Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol found in most plant material, including many fruits and vegetables. It is extracted from birch wood to make medicine.
Xylitol is widely used as a sugar substitute and in "sugar-free" chewing gums, mints, and other candies. However, sorbitol is the most commonly used sweetener in sugarless gums because it is less expensive than xylitol and easier to make into commercial products.
As a medicine, xylitol is used to prevent middle ear infections (otitis media) in young children, and as a sugar substitute for people with diabetes.
Xylitol is added to some chewing gums and other oral care products to prevent tooth decay and dry mouth.
Xylitol is sometimes included in tube feeding formulas as a source of energy.
Xylitol is added to water for use in nasal irrigation for people with sinus problems.
Dog owners should know that xylitol can be toxic to dogs, even when the relatively small amounts from candies are eaten. If your dog eats a product that contains xylitol, it is important to take the dog to a veterinarian immediately.
Is a Form of:
Alcohol found in plant materials, fruits and vegetables
Middle ear infections
Also Known As:
Birch Sugar, E967, Meso-Xylitol, Méso-Xylitol
How Does It Work?
Xylitol tastes sweet but, unlike sugar, it is not converted in the mouth to acids that cause tooth decay. It reduces levels of decay-causing bacteria in saliva and also acts against some bacteria that cause ear infections.
- Preventing dental caries (tooth decay).Use of xylitol-containing products such as foods, chewing gum, candies, and toothpaste that provide 1-20 grams of xylitol per day can reduce the rate of cavity formation in both adults and children 5 years and older. Xylitol products appear to be more effective than products containing sorbitol for preventing cavities. But some brands of chewing gum contain xylitol in only milligram amounts, which is far less than the gram doses that prevent tooth decay. It’’s not known if xylitol helps prevent cavities in children less than 5 years-old.
- Reducing episodes of ear infections (otitis media) in preschool children.Xylitol given in appropriate doses after meals to preschool children seems to significantly reduce the number of ear infections they get and the need for antibiotics. However, giving xylitol at the onset of symptoms of an acute respiratory infection does not seem to prevent ear infections.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
APPLIED INSIDE THE MOUTH:
- For prevention of cavities in adults and children: A wide range of doses has been used. Typically, doses are from 7-20 grams per day divided into three to five doses, usually given as candies or chewing gum. It is recommended that xylitol gum be chewed for 10-20 minutes after meals.
APPLIED INSIDE THE MOUTH:
- For preventing cavities: A wide range of doses has been used in children 5 years and older. Typically, doses are from 7-20 grams per day divided into three to five doses, usually given as candies or chewing gum. It is recommended that xylitol gum be chewed for 10-20 minutes after meals. Sucking on candies providing 5-8 grams of xylitol also seems beneficial. It’s too soon to know if xylitol helps prevent cavities in children less than 5 years-old.
- For reducing the risk of ear infections in preschoolers: Total daily doses of 8.4-10 grams of xylitol in chewing gum, lozenges, or syrup given in five divided doses after meals.
Xylitol Supplements Frequently Asked Questions
What is xylitol and is it good for you?
As a sweetener, xylitol is an excellent choice. Whereas some sweeteners may cause health risks, studies show that xylitol has actual health benefits. It doesn't spike blood sugar or insulin, starves the plaque-producing bacteria in your mouth and feeds friendly microbes in your digestive system.
How bad is xylitol for you?
Xylitol is safe in the amounts found in foods. It seems safe as a medicine for most adults in amounts up to about 50 grams per day. Xylitol can cause diarrhea and intestinal gas. It is probably safe for children as a medicine in amounts up to 20 grams per day.
Is xylitol an antiviral?
Xylitol is a well-known sugar substitute and its effect against bacteria in the oral cavity is well known. However, little is known of its effect on viral infections. These results indicate that dietary xylitol can ameliorate hRSV infections and reduce inflammation-associated immune responses to hRSV infection.
Is xylitol better than stevia?
Both are better for your smile than sugar, so which one should you choose? For many people, the preference of one sweetener over the other comes down to taste. Xylitol doesn't taste different than sugar, but it's about 5% less sweet. Stevia—on the other hand—has a licorice aftertaste, which some people may not like.
Does xylitol kill viruses?
Yes, xylitol kills germs. It does not do it in the traditional dental way — killing upon contact. Xylitol stops bacteria from living by starving it, and acids are not created, which alters the pH.
Does xylitol affect gut bacteria?
