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.
How does it 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.
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:
Side Effects & Safety
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.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- 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.