Most of the physiological conditions of our body are influenced by our diet.
Inulin is a prebiotic, low-calorie, indigestible, soluble fiber. It is a fructan commonly found in many plants and vegetables. It comprises of chains of fructose sugar. Because of this, it proceeds to the large intestine and serves as a food for gut bacteria.
As a soluble fiber, inulin brings with it a variety of benefits that are as follow,
Inulin improves digestive health. Being prebiotic in nature, inulin considerably maintains the balance between the good and bad bacteria in the gut. It promotes healthy digestion and boosts immunity by giving rise to the healthy gut flora. Inulin also helps relieves constipation, although it doesn’t affect the frequency of bowels.
Some studies indicate that inulin can be beneficial for a healthy weight loss. It can be a useful aid for those struggling with overweight. It may aid in controlling diabetes also. High performance (HP) inulin can also maintain healthy levels of blood sugar and improve insulin resistance. Inulin also boosts the liver function and is good for the heart. It reduces the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, and curbs some of the most common causes of cardiovascular disease.
Inulin may also prevent colon cancer. The gut bacteria ferments Inulin into butyric acid. This process poses protective properties that benefit the colon. Studies show that inulin promotes an environment that is less favorable to tumor growth and development.
A recent study reports that inulin supplementation can be helpful in maintaining a healthy heart. The respective study was published in the Journal of Nutrition. The research involved Belgian scientists who demonstrated supplementation of inulin to be helpful in maintaining a disease-free heart.
The researchers validated the fact that inulin supports the gut bacteria. In addition, it improves the lipid metabolism in the intestines, resulting in lower levels of triglycerides. The authors of the study wrote that the gut microbiota provides an important ecosystem. It is able to control the host physiology by interacting with food components.
The study employed an animal model composed of 36 rats. The rats were divided into two groups.
The first group received a diet with only 10 percent kilocalorie (kcal) of fat. The other group, however, consumed 45 percent kcal fat. The diet plan continued for around four months.
After that, the researchers made two more groups of rats. One group received 0.1 grams of supplementation of chicory-based inulin daily. The other group didn’t have any kind of inulin supplementation.
The researchers administered inulin through the animals’ drinking water for about two weeks.
The results of the study revealed that inulin had nothing to do with the weights of the rats. However, it visibly improved the levels of triglyceride even in mice that consumed a Western diet.
The researchers explained that western diet, in comparison to the control diet, significantly increased the serum levels of triglycerides. Inulin supplementation can lead to a significant improvement in hyperglyceridemia. The effects appear after three and four hours of post-lipid load.
Another study on inulin found that it combat metabolic syndrome by protein expression in the intestines’ epithelial cells. The research involved experts from Georgia State University.
The mechanisms by which inulin improves the levels of triglycerides is not very well-known. Further studies are encouraged on the matter.