Dec. 29, 2022
The natural sweetener xylitol is a low-calorie sugar substitute that can be found in many sugar-free products such as chewing gum, tablets, syrups, nasal sprays, toothpaste and mouthwash.
Research suggests that xylitol may have both antibacterial and antiviral properties, which are not commonly found in natural ingredients. Back in 2019, an article published in the health and nutrition journal Nutrients stated that ingesting xylitol produces a compound in the gut called butyric acid, which promotes the production of regulatory T cells, an important component of the body's immune system. Another study found that the presence of xylitol in the body prevents certain harmful bacteria from adhering to the mucosal surfaces of the lungs. Xylitol has also been found to have the ability to fight staphylococcal infections.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, xylitol's ability to act as an effective antiviral agent has also been investigated. An article published in PLOS One mentioned that xylitol in combination with red ginseng was effective in improving flu symptoms associated with influenza A. As research has shown xylitol to be an effective antibacterial and antiviral drug, some companies have introduced nasal products containing xylitol, which may be effective against SARS-CoV-2. A study of a nasal spray containing xylitol and Iota-carrageenan (a class of red algae) found that this combination may enhance the efficacy of a formulated nasal spray specifically designed to fight the COVID-19 virus.
A recent study published in Allergy and Infectious Disease in 2021 found that intranasal use of antivirals such as xylitol, grapefruit seed extract, corticosteroids and hydrogen peroxide may provide clinical benefit for patients with COVID-19. Nasal sprays may reduce viral activity in the nasal route, thereby preventing the spread of COVID-19 in people who are not yet infected with the virus and controlling the severity of the virus in those infected. The authors mentioned, "The limited strategies currently available to modify the viral load in the respiratory tract of infected patients justify the need for novel therapeutic interventions targeting the major routes of infection. Intranasal antiviral drug interventions and antiviral therapy may be a novel strategy to provide additional clinical benefit by reducing viral activity in the nasal pathway, thereby preventing disease transmission, controlling disease severity and limiting complications."
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