Oh How Sweet It Is… Xylitol – Nature’s Dentist

2009 October 19

With all the recent press about the dangers of certain sugar substitutes, Xylitol is now presenting a welcome relief. It is not only healthy (good for the teeth and low-glycemic) but tastes and looks identical to normal sugar except for a slight cooling effect on the tongue (there is absolutely no bitter after taste as there is with some sugar substitutes).

So what is Xylitol?Xylitol-Powder

Xylitol is a white crystalline sweetener that occurs naturally in berries, fruit, vegetables, mushrooms lettuce, hardwoods, corn cobs, and birch trees.

In fact, in Finland it is known as “birch sugar”, because the principal raw ingredient in its manufacture is xylan or wood fiber. It is also found naturally in our bodies and is widely distributed throughout nature in small amounts.

It has been noted that about one cup of raspberries contains less than one gram of xylitol.

Is Xylitol Safe?

Xylitol has been shown to be completely non-toxic and safe for human consumption (unlike many of the other sweeteners out there like Sweet-n-Low, Equal, and Splenda).

It is also interesting to note that our bodies produce up to 15 grams of xylitol from other food sources using established energy pathways. Which makes Xylitol a normal part of everyday metabolism.

Does Xylitol have any known benefits?

In short… Yes.

Recently… Xylitol has become very popular as a sugar substitute because it has been shown to help reduce tooth decay and even help reverse it when it is already present. It can do this because of its molecular structure, which makes it unusable by the mouth bacteria that cause dental caries and plaque cannot grow with it.

xylipureAlso, as saliva that contains Xylitol is alkaline (the pH is above 7), the calcium and phosphate salts in our saliva can start to naturally re-mineralize our tooth enamel in the places that they are lacking, which has a hardening effect on decay-softened enamel. It can be used as a healthy sugar substitute, or just taken orally and swished around the mouth for good dental care.

One of the added benefits of Xylitol is the fact that it is both a low-glycemic sweetener and alkalizing to the body, making it an ideal sugar substitute for those on weight-loss diets and for those wanting optimum health without the “sugar-blues”. (Xylitol, however, is not a low or no calorie product — each teaspoon or 4g contains 9.6 calories as opposed to normal sugar’s 15.8 calories for the equivalent weight.) As it is low glycemic, it has become popular as a sweetener for diabetics and those interested in Syndrome X.

Another benefit for children is that if they use Xylitol, he or she may get fewer ear infections. Children should use the gum or syrup every day, whether they are ill or not.A recent exciting study has shown that osteoporosis may be another condition for which Xylitol may be of help. In studies in Finland in 1994, Xylitol was shown to be able to maintain bone density in rats that had their ovaries surgically removed. Without ovaries, estrogen levels in these rats plummeted – and so did the bone density in the rats that were not given Xylitol.

However, in ovary removed rats, which had been given Xylitol, bone density actually increased. This early study strongly indicated that Xylitol might help maintain bone density in normally aging intact (non sugar given) animals.

A recent report by the same team of Finnish scientists evaluated the effect of Xylitol on bone volume and bone mineral content in aged male rats, reinforcing their earlier study on female animals.
xylichew_gum
Studies show that 4 to 12 grams of xylitol per day are very effective. It’s easy to keep track of your xylitol intake. The “all xylitol” mints and gums contain about one gram of xylitol in each piece. You could begin with as little as one piece four times a day for a total of four grams. It is not necessary to use more than 15 grams per day as higher intakes yield diminishing dental benefits.

I personally pour a little into my hand and swish it around for awhile as well as add it to some of my homemade teas. It tastes great! I also only chew Xylitol gum as it is one of the only gums that actually can help your teeth and not damage them. And knowing that it has all of these added benefits, it can easily satisfy any sweet tooth cravings you may have.

To Your Health and Well-Being,

Shawn King
Wellness Coach

12 Comments leave one →
2009 October 19

…no…it can’t be…weeeeee muuuuussst figure a way to chemically make this! We can’t leave it up to mother earth to nourish us…that would be a crime on free enterprise and the growing diversification of FDA! (LOL)

I like to put a little in my salsa! When I made salsa the other day, I was going to, but didn’t. I will next time though!

2009 October 19

Great! I have always wondered about xylitol…now I know! I love chewing gum, but don’t chew the nasty stuff (artificial gum), but…I chew the sugary stuff which I know is horrible for my teeth. Off to get some Xylichew!!! :)

2009 October 20

@ Jeremy – That was some good Salsa… Even without it.
@ Jeannette – I used to chew gum a lot back in high school and on… then I started learning about it more and more and quit altogether. Then I found Xylichew and once again it was on. However, its not the easiest to find, especially when traveling. Its good tho.
@ Tim – Yea, Trehalose is another good one. I’m sure I’ll do a post on it in the future.

I appreciate the comments…

2009 October 19
Tim permalink

Xylitol is awesome,
The other extremely healthy sugar is Trehalose, as it is sweet, with a low glycemic index. There are safe alternatives out there, if the general public would just open their eyes.
Tim

2009 October 20

@Tim – I never heard of Trehalose until just now…is it as good tasting and readily available (as much as Xylitol at least)? Thanks.

2009 October 20
Irish permalink

Shawn,
Keep up the good work of informing us all! Great place for intresting info!

2009 October 30

Question-is Xylitol a sugar alcohol and will it produce bloating/gas?

2009 October 30

Great question Jeannette.

It’s important to note that anything with an “-itol” at the end of it means that it is a sugar alcohol.

So to answer that part of your question… Yes it is a sugar alcohol.

And you brought up another important point which is that during your initial consumption of Xylitol one can get the effects of bloating, diarrhea, and flatulence, although generally rather less so than other sugar alcohols like sorbitol.

What’s interesting is that most of my research has said that if you do experience any of that, that it is a temporary adjustment that you are going through.

I’m not 100% on this one, but I wouldn’t put it past the thought that since Xylitol has been shown to increase the activity of neutrophils, the white blood cells involved in fighting many bacteria and that the consumption of xylitol may help control oral infections of Candida yeast (at least in the mouth), that this may very well be one of the reasons that someone could experience some of the initial effects listed above.

Your body is stimulated to react with the yeasts and bad bacteria that reside in your intestines… Hence possible bloating, gas, etc. in the very beginning of use while your body adjusts. (again, that’s my take on it so far) I’m also seeing that one would have to ingest a fair amount to get these reactions… And personally I do not use that much quantity of it when I do use it, which is only on occasion.

2009 October 30

Well these side affects seem mild considering the “toxins” that are typically “recommended” for that sort o’ thing.

I’ve never heard of Candida of the mouth. How would someone know if they had that? Is there particular symptoms?

Could you slap some xylitol in your mouth real quick and get rid of it if you kissed someone that had it? (I know that sounds funny but I’m sure other people are thinking the same thing…or at least wondering about it).

2009 October 30

@Jeremy – yea and “IF” you possibly experience any of them it is usually reported to subside after a very short period of time while your body does its thing and adjusts to this healthy alternative.

Candida in the mouth is called “Thrush” – we cover this in a lot more detail as well as many other important things you should absolutely know and have incorporated into your lifestyle inside my Wellness Course @ http://www.OnYourPathOfWellness.com

2009 November 8
leticia permalink

I’ve never heard of this before. I’m glad
there is an alternative and more choices. Gosh Shawn,
your on it! Great information. Thanks again!

2010 March 20
johnmerrick permalink

So can consumption of xylitol help increase your PH; make you more alkaline??

thanks.

Leave A Comment

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS