Intake of chicory root fibres increases Bifidobacteria and supports bowel function
A new systematic literature review with meta-analyses, conducted by Dávid U. Nagy et al1, has demonstrated that chicory root fibre intake (starting at 3g/day) promotes significant growth of Bifidobacteria in the gut microbiome in all age groups and improves bowel function parameters. It is the first study of this kind, based on randomised control trials, that has investigated the effect of inulin-type fructans derived from chicory root on Bifidobacteria abundance in gut microbiota and health-related outcomes.
Included in the systematic review with meta-analyses, considered the strongest methodology in the hierarchy of scientific evidence, were 50 human intervention studies, with a total of 2,495 participants. These were selected based on an extensive literature search and review process that followed the guidelines of the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews and Interventions2. This research evidenced that inulin, oligofructose and combinations thereof, derived from the chicory root as the source of origin, act as a bifidogenic factor, promoting the selective growth of Bifidobacteria. The systematic review with meta-analyses also demonstrates that chicory root fibre is a prebiotic that complies with the ISAPP (International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics) definition of prebiotics.
The researchers further reported that the bifidogenic effects of the chicory root fibres were accompanied by improved bowel regularity. This was validated by increased stool frequency in healthy adults, and by softer stools in healthy infants and children.
Commenting on the findings, Anke Sentko, vice-president of regulatory affairs and nutrition communication at BENEO, said: “I am extremely pleased that this detailed critical systematic review with meta-analyses has been conducted. Following the highest quality scientific evidence methodology, the prebiotic effect of inulin-type fructans sourced from the chicory root is confirmed. It yet again shows that integrating chicory root fibres into a person’s daily diet supports Bifidobacteria and thus their gut microbiome, while also improving the bowel functions of the very young to the very old.”
BENEO’s prebiotic fibres, Orafti Inulin and Oligofructose, are inulin-type fructans. They are natural, non-GMO, and clean-label prebiotic fibres that are derived from chicory root via a gentle hot water extraction method, unlike artificially or chemically made fibres. They can be used in a wide range of food and beverage applications including baby food, according to national legislations. As proven prebiotics, chicory root fibres (inulin, oligofructose) support a healthy gut microbiota and selectively promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms, such as Bifidobacteria, in the gut. Chicory root fibres are the preferred food for those good microorganisms and thus help them to grow and multiply. Due to the increased bacterial metabolism in the large intestine, regularity is improved.
1 Nagy DU, Sándor-Bajusz KA, Bódy B, Decsi T, Van Harsselaar J, Theis S & Lohner S (2022) Effect of chicory-derived inulin-type fructans on abundance of Bifidobacterium and on bowel function: a systematic review with meta-analyses. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. Published 14 July 2022, DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2022.2098246
2 Higgins JPT, Thomas J, Chandler J, Cumpston M, Li T, Page MJ, Welch VA (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions version 6.3 (updated February 2022). Cochrane, 2022. Available from www.training.cochrane.org/handbook