Chicory root fibers found to provide digestive health and natural defense benefits to children

Chicory root fibers found to provide digestive health and natural defense benefits to children

12 Jul 2018 --- Consuming chicory root fibers can bring important health benefits to kindergarten children aged three to six years, according to research by Professor Tamás Decsi and Szminoetta Lohner at the Department of Pediatrics, University of Pécs, Hungary. Previous studies have demonstrated a strengthening of the natural defense system in infants and children between birth and two years of age. However, this is the first time this evidence has been established for this age group.

The human intervention study, which examined the supplementation of a daily dosage of 6g of chicory root fiber during the autumn and winter period, demonstrated various health benefits amongst children. These include improved gut microbiota composition, softer stools in a normal range and fewer incidences of infections in the group of three to six-year-old children. 

Regular intake of a dedicated composition of chicory root fiber, a variant of Orafti inulin, was found to support the gut microbiota of the children by increasing bifidobacterial and lactobacilli numbers. This resulted in lower numbers of fever episodes requiring a physician’s consultation and sinusitis in kindergarten children. Also, the positive effect on digestive health was further supported by a softer stool consistency. 

Acute infections, particularly in the winter season, are common in kindergarten children. The negative impact of the children’s poor well-being can be linked to increased health care costs and workday losses by the caretaking parent(s). This latest research highlights that the risk of such infections can be reduced by incorporating chicory root fiber, Orafti inulin, into the daily diet of children to strengthen their defense forces and improve digestive health. 

 “This study demonstrates the importance of healthy, prevention orientated eating in this age group. By making small adjustments to your daily choices, you can achieve significant improvements to your health status, from very early on. It also shows once again that your microbiota composition matters. With the chicory root fiber used in this study, we can strengthen their natural defense forces. These are very exciting results that can be achieved by these particular dietary fibers,” says Anke Sentko, Vice President Regulatory Affairs and Nutrition Communication at BENEO.

Speaking to NutritionInsight about new avenues for R&D and research, following this study, Sentko points to the importance of the human microbiome.

“The effect of the microbiome on human metabolism is much greater than researchers previously thought. Consuming nutrients, such as prebiotic chicory root fiber, that positively influence the microbiota composition, is a powerful way to help stay healthy in various ways. Given these latest findings, we anticipate there may be more research examining the strengthening of the bodies inner defenses still to come,” she concludes.

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