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Inulin

What other names is Inulin known by?

Beta(2-1)fructans, Chicory Extract, Chicory Inulin, Dahlia Extract, Dahlia Inulin, Extrait de Chicorée, Extrait de Dahlia, Inulina, Inuline, Inuline de Chicorée, Inuline de Dahlia, Long-chain Oligosaccharides, Oligosaccharides, Oligosaccharides à Chaîne Longue, Prebiotic, Prébiotique.

What is Inulin?

Inulin is a starchy substance found in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, including wheat, onions, bananas, leeks, artichokes, and asparagus. The inulin that is used for medicine is most commonly obtained by soaking chicory roots in hot water.

Inulin is used for high blood fats, including cholesterol and triglycerides. It is also used for weight loss, constipation, and as a food additive to improve taste.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Lowering high levels of a kind of fat called triglycerides. Taking inulin seems to lower triglycerides by up to 19% after eight weeks of treatment.
  • Constipation. Inulin helps elderly people who typically have a bowel movement only once or twice a week to have a bowel movement daily.

Possibly Ineffective for...

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

How does Inulin work?

Inulin is not digested or absorbed in the stomach. It goes to the bowels where bacteria are able to use it to grow. It supports the growth of a special kind of bacteria that are associated with improving bowel function and general health. Inulin decreases the body's ability to make certain kinds of fats.

Are there safety concerns?

Inulin seems to be safe when used appropriately. The most common side effects occur in the stomach. Using too much inulin causes more stomach problems.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of inulin during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Dosing considerations for Inulin.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For high triglycerides: The usual dose of inulin is 10-14 grams daily.
  • For treatment of constipation in older people: 20-40 grams per day for 19 days.

QUESTION

What is cholesterol? See Answer

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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Reviewed on 9/17/2019
References

Abrams SA, Griffin IJ. Calcium absorption is increased in adolescent girls receiving enriched inulin. World Congress of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, & Nutrition, Boston, MA, August 5-9, 2000: Abstract 821.

Brighenti F, Casiraghi MC, Canzi E, Ferrari A. Effect of consumption of a ready-to-eat breakfast cereal containing inulin on the intestinal milieu and blood lipids in healthy male volunteers. Eur J Clin Nutr 1999;53:726-33.. View abstract.

Cummings JH, Macfarlane GT, Englyst HN. Prebiotic digestion and fermentation. Am J Clin Nutr 2001;73:415S-420S. View abstract.

Davidson MH, Maki KC, Synecki C, et al. Effects of dietary inulin on serum lipids in men and women with hypercholesterolemia. Nutr Res 1998;18:503-17.

Dysseler P, Hoffem D. Inulin, an alternative dietary fibre. Properties and quantitative analysis. Eur J Clin Nutr 1995;49:S145-52.

Gay-Crosier F, Schreiber G, Hauser C. Anaphylaxis from inulin in vegetables and processed food. N Engl J Med 2000;342:1372. View abstract.

Gibson GR, Beatty ER, Wang X, Cummings JH. Selective stimulation of bifidobacteria in the human colon by oligofructose and inulin. Gastroenterology 1995;108:975-82.. View abstract.

Hoeger WW, Harris C, Long EM, Hopkins DR. Four-week supplementation with a natural dietary compound produces favorable changes in body composition. Adv Ther 1998;15:305-14. View abstract.

Kleessen B, Sykura B, Zunft HJ, Blaut M. Effects of inulin and lactose on fecal microflora, microbial activity, and bowel habit in elderly constipated persons. Am J Clin Nutr 1997;65:1397-402.. View abstract.

Kok N, Roberfroid M, Delzenne N. Dietary oligofructose modifies the impact of fructose on hepatic triacylglycerol metabolism. Metabolism 1996;45:1547-50. View abstract.

Menne E, Guggenbuhl N, Roberfroid M. Fn-type chicory inulin hydrolysate has a prebiotic effect in humans. J Nutr 2000;130:1197-9. View abstract.

Pedersen A, Sandstrom B, Van Amelsvoort JM. The effect of ingestion of inulin on blood lipids and gastrointestinal symptoms in healthy females. Br J Nutr 1997;78:215-22. View abstract.

Roberfroid MB, Van Loo JA, Gibson GR. The bifidogenic nature of chicory inulin and its hydrolysis products. J Nutr 1998;128:11-9. View abstract.

Roberfroid MB. Functional effects of food components and the gastrointestinal system: chicory fructo-oligosaccharides. Nutr Rev 1996;54:S38-42. View abstract.

Teuri U, Karkkainen M, Lamberg-Allardt C, Korpela R. Addition of inulin to breakfast does not acutely affect serum ionized calcium and parathyroid hormone concentrations. Ann Nutr Metab 1999;43:356-64.. View abstract.

Williams CM. Effects of inulin on lipid parameters in humans. J Nutr 1999 Jul;129(7 Suppl):1471S-3S. View abstract.

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