Chicory-derived inulin may improve abdominal sensations, bowel motor function
It appears that a daily dose of inulin is well tolerated by patients with gastrointestinal complaints, suggests a recent study, adding that inulin promotes bifidobacteria growth and may improve gut function.
Researchers performed a placebo-controlled, parallel, randomized, double-blind trial to determine the effect of a prebiotic chicory-derived inulin-type fructan on the tolerance of intestinal gas. Patients with abdominal symptoms and reduced tolerance of intestinal gas (selected by a pretest) were given either inulin (8 g/day; n=18) or maltodextrin as a placebo (8 g/day; n=18) for 4 weeks.
Researchers performed a gas challenge test (4 hours jejunal gas infusion at 12 mL/min while measuring abdominal symptoms and gas retention for 3 hours) before and at the end of the intervention phase. They also measured gastrointestinal symptoms and bowel habits using daily questionnaires for 1 weeks and faecal bifidobacteria counts before and at the end of the intervention.
Inulin, but not placebo, reduced gas retention by 22 percent during the gas challenge test (p=0.035), but the intergroup difference was not statistically significant (p=0.343). Furthermore, both inulin and placebo similarly reduced the perception of abdominal sensations in the gas challenges test by 52 and 43 percent, respectively.
At baseline, participants reported moderate gastrointestinal symptoms and normal bowel habits. These findings did not change in both groups during the intervention. Inulin resulted in a higher relative abundance of bifidobacteria counts (p=0.01 vs placebo).
According to researchers, individuals with gas-related complaints have impaired handling of intestinal gas loads.