Could supplements really boost your heart health? They might.
Research shows that some supplements -- in addition to lifestyle changes and medical treatment if you need it -- may help lower cholesterol, improve blood pressure, and reduce other risk factors for heart disease. It's unclear if supplements actually help prevent heart disease.
Suggested dosages vary by supplement maker. Optimal doses of inulin have not been set for any condition. Quality and active ingredients in supplements may vary widely from maker to maker. This makes it hard to set a standard dose.
Can you get inulin naturally from foods?
Many foods -- and plants that are less commonly eaten -- contain inulin. These include:
Chicory, which is used in salads
Inulin is found in some processed foods as a replacement for fat, such as:
When combined with water in a precise way, it can mimic the texture of fat in these foods.
What are the risks of taking inulin?
Side effects. Inulin may cause allergic reactions, with symptoms that can include:
Risks. Inulin-type prebiotics are generally recognized as safe. Chicory itself, however, is not recommended in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It may lead to miscarriage.
Chicory may also interfere with certain drugs and supplements.
Interactions. Inulin may increase the amount of calcium you absorb from foods.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does regulate dietary supplements; however, it treats them like foods rather than medications. Unlike drug manufacturers, the makers of supplements don’t have to show their products are safe or effective before selling them on the market.