The Lifelong Benefits of Inulin and Oligofructose
J. O’Neill. BENEO-Orafti, Morris Plains, NJ. Cereal Foods World 53(2):65-68.
Inulin and oligofructose are the world’s most researched prebiotic food and beverage ingredients. Studies have linked these unique fibers to improved digestive health, function, and immunity. In fact, supplementation with inulin and oligofructose has been linked to a variety of benefits to total body health that extend over a lifetime. Supplementing infant formula has been shown to boost levels of healthy bifidobacteria in the colon, to improve infants’ bowel function and resistance to infections, and to reduce the occurrence of common symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and fevers. In adolescents, oligofructose-enriched inulin (Synergy1) has been shown to produce positive effects on bone health through enhanced calcium absorption and increased bone mineral density. Furthermore, it helps in maintaining a healthy body weight. In adults, inulin and oligofructose have improved bowel habits and acted as a barrier against harmful compounds and microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract. Oligofructose-enriched inulin has also been shown to boost mineral absorption for better bone health, e.g., in women after menopause. In combination with probiotic bacteria (synbiotic approach), inulin and oligofructose have reduced key biomarkers of colon cancer risk. Overall, they help maintain proper digestive system function and balance by increasing the presence and vitality of beneficial bifidobacteria. Studies in older people indicate that inulin and oligofructose supplementation can increase their intestinal levels of bifidobacteria, helping to reverse signs of digestive aging, and improving intestinal function while supporting wellness.