What Are the Side Effects of Xanthan Gum?


Quick Answer

The most common side effects of ingesting xanthan gum are flatulence and bloating, states WebMD. In addition, people exposed to the gum in its powder form may experience lung problems, flu-like symptoms and throat irritation.

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Full Answer

Xanthan gum is a sugar-like food additive created by mixing the Xanthomonas campestris bacteria with fermented sugars, explains WebMD. Used in medicine to lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels in diabetics, as a laxative for constipation and as a saliva substitute for sufferers of dry mouth syndrome, the gum is also a common ingredient of processed foods. In addition, it is used to thicken and stabilize products in food and medicine manufacture.

The World Health Organization recommends the maximum acceptable dosing of xanthan gum as 10 milligrams per kilogram per day as a food additive, 15 grams per day as a laxative and 12 grams per day as a muffin ingredient for diabetics, according to WebMD. However, since xanthan gum lowers blood glucose levels, it should be used cautiously with diabetes medication as both may cause a dangerous drop in blood glucose levels. In addition, people suffering from appendicitis, fecal impaction and vomiting should not use xanthan gum as its bulk-forming characteristic may cause them harm.

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