar said that alcohol is all processed the same in the body. It’s really more about quantity of alcohol consumed that affects your blood alcohol level and the potential consequences the morning after.
How Alcohol Leaves The Body
Using an animation, Dr Travis demonstrated that the body can only process so much alcohol in a period of time. About 20% of the alcohol is absorbed early in the process, and that “buzzed feeling” is the effect alcohol has on your brain.
Your body processes slow down as a result of alcohol consumption, but the ways that alcohol is released from the body may surprise you. Dr Travis explained that the lungs expel about 5% of your alcohol intake, while the kidneys and urine remove another 5%.
But the majority of the job is done by your liver, and Dr Travis said that’s what gets overloaded. “You can process about one drink per hour,” he said. Your hangover is the result of your liver becoming overwhelmed, and leading to you feeling awful the next day.
The Doctors: Alcohol & The Brain
The brain’s frontal lobe is your judgement center, and it’s the first to go when you’ve been drinking. That’s what leads to excessive drinking or even drunk driving. Dr Travis recommended thinking through your plan before you start drinking.
Dr Andrew Ordon suggested having a glass of water in between each drink. You can also attempt to coat your stomach before drinking. Dr Sachar noted that getting water in the mix or recalling your last bad hangover can be helpful when you’re drinking.
The Drs TV: Hiccup Remedies
There are countless myths surrounding the topic of Hiccups, and even The Doctors had a list of dozens of ideas you can try. But some remedies are backed by scientific research. Dr Jim Sears explained that hiccups are a contraction of the Diaphragm, which is between your abdominal and chest cavities. Sound is produced because you quickly inhale, but the vocal cords close and stop the flow of air.
What really works? Dr Jim shared some proven remedies backed by research studies.
Hiccup Remedies: Granulated Sugar
The New England Journal of Medicine suggested a teaspoon of sugar.
Hiccup Remedies: Cotton Swab
Use a cotton swab to “tickle the roof of your mouth…right where the hard palate meets the soft palate.” This comes from the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology.
Dr Sachar said this stimulates the Vegas nerves, and even putting your fingers inside your ear can have similar effects. What’s your favorite hiccup remedy? Share ideas in the comments section below.