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  • Aid Overall Health
  • Cleanse/Digestion
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  • Summary
  • Side Effects
  • Other Names
  • Uses
  • Details

Inulin Overview

Inulin is a carbohydrate and part of a family of substances known as fructans. In its natural form, inulin is not absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract and is able to easily make it to the large intestine.

For this reason, inulin is considered a dietary fiber. There is quite a bit of scientific data regarding inulin but much debate as to whether humans should get it from natural foods or from concentrated formulas.

Inulin is commonly used as a food additive because it is sweet and contains higher amounts of food energy than some other carbohydrates. It is often used to replace flour, sugar, and fat in processed foods.

Inulin is also occasionally used as a sugar substitute for diabetics, although it's not nearly sweet enough to satisfy most individuals using it for that purpose. In terms of health benefits, there are some that are well documented. Inulin supplements are almost always produced in powder form and intended to be used with food or a beverage.

Potential Inulin Side Effects

  • None Known Except For Allergic Reaction

Other Names for Inulin

Beta(2-1)fructans, Chicory Extract, Chicory Inulin, Dahlia Extract, Dahlia Inulin, Fructo-Oligosaccharides, Fructooligosaccharides, Inulina, Inuline, Long-chain Oligosaccharides, Oligosaccharides, Prebiotic

Inulin Nutritional Uses

  • Absorption Of Calcium
  • Colon Health
  • Natural Bacteria Growth

Inulin Health Benefits

The two most widely documented benefits are the promotion of calcium absorption and the promotion of natural bacteria growth. As far as calcium is concerned, individuals suffering from calcium deficiency and its related disorders will sometimes use inulin as part of a successful treatment.

  • Used in combination with calcium supplements and certain vitamins and minerals, inulin has been shown to be very helpful for calcium deficiency.
  • In terms of promoting the production of natural bacteria in the body, inulin is a double edged sword. It's probiotic properties means that inulin encourages the growth of good bacteria in the human intestines. This good bacteria is necessary for proper digestive health and overall good health.
  • But the other side of this is the fact that inulin also promotes the growth of some bad bacteria. Most of these bacteria are harmless as long as they remain confined to the colon. But if they are allowed to escape into other parts of the body they could cause serious problems.
  • Although not documented, there are a few other implied benefits based upon the knowledge we do have. One such implied benefit is good colon health which ostensibly helps prevent colon cancer.

This implied benefit comes from increased production of good bacteria in the colon. Another common implied benefit is inulin's ability to help control blood sugar levels, lipids, and cholesterol.

Inulin Supplements

One particular inulin product specifically instructs users to mix one spoonful with their favorite beverage on a daily basis. Used as a supplement for controlling high triglycerides, a dosage of 10 to 14 grams per day is considered appropriate.

Taken as a treatment for constipation, doctors recommend as much as 40g per day of inulin over the course of several weeks.

Inulin powders are available from an almost endless number of suppliers, due to the fact that it seems to be the latest fad product in the supplement industry. A price of $5-$10 for an 8 ounce bottle is normal; expect to pay slightly higher prices for larger volume containers. You should be able to find inulin at your local pharmacy or health food store, as well as a long list of online retailers.

Inulin Side Effects

According to WebMD there are no known serious side effects associated with inulin among healthy individuals. If taken in excess, or in large doses when first beginning a daily regimen, inulin can cause gastrointestinal problems.

Among these are upset stomach, excess gas, bloating, nausea, and cramps. For this reason it is recommended that new users introduce inulin into their diets gradually. This means starting with smaller doses than recommended on packaging materials, slowly building up to the recommended daily dosage.

As with all dietary supplements, it is possible for some users to experience an allergic reaction to inulin. This is another reason to begin taking it in small amounts. Most allergic reactions will be minor and should include things like itching, rashes, and hives.

Should you experience any of these symptoms after beginning and inulin regimen you should discontinue its use immediately. There has been one documented instance of anaphylactic shock due to allergic reaction.

Inulin Debate

Despite the fact that serious negative side effects have not been documented on a widespread basis, there is debate about whether inulin supplements should be used. Those against such supplements often cite high fructose corn syrup and sucrose as similar examples.

Opponents believe that by manufacturing these substances for use as dietary supplements, many of the natural benefits are lost while the potential of harmful side effects increases. Opponents suggest that all inulin intake should be the result of a normal healthy diet which includes inulin-rich foods.

Looking for an inulin product to add to your diet? Use the supplement finder now!

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