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Xylitol and Upper Respiratory Health:        Studies You Should Know

The concept of nasal hygiene to lessen coronavirus infection is not new, there are a number of groups that are looking at solutions that would be applied into the nose where most of the virus is currently growing unchecked, something that could possibly wash the virus away and get rid of it before it has the chance to take hold and make a person sick.  Here are a few of the studies that have been done to support this concept.

Utah State University COVID-19 Study


Virucidal Activity of various Saline and Xylitol Compounds vs SARS-CoV-2 Virus - Jonna B. Westover, Ph.D., Utah State University, Institute for Antiviral Research 



At Utah State University’s Institute of Antiviral Research, Dr. Jonna Westover, Ph.D., and her team performed various studies to identify if xylitol saline solution had any effect on COVID-19. 



The study compared the possible effect of different three different saline solutions with xylitol against Chlorhexidine and ethanol with water as a control. The three different solutions were: saline and xylitol alone, saline and xylitol with added essential oils, and Chlorhexidine ... The results were outstanding, each of the saline and xylitol solutions reduced the virus to an undetectable amount, chlorhexidine had a negligible effect on the virus.


Why is this important? 

With government agencies and pharmaceutical companies pumping so much money and energy into finding a solution for COVID-19, this study shows a simple, safe, and cheap option that could be an effective solution to the pandemic.

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There are other groups that are looking for solutions to this covid 19 problem with nasal spray options.

A nasal spray that prevents COVID-19? Pitt researchers awarded grants for urgent COVID-19 research

Imagine a drug that you spray into your nose that could prevent COVID-19.

That’s one of the 17 COVID-19-related projects that Pitt Health Sciences researchers are working on, funded by $900,000 from the University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). These grants are designed to get promising research off the ground with the hope of garnering larger, additional grants. More...

DISCLAIMER: We do realize that this is all preliminary data, the tests of any of these products on humans are just barely getting started.  What we do know is that most of these products are extremely safe and have decades of safety data to back them up.  We know that they will not cause harm, there are no side effects, and it just makes sense to assist our nasal defenses as our bodies are coping with this new coronavirus.

Inflammation & Airway Study


Xylitol Nasal Irrigation: A Possible Alternative Strategy for the Management of Chronic Rhinosinusitis 

Nsouli, T. M.; Nsouli, S. T.; Diliberto, N. Z.; Davis, C. M.; Bellanti, J. A. ORAL ABSTRACT #46, Monday, November 9, 2015



In a 2015 presentation, Dr. Talal Nsouli of Georgetown University shared his findings of a study he conducted looking at the effects of irrigating the sinuses with a xylitol saline as compared to a normal saline. Chronic rhinosinusitis affects an estimated 14% of the U.S. population with a significant decrease in quality of life. Unfortunately, it is also a condition that is hard to treat.  



Dr. Nsouli found that a xylitol saline reduced participants’ SNOT-20 score (a questionnaire which helps determine the severity of a person’s chronic rhinosinusitis) by 25%, demonstrating an increase in their quality of life. Additionally, the study showed that a saline with xylitol increased participants’ peak airflow by 36% when compared to saline alone. In fact, in both results, over time, saline alone worsened the participants’ condition and airflow. 


Why is this important? 

Inflammation in the sinuses is a leading cause of congestion. This study demonstrates that a combination of xylitol and saline reduces sinus tissue volume and opens up the airway, helping people to breathe better and easier.

Bacterial Adhesion Study


Antiadhesive effects of xylitol on otopathogenic bacteria - Tero Kontiokaria, Matti Uharia and Markku Koskela - Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (1998) 41, 563–565


In a 1998 study, researchers decided to test how xylitol affected the bacterium Streptococcus Pneumoniae. Previous studies found that xylitol inhibited oral bacteria from adhering to tissue. In this study, researchers, “hypothesized that xylitol may also affect the adhesion of [other bacteria], and [they] tested this hypothesis in vitro.” 



On average, s. pneumoniae had a stable adhesion of 41 bacteria per cell. When the cell and bacteria were exposed to xylitol, adherence reduced to 13 bacteria per cell, a decrease of over 68%. 


Why is this important? 

In order to thrive and grow, bacteria stick to cells and go through a process called quorum sensing where they come together to create a colony. If an agent, like xylitol, can inhibit bacteria from sticking to cells, then the bacteria cannot thrive and will be washed out of the body.



Opens the Airway Study


Improved Nasal Volume Utilizing Hyperosmotic Saline Xylitol Mixture (Effective Alternative or Adjunct to Decongestants and Antihistamines) 


Orthodontic Practice, Vol 10, No. 2, pp. 47-52 



An obstructed airway can lead to headaches, sleep apnea, and TMD. One of the greatest causes of airway obstruction is soft tissue hypertrophy or inflammation. In a study, Dr. Steven R. Olmos looked to reduce inflammation in the nose by using a saline and xylitol solution. 



Using the saline and xylitol solution effectively reduced soft tissue hypertrophy (inflammation) and rehydrated the tissue. Researchers noted, “The health benefits of increased nasal volume and flow improve sleep breathing disorders, respiratory disease. Increase in nasal breathing results in uprighting head posture results in a reduction of chronic facial pain, headaches, and jaw locking.” 


Why is this important? 

This study demonstrates that a xylitol and saline nasal spray has many benefits by helping to open up the airway. The nasal spray is also safe to use by all ages, has no rebound like decongestants and antihistamines, and is cost-effective.



Rhinitis Medicamentosa Study


Xylitol treats nasal mucosa in rhinitis medicamentosa: an experimental rat model study 

Behram Cam · Murat Sari · Ahmet Midi · Ozgül Gergin 

Springer Nature, August 29, 2019; online 



When people overuse certain nasal decongestants, they may suffer from rhinitis medicamentosa, or inflammation caused by the medication. In a study, researchers compared the nasal steroid mometasone and a xylitol saline solution to see what healing effects they have. 



The study showed that both had great effect on improving the condition, but more importantly, it demonstrated that a natural saline solution with xylitol is just as effective as a common medicated steroidal spray. 


Why is this important? 

People often turn to medication to treat conditions because there is a perceived idea that medications work best. However, this study shows that a natural xylitol-saline is just as effective as the medicated spray.


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