June 21, 2022

Inulin in chicory root fiber

Inulin is a type of fiber that's found in certain plant foods. Chicory root is the main source of inulin in supplement form. Fresh chicory root is composed of 68% inulin by dry weight.

The plant is part of the dandelion family, and the root has been cultivated since ancient Egyptian times. Chicory was originally found in Europe and Asia. Egyptians grew it thousands of years ago as a medicine.

Inulin is a type of fiber known as a fructan or fructooligosaccharide, a carbohydrate made from a short chain of fructose molecules that human body doesn’t digest. Like other fructans, it is a prebiotic, meaning that it feeds the good bacteria in the gut.

Research has linked it to several health benefits. These helpful bacteria play a role in:
*Help increase the amount of calcium and other minerals absorb from food
*Support a healthy immune system
*Relieve intestinal problems

Like all fibers, dietary inulin is not digested in the small intestine but instead travels intact onto to the colon (large intestine), making it fodder for the resident gut bacteria and contributing to the bulk of the stools.

In a study in 16 people with low stool frequency, taking a daily dose of 10 grams of chicory inulin increased the number of bowel movements from 4 to 5 per week, on average (Food Hydrocolloids Volume 96, November 2019).

The gut bacteria convert inulin and other prebiotics into short-chain fatty acids, which nourish colon cells and provide various other health benefits.

Taking inulin also led to significant decreases in blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1c, a measurement of average blood sugar, compared with taking a placebo (Diabetes Metab J. 2013 Apr; 37(2)).

Since the 19th century, chicory root has been combined with coffee — a variety that became exceedingly popular in New Orleans. Today, the ingredient has been added to processed foods such as protein bars, cereal bars, yogurts and other milk products, drinks, baked goods, desserts and even protein powder in the form of inulin.
Inulin in chicory root fiber

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