Inulin is a starchy substance that is present in the roots of a number of different plants. More specifically, it is a type of prebiotic fiber from the fructan fiber group that has long been used for its health benefits.
Inulin can't be digested by the small intestine. Rather, it serves as a prebiotic once it reaches the lower gut and provides the healthy bacteria that live there with a food source. The gut bacteria then converts inulin into short-chain fatty acids, which are important for the cells of the colon1.
Health Benefits of Inulin
Inulin offers a number of health benefits, including the following.
Because inulin is a type of fiber, it can help promote optimal digestion. Fiber provides the colon cells with the energy needed to keep them healthy as well as to make sure the digestive tract continues to flow and keep bowel movements soft and regular2.
Further, inulin has a prebiotic effect, which helps to stimulate the production of healthy bacteria in the colon and thereby aid with digestion.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Some studies suggest that inulin may help to regulate blood sugar levels in diabetic and pre-diabetic patients. More specifically, the high-performance (HP) type of inulin may be particularly helpful in this scenario.
One study3, in particular, showed that HP inulin lowered fat in the livers of pre-diabetes patients, which helps to reduce insulin resistance and potentially even reverse Type II diabetes.
Another study4 showed that patients with Type II diabetes who took HP inulin every day experienced a decrease in fasting blood sugar.
May Help With Weight Loss or Maintenance
Fiber is effective at slowing digestion and increasing satiety, helping people feel fuller for longer. As such, it can help decrease and regulate the appetite, which may be effective at helping people lose or maintain weight.
In fact, some studies suggest that inulin may be a great weight loss aid. One particular study showed that overweight participants who took inulin everyday experienced a decrease in hunger hormone levels and an increase in fullness hormone levels5. Over a 12-week period, those who took inulin lost an average of two pounds compared to the control group, which gained an average of one pound.
May Reduce the Risk of Cancer
As a prebiotic that helps to boost the immune system, inulin may have an effect on reducing the overall risk of developing cancer. Research continues to solidify the potential connection, though continued studies are needed. That said, one study6 showed that the combination of probiotics and prebiotics like inulin may have the potential to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
May Help to Promote a Healthy Heart
Some research suggests that inulin may help to support cardiovascular strength because it may be effective at improving various markers associated with heart health. One particular animal study7 found that inulin may reduce blood triglycerides and cholesterol levels. However, more studies are needed to prove that a link between inulin consumption and heart health exists.
May Help Promote Stronger Bones
Some animal studies8 suggest that inulin can improve the absorption of calcium and magnesium in the bones, therefore promoting stronger bone density. In human studies9, it has been suggested that children have much better bone mineralization and calcium absorption when consuming inulin.
Signs of Inulin Deficiency
People who don't get enough fiber in their diet, such as inulin, may experience any one of the following symptoms:
- Irregular bowel movements
- Weight Gain
- Ravenous appetite
- High cholesterol levels
- High blood glucose levels
- Deficiency in other nutrients
Foods That Contain Inulin
Inulin is naturally occurring in many different types of foods, including:
- Chicory root
Inulin is also available in supplement form or can be added to yogurt and other food products. Manufactured inulin can be found in the following formats:
- High-performance (HP) inulin
- Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
How to Use Inulin
In order to increase inulin intake, it's recommended to start by adding inulin-rich foods to the diet, such as those mentioned above. Otherwise, inulin supplements may be taken.
There are several inulin powder and capsule supplements available on the market that can be taken to supplement the diet with this healthy prebiotic fiber.
Inulin Recommended Daily Dosage
It's suggested that no more than 2-3 grams of inulin be taken per day for at least 1-2 weeks to start. Then, the dosage may slowly be increased by 1 -2 grams at a time until 5 -10 grams per day is taken. It's not recommended to take any more than 10-30 grams of inulin a day.
Supplementing With Inulin
While inulin is safe for most people to take, some may suffer certain side effects from its consumption. As such, it's important to start with very low doses and work up to higher doses to minimize the odds of suffering any negative effects.
Some side effects of inulin use may include:
- Abdominal pain and discomfort
Is Inulin Healthy?
Getting plenty of fiber in the diet is crucial not only for good digestion, but for optimal overall health. As a type of prebiotic fiber, inulin can serve a number of benefits, including improving gut health and digestion. Many potential benefits of inulin continue to be looked into with continued research.
Be sure to discuss your needs with your physician and take the recommended daily dose of inulin to ensure maximum benefits with minimal side effects.
Inulin Supplementation With ACV+Prebiotics
There are always certain instances where diet is not going to give you everything you need. There's no need to worry if your diet does not provide the necessary amount of inulin. Oral supplements are available for those who want to make sure they are consuming enough in their daily diet.
ACV+Prebiotics is a powerful, all-natural supplement that contains clinically-proven dosages of inulin, chicory root and other herbs and nutrients. ACV+Prebiotics is specially designed to help you sleep naturally. Learn more about ACV+Prebiotics and UMZU's line of natural supplements by visiting our online showroom.
With crazy, busy schedules it is easy to be tempted by fast food, processed food, and an abundance of poor eating choices. With obesity and bad eating habits on the rise, it's more important now than ever to pay attention to what you put in your body. Your health is one of the most important investments you can make. After all, you will need it for years to come! Take care to make sure you are receiving adequate amounts of both macronutrients and micronutrients, as well as engaging in healthy exercise. Begin your journey to a healthier you today!