Top 5 Benefits of Taking Inulin Supplements
Inulin is a substance found in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, including wheat, onions, bananas, artichokes, and asparagus. Inulin is used for medicine as well and it is most commonly obtained by soaking chicory roots in hot water. Inulin is commonly used by mouth for high blood fats, including cholesterol and triglycerides. It is also used for weight loss,constipation, diarrhea, and diabetes.
Table of contents
- What is Inulin?
- Sources of Inulin
- Proven benefits of Inulin
- Supplements and Dosage of Inulin
- Side Effects and Risk Factors of Using Inulin
What Is Inulin?
Inulin is a type of soluble fiber found in many plants. It is a "fructan" - meaning that it is made up of chains of fructose molecules that are linked together in a way that cannot be digested by your small intestine. Instead, it travels to the lower gut, where it functions as a prebiotic, or food source for the beneficial bacteria that live there. Your gut bacteria convert inulin and other prebiotics into short-chain fatty acids, which nourish colon cells and provide various other health benefits (1). Inulin is relatively low in calories, providing 1.5 calories per gram. Plants that contain inulin were consumed by early humans much more than we do today.
Sources of Inulin
Inulin can be found naturally in foods, such as chicory root, artichokes, agave, asparagus, bananas, garlic, leeks, wheat, onions, and wild yams. With its creamy consistency, inulin functions as a fat substitute in margarine and salad dressings. It’s also used to replace some of the flour in baked goods.
Proven benefits of inulin
Inulin is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s high in fibre, low in calories, and has other health benefits.
- It keeps you full (of fibre)
Fibre is any type of carbohydrate the body can’t digest. It moves through the intestines intact and continues into the colon to serve as a portion of food for the bacteria there. Fibre has no caloric value, but it’s essential to good health. The fibre in inulin is soluble, which means it dissolves in water. It dissolves in the stomach and then forms a gelatinous substance that slows digestion, increases fullness, removes cholesterol as it passes through the digestive tract.
- It promotes digestive health
Your gut contains between 15,000 and 36,000 species of bacteria. Not all bacteria are harmful for our body, Good bacteria provide many health benefits. Inulin stimulates these bacteria to grow. Inulin aids digestion by increasing the number of good bacteria in the gut, particularly Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. These bacteria help in fend off unwanted pathogens (bad bacteria), prevent infection and stimulate your immune system. Inulin also adds bulk to your stool and increases the frequency of your bowel movements. You may have more bowel movements, but inulin slows overall digestion. This enables your body to better absorb nutrients from the food you eat.
- Relieves constipation
For many people, Inulin can help relieve constipation by causing more frequent bowel movements and better stool consistency.
- Promotes weight loss
Inulin and oligofructose supplements may help regulate appetite in adults, leading to weight loss.
- It controls blood sugar.
Inulin slows digestion, including the digestion of carbohydrates. This allows sugar to be released slowly without spiking, which promotes healthy blood sugar levels.
Supplements and Dosage of Inulin
Should you consider taking an inulin supplement, you'll find it available in powder form, chewable (mostly gummies), and capsule form. Consider using inulin supplements to further promote digestive health if you’re on a probiotic regimen or currently using antibiotics to treat a bacterial illness. Labels state claims such as "prebiotic," "intestinal health," "weight control," and more. If you are looking for a supplement to boost your fibre needs, aim to choose one that comes from a reputable source. This will assure better quality and reduce the risk of adulteration or added impurities. Always check with a dietitian or a healthcare professional before using any inulin supplement. There are different formulation and dosage form of Inulin like Tablets, chewable (mostly gummies), Capsules, powders, etc (Nature's Velvet Inulin Powder [Prebiotic, Veg Source, Soluble Fibre ] - 300 GMS is one of the examples).
Dosage recommendations vary. A typical dose is 3.1 grams per day. You may prefer to get your inulin by eating foods it naturally occurs in.
Side Effects and Risk Factors of Using Inulin
Inulin seems to be safe when used appropriately. The most common side effects occur in the stomach. Using too much inulin causes more stomach problems. It’s extremely unlikely to trigger any kind of allergic reaction. When you begin using inulin, you may notice discomfort during bowel movements, excessive flatulence, or loose stools. Drink plenty of water when incorporating it into your diet if you have irritable bowel syndrome or a sensitive digestive tract. This will help prevent constipation. If you’re pregnant, you should talk to your doctor before taking any supplemental product, including inulin.
Inulin supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. This keeps the gut bacteria balanced and may have various health benefits. Inulin aids digestion by increasing the number of good bacteria in the gut. Inulin also adds bulk to your stool and increases the frequency of your bowel movements. For many people, inulin can help relieve constipation by causing more frequent bowel movements and better stool consistency. Inulin and oligofructose supplements may help regulate appetite in adults, leading to weight loss. Inulin can act as a potential blood-stabilizer when present in your diet over a long time.
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This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioners.
- Rakesh Gupta