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Inulin

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Inulins [Fructans]

  • Inulins belong to a class of fibres known as fructans.
  • They are a group of naturally occurring polysaccharides ---which means several simple sugars that are linked together.
  • The linked sugars are mainly fructose molecules which typically have a terminal glucose molecule.
  • Inulins are produced by many types of plants. In fact inulins are produced by approximately 30,000 plants.
  • Edible plants that are rich in Inulin include - asparagus, garlic, onions, artichokes and chicory root.

Inulin as a fibre [US Fiber]

  • Inulin passes through the small intestine as it is indigestible by the enzymes ptyalin and amylase as these enzymes digest starch in humans.
  • Inulin thus passes through much of the digestive system intact and into the large bowel [colon] where it is used by the bowel bacteria as a food source.
  • It is considered a soluble fibre.
  • Bloating may occur due to the release of gases [carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and/or methane], from bacterial digestion of this fibre.
  • Always commence with small quantities and build up to the recommended dose to allow your body to adjust.

Metamucil Fibresure

  • The inulin in Metamucil Fibresure is hot water extracted from chicory rot whch is then dried into a powder.

Benefits

  • Inulin is a prebiotic - it nourishes bowel bacteria.
  • These fructose chains help stimulate the growth of a 'friendly' bowel bacteria called Bifidobacteria3. This species of bowel bacteria helps to suppress pathogenic ['Bad'] bacteria in the bowel2,3.
  • Bifidobacteria in the bowel have an enzyme called ß-fructosidase which can digest inulin and other fructans3.
  • Inulin can help to increase calcium absorption1.
  • Inulin can help to increase magnesium absorption4.

Effect on Blood Sugar Level

  • Inulin has a minimal effect on blood sugar levels.
  • It is not like fructose and does not raise insulin levels or triglyceride levels in the blood2.

Safety

  • Inulin is given a generally regarded as safe [GRAS] rating by the FDA.

References:

  1. Abrams S, Griffin I, Hawthorne K, Liang L, Gunn S, Darlington G, Ellis K (2005). "A combination of prebiotic short- and long-chain inulin-type fructans enhances calcium absorption and bone mineralization in young adolescents". Am J Clin Nutr 82 (2): 471–6.
  2. Niness. "Inulin and Oligofructose: What Are They?". Journal of Nutrition 129 (7): 1402.
  3. Groff, J. L. and S. A. S. Gropper (2000). Advanced nutrition and human metabolism, West/Wadsworth Belmont, CA.
  4. Coudray C, Demigné C, Rayssiguier Y (2003). "Effects of dietary fibers on magnesium absorption in animals and humans". J Nutr 133 (1): 1–4.

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