As you chew your gum, do you even think about the ingredients? Do you even bother to check what kind of sugar was used? You would probably check now when you know that it might have Xylitol and there are possible Xylitol side effects that you might experience. Before you delve further into the side effects, it might be necessary that you read on what Xylitol is and how it works.
Medical Uses of Xylitol
Xylitol is one of the medicines that come from birch wood. It is one of the natural alcohols extracted from plants, vegetables, and fruits. Its general use is a sweetener substitute. Although, it is rarely used as such since sorbitol is a lot cheaper and easier to extract. One of the medical benefits that Xylitol offers to young children is that it diminishes the incidence and prevalence of infections of the middle ear. It is also widely used nowadays as one of the ingredients in formulating tube feedings as an additional source of energy. In addition, this naturally occurring alcohol is also utilized as one of the medications to lessen presence of dental caries.
Xylitol Side Effects / Danger
• One of the immediate side effects of Xylitol is by causing diarrhea. When this happens, it is best to hydrate the patient.
• Another side effect is the possible occurrence of intestinal gas especially when Xylitol is used in chewing gums.
• When you talk about the long-term side effects of Xylitol, it is quite alarming since it may cause presence of tumors. There have been reports of the development of tumors among patients who take higher than recommended doses of Xylitol in a period of about three years.
• It is also highly advisable to stay away from any amount of Xylitol when you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as there are no studies done to see the effects on your child.
• Veterinarians also warn about the effects in dogs when they get to eat foods with Xylitol. Most dogs would experience seizures so it is best that you do not allow your dogs to eat foods with sweeteners like Xylitol.
In order to decrease the presence of these side effects of Xylitol, it is important that you know the right dosage that you and your child should take.
Orally: the dosage is about 8-10 grams a day for those young children with otitis media or middle ear infection. You may divide this up to five doses after each meal. It may be in the form of lozenges, syrup, or chewing gums.
Topically: For prevention of cavities, the dosage may vary from 7 grams (children) to about 20 grams (adults) divided in 3-5 doses.
if you look at it, the Xylitol side effects could be either benign like intestinal gas to something serious like the development of tumors. The lesson here is by getting the right information on the food and medications that you take. It is best to always stay on the safe side.