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What Doctors Don't Tell You

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October 2020 (Vol. 5 Issue 7)

The Ignored Dangers and Side Effects of Common OTC Nasal Sprays
About the author: 

The Ignored Dangers and Side Effects of Common OTC Nasal Sprays image

A family physician in Hale Center Texas was fed up with giving infants round after round of antibiotics to cure their recurrent ear infections.

Dr. Jones understood that the overuse of antibiotics not only damaged the microbiome of the children but that it also helped the bacteria to become resistant, he knew there had to be a better way. As he searched PubMed for a solution what kept coming up in his queries were a bunch of dental research studies. Study after study that was being done in the dental field looking at the how and why of xylitol preventing tooth decay were also reporting in the data they collected that the children in these studies that used the xylitol chewing gum...not only were they not getting cavities they were getting 42% fewer ear infections. (BMJ Nov. 96) This didn't do him any good as the majority of children with recurrent Otitus were too young to chew gum, and the 5 times a day protocol was a lot to ask of the small children that could chew gum.

The researchers wanting to know why this 42% was happening dug in a little deeper and found that xylitol blocked the ability of the common pathogens in the upper airway to adhere to tissue.

Upon reading this article Dr. Jones had a thought...ear infections start in the nose, so why not put the xylitol in their nose...he promptly went out and bought some xylitol and mixed it in with a saline spray and started using it on his granddaughter that was having recurrent otitus. He instructed her parents to use the spray each time they changed her diaper. She stopped getting sick. The change was so pronounced that Dr. Jones started using it on the other infants that were having recurrent Otitus...they stopped getting sick. The patients that used the spray they had a 92% decrease in ear infections. He started using the spray on adults with sinus infections and had similar results, and most people that have chronic infections commonly also have other URI issues, allergies, asthma, etc. and they reported back after using the spray that these other issues were much more manageable, with many of those patients getting of the OTC antihistamines and decongestants altogether.

Dr. Jones became curious as to why this simple nasal spray with xylitol was getting these results and he started doing some research, what he discovered was alarming. Anti-histamines and decongestants went OTC in the 70's and the incidence of upper respiratory issues has been climbing at an ever-increasing rate since then. This is more than likely due to the fact that these drugs while having short term benefits and helping their users breathe, when they are abused and overused they cause more harm. Oxymetazoline, Xylometazaline and more recently Fluticazone, and others are really just designed to stop our airway from cleaning the air we are breathing. They dry it out...our nose needs to be moist in order to do its job. If we dry it out then all that dirty air is now just going right into our lungs. The addictive nature of some of these OTC nasal sprays is also makes their use questionable.

You can use a saline spray or rinse but those while not as bad as the drugs they still don't do a great job. When you use a saline spray after about 30 minutes the salt is actively transported into the tissue and the water will then follow it...again drying out your airway. Using a saline, or any rinse on a regular basis should be ill advised as it cleans out the entire protective layer of mucous, compare nasal douching to vaginal douching and you get similar results...short term solution that causes long term damage. It only took physicians until the 1990's to realize this and it is about time the connection was made with nasal douching. Dr. Talal Nsouli had study published in 2009 that looked at the long term effects of saline irrigation, when people that used saline irrigation on a regular basis stopped using the irrigation devices 60% of their symptoms disappeared.

If nasal sprays are needed the first one that should be recommended is one with xylitol. Xylitol is non-absorbable through the nasal tissue so it is going to keep your nose moist and working right for the full 4-5hrs of the mucociliary clearance cycle. It reduces bacterial adhesion of the common pathogens like Strep, Staph, H flu. It also promotes nitric oxide production which speeds up ciliary movement and helps open airways and blood vessels. It also reduces inflammation and improves nasal airflow by as much as 35% with regular use.

Xylitol is clinically proven to dramatically improve many conditions in and around the upper respiratory system:

  1. In a clinical review, researchers found that after chewing gum with xylitol, children experienced a 40 percent decrease in ear infections.1

  1. In a clinical study, researchers found that 75 percent of participants had a significant improvement in quality of life related to breathing and upper respiratory health when using a xylitol saline solution as compared to saline alone.2

  1. In a published study, (see graph above) researchers found that xylitol reduced bacterial adhesion of the common pathogens like Strep, Staph, H. flu.3

  1. In a clinical study, researchers found that xylitol decreased the presence of Staph. Aureus, (staph infection-causing bacteria) by 60%.4

  1. In a study, researchers found that a xylitol saline solution increased peak airflow by 35% as compared to saline alone.5

Totally new in the field of xylitol research is how it effects cancer a very good way. More research needs to be done but it does look very promising.6

The company that brought the xylitol nasal spray to market has recently expanded their product line to include specialty products with capsicum and xylitol for allergy season, and a nasal spray with oregano oil, tea tree oil, parsley oil, xylitol and other natural antimicrobials that can be used when a person is having an upper respiratory infection. They have also expanded into the OTC market by combining xylitol with decongestant oxymetazoline, the xylitol helps to mitigate the bad side effects of the oxymetazoline.

Daily use of a xylitol saline nasal spray is the best way to keep your body healthy from colds, the flu, or allergies. It cleanses the nose and sinuses of bacteria, allergens, and other contaminants, and helps people breathe easier for better sleep and daily life. When you need relieve, choose to work with your body and reach for the saline nasal spray with xylitol. Even though the concept of xylitol nasal sprays was originally developed by a physician to prevent ear infections in infants it has a much broader use as a nasal hygiene tool for all people that suffer from upper respiratory issues.


1 BMJ Volume 313 9NOVEMBER 1996

2 Oct 10, 2005, Jan Kalanin, MD, Allergology and Clinical Immunology, Na Pankraci 353/7, 140 00 Praha 4, Czech Republic and BIOCEN Laboratories Ltd. Korunní 108, 101 03 Praha 10, Czech Republic

3 Antiadhesive effect of xylitol

4 Oct 10, 2005, Jan Kalanin, MD, Allergology and Clinical Immunology, Na Pankraci 353/7, 140 00 Praha 4, Czech Republic and BIOCEN Laboratories Ltd. Korunní 108, 101 03 Praha 10, Czech Republic


6 Biotechnology Letters, May 2015, Xylitol induces cell death in lung cancer A549 cells by autophagy, Department of Oral Microbiology, School of DentistryPusan National UniversityYangsan-s South Korea, Original Research Paper, First Online: 04 February 2015

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