A new systematic literature review with meta-analyses, conducted by Dávid U. Nagy et al., demonstrates that chicory root fiber 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 randomized 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 Interventions.

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 fiber 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 fibers 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.

“I am extremely pleased that this detailed critical systematic review with meta-analyses has been conducted,” said Anke Sentko, BENEO Vice President, Regulatory Affairs & Nutrition Communication.  “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 fibers 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 fibers, Orafti® Inulin and Oligofructose are inulin-type fructans. They are natural, non-GMO, clean label prebiotic fibers that are derived from chicory root via a gentle hot water extraction method, unlike some other fibers that are artificially or chemically made. 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 fibers (inulin, oligofructose) support a healthy gut microbiota and selectively promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms, such as Bifidobacteria, in the gut. Chicory root fibers 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.

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The BENEO-Institute is an organization which brings together BENEO’s expertise from Nutrition Science and Legislation teams. It acts as an advisory body for customers and partners reaching from ingredient approval, physiological effects, and nutritional composition to communication, education, and labeling. The BENEO-Institute works on topics related to the microbiome and prebiotics, digestive health and well-being, blood sugar management and the achievement of lower glycemic diets, cognition, and mental health, as well as bone health. It also addresses nutrition-related questions regarding protein and fiber intake requirements, sugar reduction, and more.