Nathan Jones recognized a great product when he saw it, and he used it to build Xlear Inc. into one of the leading U.S. manufacturers of xylitol products.

The first product offered by Orem-based Xlear was a patented nasal spray made with xylitol, a natural sweetener found in wood, fruits and vegetables. The product grew out of research and experimentation by Dr. Lon Jones, Nathan Jones' father.

Lon Jones was treating his granddaughter for a persistent ear infection and found studies showing that chewing xylitol-sweetened gum had a beneficial effect on upper respiratory infections in children.

Lon Jones thought a more direct delivery of xylitol to the sinus tissues might work even better, so he mixed xylitol powder into a mild saline solution and used it as a nasal spray on his granddaughter. Her condition improved within hours, with the infection clearing in a few days. Lon Jones began dispensing the spray to other patients and saw similar results.

Nathan Jones founded Xlear to make the spray commercially available, and he soon realized that more people might receive the benefits of xylitol if they could use it in different ways. Now, Xlear offers the original nasal spray, a line of dental health products called the Spry Dental Defense System, a xylitol sugar substitute and a line of xylitol candies.

The company distributes to thousands of health-food stores and other natural-product retailers in the United States and several other countries.