I just arrived home from Xlear’s Xylitol Convention in Cancun and have learned SO many amazing things! I am truly excited (or as they say “juiced up”!) about the potential that xylitol has in the medical world, and the amazing things that it is also doing in the dental world. More importantly I’m REALLY excited about how it can help my children. As a typical mom my children and their health are #1 on my priority list. After being disappointed by less-than-helpful doctors who just wanted to throw antibiotics and steroids at every sniffle my kids had I found myself taking their advice with a grain of salt, and only administering medications handed to me sparingly on a needed basis. I realized quickly that these doctors only wanted a quick fix for my kids cough or allergy issues and several years ago I finally started my journey into looking into more natural and alternative treatments. Nothing wacky or crazy, just something healthier than loading my kids up on meds.
When I was offered the opportunity to become a Xlear Ambassador I jumped on it! We have been using their Spry gum for years (without any knowledge of what xylitol was) but I was eager to learn. I am just blown away from everything that I have learned here. No, it’s not a miracle product and no, it won’t cure your diseases, but let me take this week to share with you what I have learned. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly via my contact form and if I can’t answer your question I guarantee you that I know someone who can. I have spent the weekend connecting and meeting with dentists, physicians, researches, and other Xlear employees and employees in the medical profession who have already taught me so much.
So what is xylitol?
Good question! Up until recently I had never even heard of xylitol – and chances are many of you have not either. Xylitol is a white crystalline substance that is found naturally in plants, trees, fruit, berries, and even in our own bodies. For those of you more scientifically minded xylitol is a 5 carbon atom (sugar has 6 carbons) so not only does it look like sugar but it also tastes like sugar….but it is not a sugar. It has been studied for over 25 years so this is not a new revelation of a product by any means. In fact the initial studies were fueled by accidental discoveries.
What are the benefits of xylitol?
This is by NO means an exhaustive list but some of the many things I have learned about xylitol this past weekend.
- reduces plaque
- prevents cavities
- prevents gum disease
- fights bacteria (in the mouth, on wounds, etc.)
- allows for remineralization of tooth enamel
- is an alternative sweetener to sugar (GREAT for diabetics – keep an eye out for more info on this!)
- 40% less calories than sugar
- prevents ear infections
- prevents upper respiratory infections
Why the hype about xylitol?
There has been a bit of buzz going around lately about xylitol, and at first I thought it was just another one of those fads. (we know there are plenty out there!) But as I learned more about xylitol, and realized that it has basically been around forever, I realized that not only are there absolutely stunning medical benefits but this is not a new product at all! I think that we are just now realizing the capacity of how beneficial xylitol really is. I won’t lie – before I knew what xylitol was I googled “xylitol” and found some REALLY scary stuff out there. I was a little nervous to agree to be an ambassador for this reason! BUT I really wanted to learn more and am SO glad I chose to be informed by doctors and medical professionals instead of random forums on the internet! I am hoping the articles that I will write will help to address any of these concerns. So I recommend NOT reading random forums about xylitol – stay informed by a reliable source. And it doesn’t have to be from Xlear if you’re afraid of a bias! Look at the studies done by researchers, doctors, and scientists that aren’t even related to Xlear! Or if you’d rather go straight to the source give them a call on the phone! The next few weeks and throughout the year I will be posting about different aspects of xylitol so that YOU can be informed and I will of course share the names of the doctors, the studies, and other professional information so that you can look it up yourself as well. I can help answers questions about the scary things misconstrued online about xylitol as well as share medical explanation of a more detailed nature.
Are there any downsides or warnings with using xylitol?
Yes! Just as you shouldn’t eat 5 pounds of chocolate in a day (or over-gorge on anything!) xylitol is no different! If you look online you’ll see all sorts of scary things and complaints like your dog can die all the way to massive diarrhea attacks, an ingredient is made in China, etc. I have all of the information to these questions and scenarios. My background is in Biology so I loved hearing from the medical and pathological standpoint how all of this works! I asked all sorts of pointed questions so that I could really understand the biological effect that xylitol has and will be incorporating more xylitol in our family’s daily life. Xylitol is used as a preventative. It does NOT KILL BACTERIA. This is one big myth that I wanted to debunk right away. It will not magically make your cavities go away. It will not magically make your colds and ear infections disappear. It does not guarantee that you will never be sick again. This by itself is an entire post of a topic that if you are patient with me I will share with you in another post. It does however prevent the bacteria from being able to properly form and helps your body’s immune system to help take over the process of conquering these bacteria. I will share detailed explanations of that as well later on. If you decide to down an entire bag of xylitol it WILL give you the runs – it produces a laxative effect in very high quantities. It is not a permanent effect and it does not happen with normal appropriate usage. Again it’s about using it appropriately – I will later create another post with more information on this topic as well since it is one that I found as a “scary” topic online. Who wants the runs!? Additionally the last scary topic I read about which WAS addressed at the conference was that xylitol can kill your dog. I will do another post on this as well and I do suggest keeping any xylitol products away from dogs but remember – xylitol is a naturally occurring substance so if you’ve ever shared human food with your dog chances are you’ve already fed them xylitol unknowingly. In a healthy dog it is not a problem if they get into a small amount. A piece of gum will not kill your dog! However if your dog has a liver dysfunction or blood sugar issues and eats abnormally large amounts of xylitol their body thinks that it is sugar and this can send them into hypoglycemic shock. It’s common sense. Just as if a diabetic person decided to just chow down on large amounts of sugar, a dog with medical issues or blood sugar issues will have problems with accidental xylitol ingestion. It is NOT sugar but because the molecular structure is so similar to sugar a dog’s body cannot tell the difference.
So WHY in the world am I personally interested in xylitol? It actually has nothing to do with being a Xlear Ambassador, even though that is of course part of the job. I am personally interested in it for my family. If I can help prevent cavities, allergies, and asthma attacks in my kids alone do you have any idea how much money that would save us? Not to mention the benefits of being healthier, less complications, less antibiotics, less doctor visits, etc. For you maybe it’s because of diabetes, for someone else maybe they need it for extra bacterial preventatives during a lung transplant, or even for burn victims to prevent secondary infections. From sleep apnea to cavities there are SO many benefits of using xylitol. There are a LOT of uses of xylitol and I can’t wait to create some more articles for you to read! I will be covering articles such as “How much xylitol should you have a day?”, “Why does Xlear get their xylitol from China?”, “Using xylitol in cooking”, and more.