Fix Your Sinus Problems Naturally

Lifestyles 55Life

WINNIPEG, MB – A client visited me a few months ago complaining of persistent sinus problems. With headaches and a constantly stuffy nose, his issues were not only keeping him up at night, but his disrupted breathing and snoring was making it difficult for his wife to sleep as well. The technical name for this condition is rhinosinusitis, and the symptoms include sinus headache, sore throat, stuffy nose, fever, and – if there’s a bacterial infection present – a pus-like nasal discharge, and facial pain.

He had tried everything his doctor recommended including antihistamine and steroid sprays, and even a course of antibiotics which didn’t lead to any improvement. He tried using a neti pot and a nasal irrigator with a saltwater solution, and while the saline did work to clean and dry out his nasal passages, he found the stuffy nose and other symptoms quickly returned.

Heating our homes during the winter creates very dry air which aggravates these problems for many people, which is why I always recommend using a humidifier during the winter months. A humidifier can make a tremendous difference in relieving the dryness that makes breathing more difficult, dries out nasal passages, and leads to dry skin and lips. Despite these benefits, for many (especially those with a bacterial infection), more help is needed.

For this particular case, I was reminded of an article written by one of my teachers, Jonathan Wright, M.D., in which he discussed how certain sugars (including D-mannose and xylitol) can help prevent or treat a variety of health issues related to bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections and rhinosinusitis.

Xylitol is a natural sugar found in many fruits and vegetables (and produced in small quantities by the human body). It can be very effective for treating chronic rhinosinusitis when combined with a saline solution. A double-blind placebo-controlled study found that treatment with xylitol resulted in a “greater improvement of symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis as compared to saline irrigation.”

Xylitol soothes mucous membranes by bringing moisture to the skin’s surface. As xylitol is non-fermentable, bacteria can’t use it to grow and produce harmful acids. This prevents bacteria from proliferating in the nasal passages and the mucous membranes lining the inside of the mouth. The result is a dramatic reduction of sinus problems without the side effects of drugs.

I recommended a pair of products from Xlear to the man with the continuous sinus problems. Their sinus care nasal spray combines xylitol, salt, and grapefruit seed extract. Sinus Care Solution is a combination salt and xylitol formula in individual packets for use with a nasal irrigator. About a week later he called and told me that his sinus symptoms had vanished in a few days and that he couldn’t believe the difference. He’s sleeping much better, and so is his wife. If the symptoms return, he uses the nasal spray for fast relief, and he continues to use the Sinus Care Solution each morning and evening as part of his daily routine.

When I was a young child, I had recurring ear infections. Called otitis media, this infection results in a buildup of fluid behind the eardrum, causing tremendous pain. At the time, the normal treatment procedure was to be sedated in the hospital and have the eardrum lanced to allow the infection to drain. I’ll never forget the last time I had my ears lanced. They put the face mask with a sedative over my nose and mouth. I was relaxed, but not yet asleep. I closed my eyes for a moment and then opened my eyes to see the doctor moving toward my ears with the lance. He thought I was sedated and was surprised to see my eyes open and quickly pulled back. They then gave me more nitrous oxide, and the next thing I remembered was waking up with no more pain in my ears.

Studies have found that xylitol (as mints or gum) results in a lower incidence of otitis media. However, the most impressive product for the treatment and prevention of this infection is a specific probiotic bacteria strain – Streptococcus salivarius Blis K12 – taken orally as a lozenge or chewing gum. Developed by John Tagg, PhD, regular use of this probiotic can bring tremendous benefits for preventing and treating ear, nose, and throat infections, including strep throat and bacterial tonsillitis.

Xylitol tastes like sugar and has been used as a sugar substitute for diabetics, as it doesn’t affect blood glucose or insulin levels, and has 40 per cent fewer calories than sugar. Discovered around 1890 by researchers in Germany and France, it was used as a sugar replacement during the Second World War when there was a shortage in Scandinavian countries. After the war, dental professionals noticed that patients who had been using xylitol instead of sugar had fewer cavities and better oral health.

Since then there have been thousands of studies proving the many benefits of xylitol, not just for sinus problems, but also for preventing tooth decay, as xylitol decreases the oral bacteria Streptococcus mutans that causes dental plaque, and helps keep it from adhering to the teeth. Clinical studies have shown that due to its antibacterial qualities, xylitol decreases the incidence of dental cavities while reducing the amount of dental plaque. Just five grams per day has been shown to result in impressive oral health benefits.

By Nathan Zassman who is the owner and president of Aviva Natural Health Solutions.

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