Xanthan gum is a sugar-like compound made by mixing aged (fermented) sugars with a certain kind of bacteria. It is used to make medicine.
- Used as a food additive and rheology modifier
- Commonly used as a food thickening agent (in salad dressings, for example)
- Used as a stabilizer (in cosmetic products, for example, to prevent ingredients from separating)
Gluten is the component in bread that causes the flour to stick together. This leads to problems for people who need to avoid gluten in their diet, such as those with celiac disease, because baked goods without gluten tend to be dry and crumbly. Xanthan gum takes on some of the same properties as gluten when it is added to liquid. Adding xanthan gum to baked goods improves the texture, makes the item less crumbly and gives the recipe less of a gritty consistency.
In addition to acting as a binding agent in baked goods, xanthan gum can be used to thicken foods. According to the Molecular Gastronomy Network, xanthan gum’s molecular composition prevents the formation of ice crystals, making it useful for frozen foods and ice cream. Another characteristic of xanthan gum is pseudo plasticity, where it makes a substance solid when settled, but easily poured when transferred. Like ketchup, it squirts out of a bottle easily and then settles back into a blob once on your plate.
Cosmetics and Medications
Xanthan gum is frequently added to semiliquid cosmetics and lotions. Adding xanthan gum to cosmetic agents allows for a smoother, more even application. Xantham gum can also be found in medications and pills, and has been used alone as a synthetic saliva for people who suffer from dry mouth.
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of xanthan gum during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid using amounts larger than those normally found in foods.
- Nausea, vomiting, appendicitis, hard stools that are difficult to expel (fecal impaction), narrowing or blockage of the intestine, or undiagnosed stomach pain: Do not use xanthan gum if you have any of these conditions. It is a bulk-forming laxative that could be harmful in these situations.
- Surgery: Xanthan gum might lower blood sugar levels. There is a concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using xanthan gum at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
- Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with XANTHAN GUM
Xanthan gum might decrease blood sugar by decreasing the absorption of sugars from food. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking xanthan gum with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to be too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
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