Chicory Inulin Hydrolysate, Complexe d'Oligosaccharide, FOS, Fructo Oligo Saccharides, Fructo-Oligosacáridos, Fructooligosaccharides, Fructo-Oligosaccharides à Courte Chaîne, Inulin Hydrolysate, Oligofructan, Oligofructose, Oligosaccharide Complex, Oligosaccharides, Prebiotic, Prébiotique, SC-FOS, Short Chain Fructo-Oligosaccharides.


Overview Information

Fructo-oligosaccharides are chains of plant sugars. They are taken from asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, and soybeans or produced in the laboratory. People use these sugars to make medicine.

Fructo-oligosaccharides are commonly used by mouth for constipation. Some people use them for weight loss, to prevent traveler's diarrhea, and to treat high cholesterol levels and osteoporosis. But there is limited scientific research to support these other uses.

Fructo-oligosaccharides are also used as prebiotics. Don't confuse prebiotics with probiotics, which are live organisms, like lactobacillus, bifidobacteria, and saccharomyces, and are good for your health. Prebiotics act as food for these probiotic organisms. People sometimes take probiotics with prebiotics by mouth to increase the number of probiotics in their intestine.

In foods, fructo-oligosaccharides are used as a sweetener.

How does it work?

Fructo-oligosaccharides do not get digested in the body until they reach the colon. In the colon, they are digested by good bacteria. This helps the good bacteria to grow.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Possibly Effective for

  • Constipation. Taking fructo-oligosaccharides short-term seems to relieve constipation in adults. Fructo-oligosaccharides are often used in combination with probiotics for this condition. There is also evidence that adding fructo-oligosaccharides to milk or infant formula can improve symptoms of constipation in infants who are not breast-feeding.
  • Weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis). When taken with calcium, taking fructo-oligosaccharides might slow down bone loss in older women.

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Travelers' diarrhea. Taking fructo-oligosaccharides 2 weeks prior to travel does not seem to prevent traveler's diarrhea.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Promoting growth of bacteria in the intestine.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Weight loss.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of fructo-oligosaccharides for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Fructo-oligosaccharides are POSSIBLY SAFE to take by mouth short-term and in doses of less than 30 grams per day. They can cause intestinal gas (flatulence), intestinal noises, bloating, stomachcramps, and diarrhea. These effects are usually mild if the dose is less than 10 grams per day.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if fructo-oligosaccharides are safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Fructo-oligosaccharides are POSSIBLY SAFE when added to infant formula or cow's milk and given to healthy infants in daily doses of up to 4 grams per liter or up to 1 gram per kilogram of body weight. Some infants experience mild bloating, gas, and vomiting.



We currently have no information for FRUCTO-OLIGOSACCHARIDES (FOS) Interactions.



The following doses have been studied in scientific research:



  • For constipation: Doses up to 10 grams daily can be used alone or in combination with probiotics.
  • For weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis): 3.2 grams of fructo-oligosaccharides plus 800 mg of calcium daily can be used.

  • For constipation: Infant formula or cow's milk fortified with fructo-oligosaccharides has been given to infants ages 6-24 months for 4 weeks. The daily dose of fructo-oligosaccharides was based on infant weight: 6 grams for infants 6.0-8.9 kg, 9 grams for infants 9.0-11.9 kg, and 12 grams for infants over 12.0 kg.

View References


  • Alles MS, et al. Fate of fructo-oligosaccharides in the human intestine. Br J Nutr 1996;76:211-21. View abstract.
  • Bornet FR. Undigestible sugars in food products. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59:763S-9S. View abstract.
  • Bouhnik Y, Ouarne FF, Riottot M et al. Effects of prolonged ingestion of fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) on colonic bifidobacteria, fecal enzymes and bile acids in humans. Gastroenterology 1994;106:A598.
  • Bouhnik Y, Vahedi K, Achour L, et al. Short-chain fructo-oligosaccharide administration dose-dependently increases fecal bifidobacteria in healthy humans. J Nutr 1999;129:113-6. View abstract.
  • Briet F, et al. Symptomatic response to varying levels of fructo-oligosaccharides consumed occasionally or regularly. Eur J Clin Nutr 1995;49:501-7. View abstract.
  • Chen HL, Lu YH, Lin JJ, Ko LY. Effects of fructooligosaccharide on bowel function and indicators of nutritional status in constipated elderly men. Nutr Res 2000;20:1725-33.
  • Cummings JH, Christie S, Cole TJ. A study of fructo oligosaccharides in the prevention of travellers' diarrhoea. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2001;15:1139-45.. View abstract.
  • Cummings JH, Macfarlane GT, Englyst HN. Prebiotic digestion and fermentation. Am J Clin Nutr 2001;73:415S-420S. View abstract.
  • Gibson GR. Dietary modulation of the human gut microflora using prebiotics. Br J Nutr 1998;80:S209-12. View abstract.
  • Hess JR, Birkett AM, Thomas W, Slavin JL. Effects of short-chain fructooligosaccharides on satiety responses in healthy men and women. Appetite 2011;56:128-34. View abstract.
  • Jayasimhan S, Yap NY, Roest Y, Rajandram R, Chin KF. Efficacy of microbial cell preparation in improving chronic constipation: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Clin Nutr. 2013;32(6):928-34. View abstract.
  • Lasekan J, Baggs G, Acosta S, Mackey A. Soy protein-based infant formulas with supplemental fructooligosaccharides: gastrointestinal tolerance and hydration status in newborn infants. Nutrients 2015;7:3022-37. View abstract.
  • Losada MA, Olleros T. Towards a healthier diet for the colon: the influence of fructooligosaccharides and lactobacilli on intestinal health. Nutr Res 2002;22:71-84.
  • 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.
  • Mitsouka T, Hidaka H, Eida T. Effect of fructo-oligosaccharides on intestinal microflora. Nahrung 1987;31:427-36. View abstract.
  • Paineau D, Respondek F, Menet V, et al. Effects of short-chain fructooligosaccharides on faecal bifidobacteria and specific immune response in formula-fed term infants: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 2014;60:167-75. View abstract.
  • Pierre F, et al. Short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides reduced the occurrence of colon tumors and develop gut-associated lymphoid tissue in Min mice. Cancer Res 1997;57:225-8. View abstract.
  • Pierre F, Perrin P, Bassonga E, et al. T cell status influences colon tumor occurrence in min mice fed short chain fructo-oligosaccharides as a diet supplement. Carcinogenesis 1999;20:1953-6 . View abstract.
  • Roberfroid M. Dietary fiber, inulin, and oligofructose: a review comparing their physiological effects. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 1993;33:103-48. View abstract.
  • Slevin MM, Allsopp PJ, Magee PJ, et al. Supplementation with calcium and short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides affects markers of bone turnover but not bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. J Nutr 2014;144:297-304. View abstract.
  • Souza DDS, Tahan S, Weber TK, Araujo-Filho HB, de Morais MB. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel clinical trial assessing the effect of fructooligosaccharides in infants with constipation. Nutrients. 2018;10(11). pii: E1602. View abstract.
  • Stone-Dorshow T, Levitt MD. Gaseous response to ingestion of a poorly absorbed fructo-oligosaccharide sweetener. Am J Clin Nutr 1987;46:61-5. View abstract.
  • Waitzberg DL, Logullo LC, Bittencourt AF, Torrinhas RS, Shiroma GM, Paulino NP, Teixeira-da-Silva ML. Effect of synbiotic in constipated adult women - a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of clinical response. Clin Nutr. 2013;32(1):27-33. View abstract.

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