Xanthan Gum: What it is, benefits and possible risks
What is Xanthan Gum? It is present in a good number of foods, although it is an unknown component for the majority. Xanthan gum or xanthan is a natural additive (usually appears as E-415), a polysaccharide resulting from the fermentation of a bacterium (Xanthomonas Campestris).
Used by the food industry for the good solubility of xanthan gum, both in cold and hot water, and for its stability. But there are more. We discovered its food use and its cosmetic use.
What food is xanthan gum in?
- Xanthan gum is used in fruit drinks and juices, to give it best appearance when, for example, it contain fruit pulp and particles.
- Xanthan gum is used as a stabilizer for ice creams, sorbets, sauces and salad dressings.
- Xanthan gum is also used in bakery products with refrigerated doughs. In some products it is used as a substitute for egg white without altering the appearance or final taste.
- Xanthan gum contributes consistency to buttercreams or chocolate toppings.
- Due to its thickening effect, like guar gum, it is used for baked goods.
- It can be used as a substitute for gluten in the preparation of pasta or bread.
Xanthan gum cosmetic use
The cosmetic industry has also been able to see the properties of xanthan gum as a stabilizer and binder, i.e. to prevent its components from being separated. The xanthan gum can be found in:
- Shower Gels
- Creams and makeup
- Body lotions and ointments
Xanthan gum is used for various therapeutic purposes. Among them the most common are the treatment of constipation, lowering cholesterol and blood glucose in patients with diabetes and as a saliva substitute in patients with xerostomia and Sjogren’s syndrome (both diseases produce dry mouth).
A less known application of xanthan gum is found in the oil industry. It is added to drilling fluids to enhance its functions. This liquid is used to cool the drill bits, provides hydrostatic pressure that aids drilling and helps to remove solids from the drill and keep them in suspension when drilling stops.
Side effects of xanthan gum
- Xanthan gum, once digested, the body recognizes it as soluble fiber. Taking too much may cause some side effects, such as gas, diarrhea, or digestive discomfort. Do not ingest more than 15 grams per day.
- In exceptional cases, it may cause allergy to the skin.
- Avoid if you suffer from intestinal problems or stomach pain, as well as in case of diabetes, since xanthan gum can reduce excess blood sugar levels.
- In case of pregnancy or breastfeeding, consult the doctor before using it.
Where to buy xanthan gum
Currently, its use is very popularized, for this reason; you can easily find it for sale in dietetic homes, herbalists, supply suppliers for the food industry, supermarkets and online stores.
The format in which it usually appears is in pots or bags containing from 250 gm to 1 kilo of xanthan gum powder. The average prices are:
- 250 gm xanthan paste in bag: 9 euros
- 500 gm Xanthan gum in bag: 13.40 euros
- 500 gm Xanthan paste in pot: 14 euros
- 1 kg xanthan gum in bag: 24 euros