What Are the Health Benefits of Inulin?

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

dried-chicory-root-and-herbs

We could all use digestive support from time to time, especially if we’re not consuming a high-quality diet. For a healthy stomach and digestive tract, inulin is a must. While you can’t digest this water-soluble dietary fiber, you won’t feel good without it. It’s found in many natural plant foods and is known as a prebiotic, and recent research indicates it has much more far-reaching effects than just keeping your tummy happy.

What Is Inulin?

Inulin is a heterogeneous mixture of fructose polymers found in nature as plant repository carbohydrates.[1] This dietary fiber survives your stomach acid and passes into the small intestine. Along the way it mixes with water, ferments, and then becomes food for life-supporting probiotic bacteria of the large intestine. This bacteria includes things like bifidobacterium and lactobacilli. When you keep bacteria like these fed, they keep out unwanted bacteria like E. coli and Clostridium difficile and fungus like Candida.

Benefits of Inulin

Inulin has many researched benefits, including weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar support. Here are a few of the many benefits you can get from inulin.

Weight Loss

While inulin can help with weight loss, it’s not the entire picture. Eating healthy and exercise are also key components. When it comes to inulin and weight loss, a healthy digestive tract–and the symbiotic bacteria inulin promotes–moves the nutrients you need into your bloodstream and gets the toxins through so they do as little damage as possible. One study of 30 obese women found those who took inulin restored healthy bacteria and created a positive change on metabolites linked to obesity. [2]

Diabetes

A study of 49 women with diabetes reported those who took inulin responded better to sugar, had lower glycemic levels, and increased antioxidant activity. [3] While more research is needed, the importance of a healthy gut can’t be understated.

Keeps You Regular

You’ve probably heard how important fiber is for being regular. For the best outcomes, you want to get fiber, like inulin, to keep your gut bacteria fresh. In a study of elderly volunteers who took 15 grams of chicory root daily, researchers found that participants experienced improved digestion, fewer problems with constipation, and an easier time with bowel movements. [4]

How Much Inulin Do You Need?

There is no set limit for how much inulin you can have, or really how much you need. Typically, you want to eat inulin-rich foods every day to keep your digestive tract healthy and working right. If you’ve been taking antibiotics, you will want to increase inulin and maybe even supplement with the compound to replenish the intestinal bacteria that antibiotics wipe out. Alcohol, processed, sugary foods, and fried foods also kill off the healthy intestinal bacteria you need. So if you’re trying to right your diet, lose weight or overcome IBS or IBD, you will want to increase your inulin intake.

Great Sources of Inulin

If your diet has been high in processed foods and sugars, start slow. Too much of this dietary fiber too quickly can lead to bloating, gas, diarrhea, and intestinal discomfort. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat foods high in inulin.

The best natural food sources of inulin include bananas, asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, leeks, onions, garlic, and chicory and dandelion root. Inulin can be obtained through supplements; however, it is always best to get the ingredient closest to its natural source as possible. Many supplements feature chicory as their source of inulin.

If you do need to use a supplement to add more inulin to your diet, I recommend FloraTrex™. FloraTrex is a powerful probiotic featuring an organic inulin prebiotic. It features 18 strains of the bacteria your gut needs, along with inulin prebiotics to help ensure those strains are properly supported within your microbiome.

Have you supplemented your diet with inulin? Share your experience with the community below.

References:

  1. Niness KR. Inulin and oligofructose: what are they?J Nutr. 1999 Jul;129(7 Suppl):1402S-6S.
  2. Dewulf EM1, Cani PD, Claus SP, Fuentes S, Puylaert PG, Neyrinck AM, Bindels LB, de Vos WM, Gibson GR, Thissen JP, Delzenne NM. Insight into the prebiotic concept: lessons from an exploratory, double blind intervention study with inulin-type fructans in obese women. Gut. 2013 Aug;62(8):1112-21. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2012-303304.
  3. Pourghassem Gargari B1, Dehghan P, Aliasgharzadeh A, Asghari Jafar-Abadi M. Effects of high performance inulin supplementation on glycemic control and antioxidant status in women with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Metab J. 2013 Apr;37(2):140-8. doi: 10.4093/dmj.2013.37.2.140.
  4. Marteau P1, Jacobs H, Cazaubiel M, Signoret C, Prevel JM, Housez B. Effects of chicory inulin in constipated elderly people: a double-blind controlled trial. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2011 Mar;62(2):164-70. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2010.527323.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • Hanneke

    Every day something new. I do not believe it. They only want your money.

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    Who?

  • KarenRG

    Do I get inulin when I drink our mix of dandelion/chicory tea? Is the inulin infused into the water? Or, should we eat the grounds in order to get the inulin???

  • Julie Salsbury

    Just started taking inulin, very positive about its benefits and it was recently mentioned in the BBC show “How to stay young” read a lot about it and as I have a lot of gut problems and am overweight with thyroid condition and others it can only benefit.


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