The sugar alcohol xylitol inhibits the growth of some bacterial species including Streptococcus mutans. However, the effects of lower daily doses of dietary xylitol on gut microbiota and lipid metabolism are unclear.
Is xylitol bad for your liver?
Hepatic failure, with destruction of the liver tissue, can occur within 9-72 hrs of ingestion at xylitol doses >1.0 g/kg. Toxic doses of xylitol: 0.15 - 0.4g/kg or 0.3-0.4 pieces of gum/kg can lead to hypoglycemia. Ingested levels > 1.0g/kg can lead to acute liver failure.
Is xylitol inflammatory?
Sugar is linked to inflammation, obesity, diabetes and chronic diseases. Xylitol is a good sugar substitute for people dealing with diabetes, and because it does not convert to acid in your mouth (like sugar does) it can help prevent tooth decay and dry mouth.
Does xylitol kill strep throat?
Xylitol is an unsuitable source of energy for many micro-organisms, and it inhibits the growth of Streptococcus pneumoniae  and some other bacteria even in the presence of glucose, but not in the presence of fructose [10-12]. It has antiadhesive effects on both S.
What does xylitol do for sinuses?
Its principal ingredient is xylitol. It functions to wash bacteria and pollutants, while soothing and moisturizing the nasal passageway. The nasal spray works in three ways: First, it decreases the adherence of harmful bacteria to the cells in the nose.
What are the side effects of xylitol?
Side Effects and Dosage
Xylitol is generally well tolerated, but some people experience digestive side effects when they consume too much. The sugar alcohols can pull water into your intestine or get fermented by gut bacteria. This can lead to gas, bloating and diarrhea.
Does xylitol make you gain weight?
However, xylitol contains zero fructose and has negligible effects on blood sugar and insulin. While corresponding human studies are currently unavailable, rat studies show that xylitol can improve symptoms of diabetes, reduce belly fat and even prevent weight gain on a fattening diet.
Does xylitol kill Candida?
albicans growth, whereas in vivo studies have found that xylitol can decrease the risk of candidiasis and angular cheilitis.
Does xylitol have a laxative effect?
Food properties. Xylitol has about the same sweetness as sucrose, but more sweetness than similar compounds like sorbitol and mannitol. Due to the adverse laxative effect that all polyols have on the digestive system in high doses, xylitol is banned from soft drinks in the EU.
Does xylitol kill bacteria in the sinus cavity?
Using a nasal spray with xylitol is an effective tool for washing the nose and flushing away harmful bacteria and pollutants that might otherwise lead to sinusitis, ear infections, and upper respiratory disease.
Is xylitol an alcohol?
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, which is a type of carbohydrate and does not actually contain alcohol. Xylitol occurs naturally in small amounts in fibrous fruits and vegetables, trees, corncobs, and even the human body.
Is xylitol natural or artificial?
Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol found in most plant material, including many fruits and vegetables. It is extracted from birch wood to make medicine. Xylitol is widely used as a sugar substitute and in "sugar-free" chewing gums, mints, and other candies.
Is xylitol a probiotic?
Xylitol is known to inhibit the growth and metabolism of mutans Streptococcus group. Xylitol is not readily metabolized by bacteria and hence has been claimed to be anti-cariogenic. Clinical trials have proven that probiotic bacterium, Lactobacillus reuteri can reduce salivary Streptococcus mutans levels.
Does xylitol have another name?
What other names is Xylitol known by? Birch Sugar, E967, Meso-Xylitol, Méso-Xylitol, Sucre de Bouleau, Xilitol, Xylit, Xylite, Xylo-pentane-1,2,3,4,5-pentol.
Does xylitol cause belly fat?
Xylitol Has a Very Low Glycemic Index and Doesn't Spike Blood Sugar or Insulin. While corresponding human studies are currently unavailable, rat studies show that xylitol can improve symptoms of diabetes, reduce belly fat and even prevent weight gain on a fattening diet.
Which is better erythritol or xylitol?
So, which one is healthier? A study in Caries Research found that erythritol might be better for tooth health than xylitol. And compared to xylitol, erythritol can be fully absorbed by our bodies, causing less digestive distress. Plus, erythritol doesn't raise blood sugar at all, while xylitol has a small impact.
Does xylitol have carbs?
It's as sweet as sugar but contains just 3 calories per gram and 4 grams of carbs per teaspoon (4 grams) ( 4 ). Yet, like other sugar alcohols, the carbs in xylitol don't count as net carbs, as they don't raise blood sugar or insulin levels to the extent sugar does ( 15 , 16 ).