Adding xylitol to a saline nasal spray creates added value by promoting upper respiratory health without drying out the nasal passages. It adds a one–two punch that helps defend us from both infections and allergens.
The first punch is the fact that xylitol prevents the most common infectious agents that normally live in the nose from holding on there. That means they are just washed out and can’t cause any infection. One nice thing about that punch is that when bacteria are constrained in this way they tend to adapt in ways that are more friendly to us rather than trying to recycle us.
The second punch comes from xylitol’s support of our own defenses. This defense comes from the combination of the mucus the nose makes that hangs on to all of the garbage in the nose, and the cilia–the small microscopic hairs in the nose–that sweep it out down the back of the throat where we swallow and recycle it in our stomachs. That’s the normal process.
That cleaning process is handicapped by dry air. That’s why cold season follows when we first turn on the heat in winter; heating drys the air. And we have experienced more respiratory infections since we have moved to more comfortable homes that are insulted better and have central heating and cooling. Both of these processes remove available moisture in the air.
The other element that contributes to our increased problems is our wrong-headed development of drugs that turn off our defense. Histamine is the trigger for the back-up defense in the respiratory tract; it up-ticks the washing by increasing the fluid and making more mucus. But we saw the runny nose as a problem and antihistamines as the solution. In fact antihistamines hobble the defense by blocking its trigger. If you hobble the defense of your favorite football team they will lose the game and it’s the same with us.
Adding xylitol to your nasal spray pulls water into your nose. It lasts there and does this for 4 to 6 hours, and the added water optimizes our own normal cleaning processes. If the defense of the respiratory tract is optimal you will win more often in the ongoing battle we all are engaged in with irritants and infectious agents in our environments.
If you are interested in how this was developed please read about it at www.commonsensemedicine.org.
Medicated nasal sprays can create an addiction and what is called “rebound congestion.” This happens because they do nothing for the underlying problem. The nasal spray reduces the swelling in the nasal passages, but the irritant is still there so the screams for help from our noses get louder. That leads to more washing and the more frequent need for the drugs that turn it off. Xylitol does something about the irritant and is the best way to get off the addiction merry-go-round however.
Most recommend using the spray twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. If you have a problem more frequent use is OK. One user shares this tack for those with an acute problem: spray your nose; wait five minutes; if not better spray again, and repeat until better. It usually takes less than half an hour.
Because nasal sprays with xylitol are made with natural ingredients, they are safe for all ages. In fact, they have additional benefits for children. The addition of xylitol to a child’s upper respiratory can help with ear infections and even dental health.
Xylitol nasal sprays are available over the counter in all natural product stores and many pharmacies.