The activity of inulin as a prebiotic has been widely proven by numerous studies, not only through the positive changes in the composition of the microbial population, but also through the generation of short chain fatty acids.
The human digestive tract cannot digest fibers like inulin, but these non-digestible fibers are fermented by the microbiota in the colon. Short chain fatty acids (SCFA's) are the end-products of this fermentation process and are absorbed in the bloodstream, through which they contribute to human (intestinal) health throughout various processes in the body:
- Increasing dietary mineral absorption (bone health promotion)
- Improvement of bowel function (anti-constipation effect)
- Increased secretion of satiety hormones (weight management)
- Effects on local and systemic immune system (reduction of allergy and inflammation)
- Increased colonization resistance against pathogens (reduced risk of intestinal infections)
- Lowering of plasma triglycerides and LDL cholesterol (reduced risk of cardio-vascular disease)
- Vitamin synthesis1
1 Gertjan Schaafsma and Joanne L. Slavin. 2014. Significance of inulin fructans in the human diet.