XYLITOL

OTHER NAME(S):

Birch Sugar, E967, Meso-Xylitol, M├ęso-Xylitol, Sucre de Bouleau, Xilitol, Xylit, Xylite, Xylo-pentane-1,2,3,4,5-pentol.<br/><br/>

Overview

Overview Information

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.

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.

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.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Likely Effective for

  • 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 significantly reduce the rate of cavity formation in both adults and children. But some national brands of chewing gum contain milligram amounts of xylitol, far less than the gram doses that prevent tooth decay. Xylitol products appear to be more effective than products containing sorbitol for preventing cavities.

Possibly Effective for

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Prevention of dry mouth.
  • As a sugar substitute for people with diabetes.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of xylitol for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

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. Avoid higher doses. There is some concern that extremely high doses for long periods of time (more than three years) can cause tumors. Xylitol can cause diarrhea and intestinal gas. It is probably safe for children as a medicine in amounts up to 20 grams per day.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of xylitol during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Interactions

Interactions?

We currently have no information for XYLITOL Interactions.

Dosing

Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For reducing the risk of ear infections in preschoolers: total daily doses of 8.4 to 10 grams of xylitol in chewing gum, lozenges, or syrup given in five divided doses after meals.
APPLIED TO THE SKIN:
  • For prevention of cavities in adults and children, a wide range of doses has been used. Typically, doses are from 7 to 20 grams per day divided into three to five doses, usually given as candies or chewing gum that contact the gums.

View References

REFERENCES:

  • Crapo PA. Use of alternative sweeteners in diabetic diet. Diabetes Care 1988;11:174-82. View abstract.
  • Everything added to food in the US. US Food and Drug Administration, November 2011. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodIngredientsPackaging/ucm115326.htm
  • Gales MA, Nguyen TM. Sorbitol compared with xylitol in prevention of dental caries. Ann Pharmacother 2000;34:98-100. View abstract.
  • Gales MA, Nguyen TM. Sorbitol compared with xylitol in prevention of dental caries. Ann Pharmacother 2000;34:98-100. View abstract.
  • Lee B, Sue D. Xylitol for prevention of dental caries. DICP 1989;23:691-2.
  • Makinen KK. Can the pentitol-hexitol theory explain the clinical observations made with xylitol? Med Hypotheses 2000;54:603-13. View abstract.
  • Makinen KK. The rocky road of xylitol to its clinical application. J Dent Res 2000;79:1352-5.
  • Merck Index, 12th ed. Whitehouse Station: Merck Research Laboratories, 1996.
  • Soderling E, Isokangas P, Pienihakkinen K, Tenovuo J. Influence of maternal xylitol consumption on acquisition of mutans streptococci by infants. J Dent Res 2000;79:882-7. View abstract.
  • Tapiainen T, Luotonen L, Kontiokari T, et al. Xylitol administered only during respiratory infections failed to prevent acute otitis media. Pediatrics 2002;109:E19. View abstract.
  • Uhari M, Kontiokari T, Koskela M, Niemela M. Xylitol chewing gum in prevention of acute otitis media: double-blind, randomized trial. BMJ 1996;313:1180-4. View abstract.
  • Uhari M, Kontiokari T, Niemela M. A novel use of xylitol sugar in preventing acute otitis media. Pediatrics 1998;102:879-84. View abstract.

More Resources for XYLITOL

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.