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Fabric Cooling Additive Xylitol Side Effects: Safe or Dangerous?

By Andrew. Health Care and Sports Editor.

Xylitol was introduced as a sweetener in the 1950’s and is now found to be extremely poisonous to dogs. Xylitol is incorporated in fabric processing creating a temporary cooling effect induced with perspiration. Many companies are using for tops, hats and layering pieces. Here lies the problem. Given the surface area a Xylitol soaked top covers, the amount of absorption is considerable. Questions regarding the chemical additives of sun protective lotions have led to many alarming discoveries relating to human health. The same questions are asked about chemical additives in fabrics.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol. Xylitol is mainly used as a food additive “sweetener” for gum and other substitutes for sugar and eaten in very small amounts.

A crystalline alcohol, xylitol is a derivative of xylose – a crystalline aldose sugar that is not digestible. The last research done on Xylitol was in 1952. The researchers found:

  • People who eat foods with xylose tend to experience digestive issues like gas, bloating and diarrhea.

  • Liver evaluation suggests that xylose gets stored in the body.

  • The panel’s final recommendation: “Pending more favorable experimental data at lower levels of intake, it is deemed inadvisable to risk the incorporation of xylose in foods at any level of intake for extended periods of time.”

Digested foods are absorbed into the bloodstream in the small intestine. The chemical Xylitol can react with the other foods and cause complications. In the case of Xylitol, this is experienced as gastrointestinal disturbances.

Similar effects are experienced with the chemical additives of Xylitol when absorbed through the skin. Many Xylitol garments are worn in extreme environments when the body is at most risk for absorbing chemicals through the skin. Worn for hours by golf and tennis players in high heat the Xylitol enters the body through open sweat pores.

Are Xylitol Side Effects Dangerous?

Xylitol poisoning is relatively unheard of in humans, and the xylitol side effects associated with consuming it are minimal for most people. However, it has been reported that Xylitol can raise blood glucose levels, which suggests that diabetics shouldn’t consume it. Another concern with Xylitol is the industrialization process that is used to manufacture it. Currently, most xylitol is produced by “hydrogenating” xylose; a chemical process that treats a compound with hydrogen usually with a catalyst such as nickel.

These two points raise more concerns.

First, the fact that Xylitol is “hydrogenated.” Hydrogenated foods are known to cause:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Behavioral irritability and aggression

  • Liver dysfunction

  • Major depressive disorder

Secondly, nickel is a known toxin has been linked to:

  • Asthma attacks

  • Dermatitis (skin allergies)

  • Hand eczema (skin rash)

  • Kidney problems

  • Lung disorders

At this point, there is no research proving that wearing Xylitol treated tops are dangerous, but given the lack of research many doctors are opting for a “better safe than sorry” recommendation.

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