Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener; it’s primarily found in toothpaste, mouthwash, chewing gum, nasal sprays, and some food products. It contains fewer calories than standard table sugar, so it’s often used as a sugar substitute. Research indicates xylitol has antibacterial benefits to promote oral health, especially reducing cavities. But it hasn’t shown the same efficacy with treating of systemic infections like Lyme disease.
Xylitol has documented efficacy for reducing cavities, and it’s an excellent nasal rinse for chronic sinusitis. But increasing consumption of xylitol hasn’t been shown to improve systemic infections.
In small quantities, xylitol works well for oral health or as a sugar substitute in your food. However, if you try to consume the amount of xylitol required to achieve high concentrations in your system, you’re likely to experience significant gastrointestinal issues, such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea, and wind up feeling miserable.
Xylitol is more expensive than standard table sugar (about $10 to $40 per bag) but costs about the same as other natural sugar substitutes like stevia.
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1. Salli K, Lehtinen MJ, Tiihonen K, Ouwehand AC. Xylitol’s Health Benefits beyond Dental Health: A Comprehensive Review. Nutrients. 2019;11(8):1813. Published 2019 Aug 6. doi: 10.3390/nu11081813