Five Carbon Sugar Against Asthma & Allergy

Get rid of allergy triggers

Xylitol 5 Carbon Sugar Against Asthma and Allergy

Xylitol 5 Carbon Sugar Against Asthma and Allergy

Healthy Living spoke to Dr. Lon Jones, a clinical assistant professor of family medicine at Texas Tech University Medical School and the author of No More Allergies, Asthma or Sinus Infections, about the role xylitol, a five-carbon sugar bacteria cannot digest, plays in supporting the health of both adults and kids who are otherwise susceptible to asthma and allergies.

Say Xylitol Dr Lon Jones

Say Xylitol Dr Lon Jones

Dr. Jones says that asthma and allergy sufferers can be greatly helped with one simple action-keeping the nose clean. Xylitol simply enhances the body's own nasal cleansing mechanism.

Asthma is your nose recognizing that if the garbage (infectious bacteria) it senses gets in your lungs, it will kill you. And one of the things your immune system is able to do in that circumstance is shut off your air bronchospasm. And that's what medicine is focusing on treating- the spasm portion of the condition.

Asthma is your nose recognizing that if the garbage (infectious bacteria) it senses gets in your lungs, it will kill you. And one of the things your immune system is able to do in that circumstance is shut off your air bronchospasm. And that’s what medicine is focusing on treating- the spasm portion of the condition.

HL: How did you first discover that a xylitol-enhanced saline nasal wash/spray might be helpful in protecting against asthma and allergies?

Lon Jones: It really began with the birth of my granddaughter. She started having ear infections. And when the doctor recommended putting tubes in her ears, we knew there had to be a better way.

My wife, Jerry, a special education teacher who first alerted me to the connection between asthma and allergy medications and learning difficulties in her own student population, told me to come up with the solution, and when your wife tells you to do something, well...

Around the same time, I read an article presenting research on xylitol gum and tooth decay-the Finnish people chew gum with xylitol because it prevents tooth decay. The bottom line of studies with that gum for tooth decay is that two sticks, five times a day equals 80 percent less tooth decay. I read additional research in the British Medical Journal showing benefits of chewing gum with xylitol on ear infections. Dr. Matti Uhari at the University of Finland showed that children who chew two sticks of xylitol gum five times a day had 42 percent less ear infections. In his study, Dr. Uhari showed that it works because of an effect that xylitol has on the bacteria that cause ear infections. Those bacteria live in your nose. So my thought was, why don't we put xylitol there? When I did, my granddaughters ear infections went away.

HL: What is the affect of xylitol on bacteria in the nose?

LJ: Finnish researchers found that xylitol decreases the ability of nasal pathogens to “hold on.” In the study, a five percent xylitol solution got rid of 68 percent of Streptococcus pneumoniae. Unlike most sugars, which have six carbons, xylitol is a five-carbon sugar of the plant kingdom. What glucose is to animals, xylose is to plants.

Different bacteria that eat plants can all handle xylitol, but that type of bacteria is generally not in people or animals. So if you put xylitol in the environment of a human, it makes it harder for the bacteria to live.

HL: How does the action of keeping the nose clean with xylitol help asthma sufferers?

LJ: First, it requires that we rethink asthma because conventional medicine today or current practice views asthma as our immune system attacking us and doing something that we don't want. So we have all of these drugs to take care of the immune system and the bronchospasms that it causes.

Can we get rid of that stuff in the nose that is triggering it? The answer to that is simply yes, you can. Keep your nose clean. The best way to keep your nose clean is to spray it with xylitol regularly.

HL: How does xylitol help protect against allergies?

LJ: How xylitol helps with allergies is looking at the way the nose cleans itself out.

If you don't have enough water, you are not going to have optimal mucus. You are going to have thick mucus that doesn't hold on to anything very well, that doesn't get swept out very well and you are more likely to get sick. If you pull water regularly into this airway surface fluid, when the atmosphere is dry, then you are optimizing this nasal cleansing process. Because the mucus is wet, the mucus is sticky and allergens get washed out. So you have that process working better when you have enough water and xylitol provides the water if the atmosphere doesn't.

The University of Iowa did a study with cystic fibrosis sufferers that showed how xylitol helped support the antimicrobial defense of the airway surface fluid. Xylitol is like soap for your nose. It turns on the tap.

HL: How often do you have to use xylitol?

LJ: It depends entirely on the person. There is no one right answer. If you are in a dry environment such as an airplane, use it often, every half hour. Or if you are in a typical indoor environment that is heated or air conditioned, I recommend five or six times a day. In general, I recommend that when you wash your hands, wash your nose.

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