Xylitol is the next big thing in artificial sweeteners, but did you also know it is used to make medicine? Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol found in most plant materials, including various fruits and vegetables. It is extracted from birch wood to make medicine and is most commonly used to prevent ear infections in young children. You may also find it as a sugar substitute in many gums, mints and candies, many of which are made for people with diabetes. And, being an alternative to sugar, products containing it can prevent tooth decay.
Side Effects: Studies show that Xylitol is mostly safe in the amounts found in foods. It’s proven harmless as a medicine for most adults in amounts up to about 50 grams per day. Any does higher than that could cause adverse reactions. There is some concern that extremely high doses for long periods of time (more than three years) can cause tumors. Beware that Xylitol can cause diarrhea and intestinal gas. It is probably safe for children as a medicine in amounts of up to 20 grams per day.
Dog owners should know that Xylitol can be toxic to dogs, even when relatively small amounts are eaten. If your dog eats any kind of product that contains Xylitol, see a veterinarian immediately.
Not enough is known about the use of xylitol during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.