What Is Inulin ?

Inulin refers to a group of fructose-containing polysaccharides (fructose), consisting of a chain of three to a maximum of one hundred monosaccharide units (fructose molecules). The chains may be branched or straight and are at the end of the chain, a glucose molecule.


Inulin is found in the roots of plants that grow in cold-temperate areas (eg inula (Inula), chicory, Jerusalem artichoke, dahlia, dandelion, salsify and artichoke). It will be stored in the vacuoles of the plant cells and, like starch a reserve substance for the plant. It also works as a cryoprotectant. This means that it protects the plant from freezing.

Inulin itself has no sweet taste, but inulin preparations often contain decomposition (fructo-oligosaccharides) with a sweet taste, making the preparation still often tastes sweet. Inulin has a white color and is quite well-soluble in water.


Inulin is not absorbed from the small intestine, because man is the necessary enzyme lacks the beta- (2-1) -fructaanverbindingen to break down with which the various fructose units are connected to each other. In the colon are some groups of bacteria present that this enzyme (inulinase) do possess. Therefore finds that growth stimulation instead of groups of intestinal bacteria which can degrade inulin, including some bifidobacteria and various other species. In addition, various organic acids are produced, such as lactic acid, succinic acid, butyric acid, propionic acid and acetic acid. Other breakdown products are hydrogen, carbon dioxide as well as other gases that in susceptible individuals can lead to flatulence.

In particular, the acidification complicates the survival of a number of groups of pathogenic bacteria (colonization resistance increases), in particular those from the Clostridium perfringensgroep.

Inulin and oligofructose are able to stimulate the bifidoflora. For this reason, inulin and oligofructose grouped under the so-called prebiotics.


Industrially, inulin used in the production (via hydrolysis) of fructose.

Inulin is used as a glucose substitute in the treatment of diabetes (Diabetes mellitus), since it does not affect the blood glucose level.

As prebiotic inulin is also used by people with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and diarrhea. The dosage is usually 5-15 grams per day. Doses of 250-500 mg are therefore ineffective.


Inulin is fully filtered in the kidney, not resorbed, gesecreerd or metabolized, and the fabric does not occur naturally in the body. These factors make inulin (in addition to creatinine) an instrument to measure renal function. The inulineklaring is therefore a measure of the glomerular filtration rate.

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