Dietary supplements, tablets, medical nutrition and meal replacers are examples of healthcare nutrition products. Healthcare nutrition products can easily be enriched with chicory inulin, as it is an excellent source of soluble dietary fiber. In the last few years, the use of chicory inulin in supplements has expanded rapidly. In tablets, chewables, and instant beverages, prebiotic ingredients are increasingly being paired with probiotic ingredients. As this combination propels exposure for chicory inulin, it is being used more and more throughout healthcare nutrition.
Chicory inulin and oligofructose are bifidogenic ingredients, this means they have a clinically observed, positive effect on a healthy group of bacteria that populate our intestines known as Bifidobacterium, and thus they contribute to a healthy gut microbiota. Following consumption of chicory inulin or oligofructose, the soluble dietary fibers are fermented by the Bifidobacterium in the gut through which short chain fatty acids are produced, which have a beneficial effect on your body and the colon.
Chicory inulin produces a very modest glycemic response thereby promoting healthy blood glucose, supporting healthy diets, particularly for diabetics. Additionally, chicory inulin and oligofructose have been shown to modulate hormones which may play a role in satiety, meaning that chicory inulin consumption also helps regulate proper hunger signaling. For all of these reasons, as well as the low caloric value of these ingredients, chicory inulin enables the development of weight management products without sacrificing the textures or flavors consumers desire. By helping formulators produce pleasing, healthy products, chicory inulin and oligofructose can play a significant role in management of metabolic syndrome where blood sugar levels and overweight are two key issues.