Different supplements come into the limelight for many reasons, but when you’re presented with a specific product, it’s important to evaluate it to know if it’s right for you.
One supplement that’s taken centre stage recently with a documentary on the BBC is a substance known as inulin.
In this article, we take you through the findings from the scientific literature focusing on Inulin, which consisting of the the benefits, dosage and side effects of this supplement to understand what it is and how it truly works.
What is Inulin?
Inulin is a fibrous carbohydrate that’s classified as a starch. This substance can be found in a variety of foods such as vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Inulin is in the class of compounds known as fructans and is a naturally occurring oligosaccharide, which means it has several simple sugars linked together.
As inulin is not absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, it is considered to be a fibre. Inulin has a slightly sweet taste, so some people use it as a sweetener for a variety of things.
As inulin is fibre and is not digested in the gastrointestinal tract, it travels down to the large intestine where your bacteria uses it to prosper, and it’s therefore considered to be prebiotic.
Examples of foods that contain inulin:
✓ Sweet potatoes
Benefits of Inulin
✓ Feeling Full
As inulin is a fibre, this may keep you fuller for longer and slow down digestion. Due to its fibre content, it aids in preventing constipation and aids bowel movements.
✓ Weight Loss
Although not much research has been carried out, many conclude that inulin may aid weight loss. Prebiotic bacteria is promoted from inulin consumption, which can help nutrient absorption, which may be able to aid weight loss and weight management.
As it’s made up of fibre, it may also control blood sugar and help you eat less by making you feel full. Because of its sweet properties, it can also be used as a sweetener. Substituting sugar for inulin will keep your calories down, and therefore can help with weight management.
✓ Digestive Health
As inulin is a non-digestible prebiotic, it helps to promote the good bacteria in the stomach and may therefore have certain health benefits. Bacteria in your body uses prebiotics to stay healthy, which in turn keeps your stomach healthy. Inulin may help to reduce the amount of bad bacteria, prevent infection, and stimulate your immune system.
Some people may find they are sensitive to inulin, however the majority of the population can take inulin with no problems. The recommended dose for people with normal digestive function can be 5-10 grams of inulin per day. Some people experiment with a small amount and see how it feels, then increase the dosage.
Some people take as high as 40 grams per day, but keeping it between a maximum of 10-14 grams per day after building up a tolerance should be reasonable to reap the benefits.
Always read the label and the recommended dosage for each specific product.
Stomach problems may occur in a small amount of people, including uncomfortable bowel movements, flatulence, loose stools, bloating, cramps, and diarrhoea (5). Some individuals may experience constipation.
To prevent this from happening, ensure you’re drinking enough water and increase it if necessary when taking inulin.
Take Home Message
Inulin is an interesting supplement that can aid you in many health benefits with a low risk of side effects. Although side effects may be low, adjusting the dosage to fit your needs can help you reap its benefits.