Further Studies Highlight Benefits of BENEO’s Chicory Fiber

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09 Feb 2017 --- BENEO’s prebiotic chicory root fibers have been found to support digestive health by improving bowel regularity and softening stools, while being very well tolerated. The findings come from two recently published scientific studies, which are building on findings from earlier research.

BENEO say that with up to 30% of the Western population (including children) affected by a low number of weekly bowel movements and hard stools , the potential for using chicory root fibers in this area of digestive health cannot be underestimated.

The two studies look at different aspects of the chicory root fibers. The first, by Antje Micka et al., shows that chicory root inulin improves bowel function in adults and contributes to improved digestive health.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over design trial, looked at 44 healthy, slightly constipated subjects (self-reported constipation defined as 2-3 stools per week).

Participants were supplemented with 3x4g/day of BENEO’s chicory root fiber, Orafti Inulin, or placebo (maltodextrin).

The supplements were delivered in a drink form that was consumed together with breakfast, lunch and dinner over a 4-week period and after a 2-week run-in phase. The results showed that BENEO’s prebiotic chicory inulin significantly improved stool frequency per week without resulting in gastrointestinal discomfort.

It also contributed to improved overall wellbeing and satisfaction, evaluated by a validated quality of life questionnaire for constipated people.

The research was included in BENEO’s dossier for a 13.5 claim that resulted in a positive opinion, as well as an exclusive claim for its prebiotic chicory inulin and digestive health.

Anke Sentko, Vice President Regulatory Affairs and Nutrition Communication of BENEO, told NutritionInsight, "BENEO achieved an exclusive 13.5 health claim on supporting digestive health in 2016. The study by Micka et al. played a central role for this great achievement."

"Still, BENEO continues to invest in research on prebiotic chicory root fibers inulin and oligofructose and their potential to improve digestive health."

The second study, by Ricardo Closa-Monasterolo et al., focuses on children between the ages of two to five years old and demonstrates that prebiotic chicory root fibers, inulin and oligofructose, support digestive health by improving stool consistency, while being very well tolerated. It was the first study to show that prebiotic chicory inulin and oligofructose also support normal bowel habits in children between the ages of two to five years old.

It was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel group design. The children received a 2x2g/day combination of BENEO’s Orafti Inulin and Oligofructose, or placebo (maltodextrin), incorporated into yoghurt or fresh cheese, for a 6-week period. Results showed that the chicory root fibers softened the stools of the constipated children and were as well tolerated as the fully digestible placebo.

While there are a number of scientific studies that demonstrate the positive effects of prebiotic fibers, inulin and oligofructose, in infants and small children (0-2 years old), there was previously limited data on their effect in children between the ages of 2 to 5 years old.

BENEO say that this really highlights the high level of importance of the recent study results, stressing the significance due to the age group being particularly at risk of constipation due to their change in diet (overall low dietary fiber intake), toilet and potty training, as well as more exposure outside of the home (kindergarten), all of which may influence their digestive well-being.

“Digestive health matters at every age,” said Anke Sentko, Vice President Regulatory Affairs and Nutrition Communication at BENEO.

He adds, “The two recent high quality human intervention studies show once again that BENEO’s prebiotic chicory root fibers effectively support digestive health in children and adults.”

Regarding future studies, Sentko says that the scope of the company's research is large.

"The role of the gut microbiota and its interaction with the body is a hot topic for scientists and non-scientists all over the world," says Sentko.

"It started in Europe 20 years ago with research related to the prebiotic effect of chicory root fibers (inulin, oligofructose) and continues with exciting results."

"Researchers are looking into diabetes prevention aspects, weight management support, support of inner resistance and much more. The secret behind all of this is promoting the selective growth of specific beneficial microorganisms that are naturally living in our large intestine (e.g. Bifidobacteria)."

"Their specific growth can be achieved by offering food those microorganism love. Chicory root fibers are preferred. This selective growth promotion is called the prebiotic effect of inulin and oligofructose."

by Hannah Gardiner

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