Cosucra: prebiotic fibres equally well tolerated

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Dietary fiber Prebiotics

Inulin-type fructans are well tolerated regardless of whether they have a short or long chain, says new data from Cosucra.

According to results published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition​, two weeks of supplementation with different doses of inulin-type fructans with different chain lengths were well tolerated by the 84 healthy volunteers taking part in the study.

Doses ranged from 5 to 20 grams a day, and the study supports the tolerability of Cosucra’s Fibrulose F97, Fibruline Instant and Fibruline XL ingredients.

“The data showed that the gastro-intestinal acceptability of chicory fructans at realistic daily doses by an adult healthy population is very good, whatever their chain length,”​ Cathy Signoret, regulatory and nutritional support manager at Cosucra, told

“These are really interesting results as they demonstrate that gastro-intestinal acceptability of dietary fibres such as chicory fructans is not as limitating as it has been described previously,”​ she added.

The new study results challenge an earlier hypothesis that longer chain oligosaccharides are better tolerated than shorter ones.

"This study is unique in the sense that it is comparing the gastro-intestinal acceptability of chicory fructans with various chain length,” ​said Signoret.

“Indeed, a common idea is that longer chains of fructans are more well-tolerated compared to shorter chains. We wanted to confirm or infirm this and then we decided to test in a clinical study the whole range of our ingredients (from short-chain oligofructose to long-chain inulin),”​ she said.

Growing market

Prebiotic ingredients, or those that boost the growth of beneficial probiotic bacteria in the gut, are worth about €90 million in the European marketplace but are forecast to reach €179.7 million by 2010, according to Frost & Sullivan.

The big inulin producers have been influential in building the science behind inulin and oligofructose, backing research into potential benefits for a variety of health conditions ranging from bones to colorectal cancer, from immunity to satiety and weight management.

The chicory root is the major source of prebiotic ingredients. Inulin and oligofructose are the two major ingredients sourced from the root that is mainly grown in Belgium and Northern France where the world’s ‘big three’ suppliers are based.

Beneo-Orafti, Cosucra and Sensus dominate the market and supply almost all of the world’s inulin and oligofructose.

Study details

The researchers, led by Heidi Jacobs, performed a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, cross-over study with 84 healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 45 (average BMI 25.1 kg/m2).

The subjects were randomly assigned to receive supplements of Fibrulose F97 (5 and 20 grams per day), Fibruline Instant (5, 10 and 20 g/day) and Fibruline XL (10 g/day) for two weeks. The participants received two treatments with a two-week washout period separating them.

“We used realistic doses of chicory fructans which are within the range of the normal consumption of such ingredients through normal diet by a healthy adult (from 5 to 20 g/day) taking into account the fact that many foodstuffs available on the market are enriched with chicory fructans,” ​explained Signoret.

None of the participants dropped out of the study, and the researchers report the three products were well tolerated with only mild adverse effects, with flatulence being the predominant one.

“Today, the leading health concerns are heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, weight control, osteoporosis and diabetes. The daily fibre consumption recommended by the Food and Drug Administration has been set at 25 g for an 8,372 kJ/day (2,000 kcal/day) intake and at 30 g for 10,465 kcal/day (2,500 kcal/day) intake,”​ wrote the researchers.

“Inulin and oligofructose are widely used in functional foods throughout the world for their health promoting properties. They could be the ingredients that will meet the needs of the health-oriented food industry in the near future,”​ they concluded.

The researchers were affiliated with Squarepoint-Pointcarré sprl, ResearchLink sprl, Cosucra Groupe Warcoing s.a., all of which are based in Belgium.

Source: International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition​ Volume 60, Issue 2, Pages 165-175"Digestive tolerance of inulin-type fructans: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over, dose-ranging, randomized study in healthy volunteers”​ Authors: J. Bruhwyler, F. Carreer, E. Demanet, H. Jacobs

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