THERE IS A LOT OF INFO OUT THERE…
AND A LOT OF IT HAS TO DO WITH “MARKETING” NOT “SCIENCE”.
I’ve had a landslide of DMs asking about the Natural Inulin Fiber out there for sale..some of you know about Inulin already and, some do not. Maybe you’ve seen an Instagram ad purporting that a certain “type” of Inulin Fiber is best and helps most with digestion and bloat. If you are in that group…here you go.
Just the facts Mam.
First, and in the interest of transparency, I have a line of Inulin called JUST INULIN (like Prince, formerly know as De-Bloat). I’ve been taking it myself (as I do with anything I promote) for more than 2 years and it’s one of our BEST-SELLERS. It’s processed in the UK (where they are much more stringent about “Organic” and “Pure” than we are here in the US). It’s most beneficial aspect is the slightly sweet taste (without sugar calories) AND, the powder is super-fine and so easy to mix, bake or stir. Okay, enough promotion…..on to research.
WHAT IS INULIN?
Inulin has been part of our daily diet for hundreds of years as it is in many fruits and vegetables such as bananas, onions and wheat. Inulin is a group of naturally occurring polysaccharides produced by many types of plants.
It is a type of dietary fiber belonging to the family of fructans (polyfructosylsucrose), an important storage carbohydrate found in approximately 15% of the flowering plant species.
Inulin is also a prebiotic. It feeds good bacteria in the gut – thus providing several health benefits such as improving digestive health, helping control diabetes, aiding weight loss, and improving mineral absorption and bone health. Our RDA in North America for fiber is between 25 – 38g. Research shows we miss that target by more than half! Our foods are just too processed to retain more fiber.
Inulin is often used in food and beverage, dairy products, dietary supplements, feed etc. In 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration approved inulin as a dietary fiber ingredient used to improve the nutritional value of manufactured food products. Inulin occurs naturally in more than 36,000 plants today.
Three of the big players in the Inulin field are: Chicory Inulin, Jerusulem Artichoke Inulin and Blue Agave Inulin. ALL are plant-based and pre-biotic. All pass through your digestive tract in the same manner and, because they do NOT digest in the small intestine but, in the large intestine, all serve to help feed and nurture good bacteria in your gut (and promote healthy bowel movements). All are slightly sweet and keep bloat to a minimum. All will help to keep you full between meals. Of the three, Blue Agave is newest insofar as market awareness. All have a low-glycemic index – so no blood sugar spike – great for diabetics!
Chicory, due to it’s weather sensitivity has lost favor recently with labs. It’s just not as sustainable as are the other two forms of inulin. Although both Jerusalem & Blue Agave are more expensive to produce.
There is an Italian company that has been making Inulin since 1926 – so, it’s not new or experimental. And, again it IS FDA approved. I just love the ultra-stringent rules and regulations Europe has for formulating in their labs. Our supplement industry is NOT regulated in the US and labs don’t have to adhere as carefully to production and cleanliness.
I like research & education when choosing a product. So, if you share my obsession, here are some studies so that you can make informed supplement decisions when shopping:)
Liu X, Yang Q, He Z, Yao S. Efficacy and safety of inulin supplementation for functional constipation: a systematic review protocol. BMJ Open. 2021 Apr 8;11(4):e042597. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-042597. PMCID: PMC8039257.
http://Vandeputte D, Falony G, Vieira-Silva S, Wang J, Sailer M, Theis S, Verbeke K, Raes J. Prebiotic inulin-type fructans induce specific changes in the human gut microbiota. Gut. 2017 Nov;66(11):1968-1974. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2016-313271. Epub 2017 Feb 17. PMID: 28213610; PMCID: PMC5739857.
Here is the takeaway:
All 3 of these Inulin plants function in the same way. There is NO good or best / NO bad or less quality. PERIOD. You need to try all 3 and see which one fits your digestive needs best. As with all digestive products, if you take too much you may be in the bathroom more than you want to be.
As you know by now, I’ve been studying all things Nutrition / Plant Based / Aging Medicine for the past few years at Cornell and am a Certified Nutrition Coach. My mission is to educate and inform without prejudice.
And, as always, chat with your medical provider before embarking upon new supplements or workout routines.
Stay healthy – keep smiling,