Daily Dose of Inulin Fiber: 10-14g
Inulin is a plant based starch, and just like psyllium, it is a soluble fiber. Fiber is composed of carbohydrates that are not absorbed by the digestive tract. Adding more fiber into your diet can have many health benefits, which is why manufacturers have added fiber, such as inulin, to food products. It functions as a prebiotic, which serves as food for probiotics that in turn keep the gastrointestinal tract healthy. Short term studies have shown that inulin supplements have improved symptoms of Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and travelers diarrhea. Taking these supplements can improve the way our bodies absorb calcium, however it is more noticeable in adolescents and postmenopausal women, according to research. It doesn’t change lipid levels in people that have normal levels of cholesterol or triglycerides, but it can decrease cholesterol and LDL in patients with high lipid levels or type 2 diabetes. Because inulin decreases the body’s ability to make certain types of fats and give a sensation of fullness, many have used it for weight loss.
We can find inulin added to processed foods but it can be found naturally in many vegetables and fruits. Chicory root is one of the richest sources and 20% of its whole weight is made up of inulin. Jerusalem artichoke is another good source, where 14-19% of its weight is inulin. Other food sources include leeks, onions, garlic, bananas, and rye bread. Just because it is not absorbed by the body doesn’t mean there aren’t any side effects, however they may be preventable by starting with a low level and gradually increasing the amount. Some side effects include flatulence and bloating when it is taken in high doses. The recommended dosage for treating high triglycerides is 10-14g a day. For older people who have constipation, taking 10-40g per day for 19 days is recommended.
- Holscher HD1, Doligale JL, Bauer LL, Gourineni V, Pelkman CL, Fahey GC, Swanson KS. Gastrointestinal tolerance and utilization of agave inulin by healthy adults. Food Funct. 2014 Mar 25. PMID: 24664349.
- Dehghan P1, Pourghassem Gargari B2, Asghari Jafar-abadi M3. Oligofructose-enriched inulin improves some inflammatory markers and metabolic endotoxemia in women with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Nutrition. 2014 Apr;30(4):418-23. PMID: 24332524.