Chicory Root Fiber May Improve Bowel Regularity, Other Markers of Digestive Health

April 5, 2017

Beneo's Orafti inulin chicory root fiber showed promising digestive-health effects in three new studies on several markers of gut well-being.

Three new studies on Beneo's (Morris Plain, NJ) chicory root fiber, Orafti inulin, have provided additional evidence supporting its potential digestive-health benefits. The chicory-inulin ingredient was found to improve bowel regularity, soften stools, and improve constipation-related quality-of-life measures.

The first study1, published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, included 44 healthy, slightly constipated adult subjects in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover-design trial. Subjects were randomly assigned to take either three 4-g Orafti inulin supplements per day or a placebo for four weeks. Each supplementation period was preceded by a two-week run-in phase. Researchers found that the chicory inulin significantly improved stool frequency per week, according to Beneo, without resulting in gastrointestinal discomfort.

Writing in the same journal, researchers also recently published another study2 that examined the effect of chicory inulin consumption in supporting normal bowel function in children aged 2–5. In that randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, children received either two 2-g doses per day of a combination of Orafti inulin and oligofructose, or a placebo. Subjects followed the supplementation regimen for six weeks, with results suggesting that the chicory root fibers helped soften the stools of constipated children. It was also found to be as well-tolerated as the placebo.

“Digestive health matters at every age,” says Anke Sentko, vice president of regulatory affairs and nutrition communication at Beneo, in a press release. “These two recent, high-quality human-intervention studies show once again that Beneo's prebiotic chicory root fibers effectively support digestive health in children and adults.”

Finally, another new study3, published in Gut, analyzed human fecal samples collected from the aforementioned 44-subject adult study. Researchers found that chicory inulin intake “selectively changed three bacterial genera: Bifidobacterium, Anaerostipes, and Bilophila,” according to Beneo. All three of these genera are associated with healthy gut function, with implications of their effective modulation ranging from support of the gut mucosa to decreased gas production, researchers explained.

In the study announcement, Sentko calls the results from this study “remarkable,” adding that “they confirm that Beneo's inulin-type fructans (chicory root fibers) induce changes in the microbiota composition that can now be directly linked with improved regularity and quality of life. It is great to see that with the newest methodology, inulin's selective modulation of the gut microbiota has been proven.”

References:

  1. Micka A et al., “Effect of consumption of chicory inulin on bowel function in healthy subjects with constipation: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial,” International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, vol 68, no. 1 (February, 2017): 82–89
  2. Closa-Monasterolo R et al.,”The use of inulin-type fructans improves stool consistency in constipated children. A randomised clinical trial: pilot study,” International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. Published online December 8, 2016.
  3. Vandeputte D et al., “Prebiotic inulin-type fructans induce specific changes in the human gut microbiota,” Gut. Published online February 17, 2017.