Xylitol - Not Just for Dental Health

Dec. 10, 2022

Without universal health, there will be no overall relatively comfortable life. As consumers' awareness of the relationship between sugar and health continues to grow, "health" has become a buzzword in social development and public life. Sugar-reduced diets are no longer the exclusive domain of diabetics and weight-controlled individuals, but are gradually becoming a daily choice for ordinary consumers.

The "Reduced Sugar User Consumption Behavior Report (2021)" survey released by Yuanqisenlin to the public shows that 53.1% of reduced sugar users consider xylitol to be the safest sugar substitute. Xylitol is best known for its dental benefits, such as reducing the risk of dental caries, but the health benefits of xylitol go beyond dental health. A 2019 article by Salli,Krista et al. reviewed other health benefits of xylitol, including weight management, gut health, bone health, ear, nose and throat health, and skin health.


Weight Management

Studies have found a negative correlation between xylitol intake and weight loss, contributing to weight management.

One of the significant ways in which xylitol contributes to weight management is by replacing sucrose. Because xylitol is equal in sweetness to sucrose, replacing sucrose with xylitol will reduce the caloric value of food while maintaining its flavour.

Xylitol consumption also increases levels of cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon-like peptide 1, known as "satiety hormones". It also delays gastric emptying time, which also plays a role in weight control to some extent.

In addition, although xylitol is similar in sweetness to sucrose and glucose, its molecular structure and properties are different. Xylitol has a glycaemic index of 7, while glucose has a glycaemic index of 100. Therefore, it has minimal effect on elevated blood sugar or insulin levels, which helps maintain normal metabolic system function and reduces the risk of obesity.

Intestinal health

After dietary xylitol is partially absorbed in the small intestine through passive diffusion, the remaining xylitol enters the colon, where it can serve as a carbon source for the intestinal flora and metabolize to produce short-chain fatty acids that provide energy to the host and support immune system homeostasis. Xylitol has been found to increase the number of Gram-positive bacteria and decrease Gram-negative bacteria, as well as inhibit the growth of Candida in faeces, among others. In addition, xylitol intervention can also increase the levels of butyric acid, which is a source of energy for colon cells and is thought to be beneficial for intestinal health, as well as being associated with immune system regulation. Although many microorganisms are unable to metabolize and utilize xylitol, xylitol can act synergistically by combining with probiotics, such as Lactobacillus plant arum in combination with 5% xylitol to block Clostridium derringers spore germination in vitro.

In addition, xylitol contributes to the recovery of intestinal function. Postoperative consumption of xylitol gum in patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery, caesarean section, and elective proctocolectomy can shorten the time to first gas and first bowel sounds in patients. It helps in the early normalization of bowel function after surgery.


Bone health

Xylitol intervention can increase serum calcium ion levels, bone mineral density, reduce the loss of bone trabecular structures, calcium and phosphorus, promote increased bone formation activity and decreased bone resorption activity, and produce a significant protective effect on bone metabolism. The ability of xylitol to positively affect bone health is consistent with its biological properties. Its fermentation and utilization by flora in the colon promotes short-chain fatty acid production and pH reduction. In turn, it improves the solubility and absorption of minerals such as calcium, and butyrate stimulates bone formation by modulating T cell-dependent mechanisms.

Ear, nose and throat health

Xylitol reduces the growth of Staphylococcus epidermis, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginous, Pseudomonas aeruginous, Pneumococcus and other bacteria in vitro and reduces biofilm formation. It helps to improve the symptoms of respiratory tract infection, sinusitis and otitis media.

Skin health

Topical skin exposure to xylitol has been shown to reduce skin water loss by a mechanism that may be related to increased tight junctions and barrier formation in the skin. Studies have found that xylitol intake from the diet can improve skin thickness. In addition, xylitol in combination with other compounds has shown some antimicrobial activity against skin pathogens.\

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