Xylitol and Gut Health
Gut bacteria both good and bad is always a hot topic. There are two common kinds of intestinal overgrowth of bad bacteria.
- Candida is the most common and occurs naturally in the intestines, however it often decides to overgrow and overtake the population of beneficial bacteria.
- Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO, is the second most common type of overgrowth. This is when bacteria from the large intestines migrate up into the small intestines and disturb the natural balance of beneficial microbes in the small intestines.
There are Five Major Causes of Intestinal Overgrowth
- Overuse of medications, antibiotics and antacids have all been shown to alter the intestinal bacteria.
- Weak stomach acid production, which allows undesirable bacteria to safely enter the small intestine.
- Years of untreated elimination and gastrointestinal issues. The intestinal skin cannot be too dry or too wet, it has to be just right for the proper bugs to thrive.
- A lifetime of processed and foods with a high sugar content that feed the undesirable microbes and disturb the healthy bacteria.
- Stress. This can damage the ileocecal valve (ICV) and allow large intestinal microbes to migrate into the small intestine.
So how do we heal our gut?
Try to limit unneccesary medications, boost your stomach acid and make sure your elimination needs are being met. Take steps to lower the stress in your life, take up a class or simply start to meditate each day, which can be done simply and easily in your own home. Along with reversing the 5 major causes of intestinal growth above, there is strong evidence to support the supplementation of probiotics.
A Four-Step Plan
A logical strategy for a probiotic regime would be to introduce colonizing microbes into the gut and digestive tract to promote digestive self-sufficiency. We suggest a four-step comprehensive plan for perfect gut health:
Step 1: Support the intestinal mucus membrane by introducing prebiotic soluble fibre to create the best possible environment for healthy microbes to thrive.
Good sources of prebiotic soluble fibre in foods are: bananas, soy beans, artichokes, whole oats, wheat, barley, garlic, flaxseeds, legumes, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables and new evidence is suggesting ground almonds too!
Step 2: Include probiotic-rich foods in your diet, good sources are: yoghurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, buttermilk, sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables.
Step 3: : Introduce healthy, colonizing probiotics that will remove the unwanted, bad bacteria and make way for new beneficial, good bacteria to proliferate.
Step 4: Maintain with colonizing probiotics as needed and regularly add small amounts of fermented foods and seasonal eating.
Xylitol and Gut Health
Xylitol is viewed as fiber by your stomach – so it travels quickly through and into the lower digestive system. In the lower intestine, xylitol feeds healthy digestive bacteria and this can lead to improved digestive health and better absorption of minerals by the body. The best time to consume xylitol is at the end of a meal – so that it will follow food through the stomach and this is also the best time for your teeth. You only need 5g of xylitol over the course of the day. An easy way to achieve this would be to mix a teaspoon (approx 5g) of xylitol into a glass of water and drink a bit at the end of each meal and snack, then at the end of the day you will have consumed 5g.
Here is a review of one recent study at the National Institute of Health:
…a beneficial shift in the metabolic patterns of the colon microbes was measured with the tested products. These in vitro studies provide evidence to the prebiotic characteristics… and beneficial properties of xylitol were demonstrated in the colon model.
Read the entire article here:
Hope this gives you a new way to think about xylitol and how it can benefit your digestive health.