A recently published study conducted by Professor Randal Buddington, University of Memphis, TN, now at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, College of Nursing, revealed that a daily supplementation of 15g of oligofructose, a chicory root fiber, significantly increased stool frequency per week and proved to be well-tolerated at the same time. In addition, oligofructose helps to bridge the fiber gap evident in the diets of the North American population.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Position Paper only about half of the dietary fiber recommendation is reached on average, in the North American population. The mean intake of dietary fiber in the U.S. is 17g/day with only 5% of the population meeting the adequate intake of 25g/day for women and 38g/day for men. As low fiber intake is associated with constipation, it’s estimated that 1 in 5 Americans suffer from chronic constipation and could benefit from effective products to increase fiber intake and improve bowel regularity.
The human intervention trial was a single site, randomized, controlled, double-blind and parallel-designed study of 97 healthy adults, 80 percent of them women, experiencing irregularity associated with low dietary fiber intake. The participants had a gradual increase of Orafti® oligofructose (Orafti® P95) from 5g/day up to 15g/day. Each dosage (5, 10, 15 g/day) was given for four weeks. Maltodextrin was given as control with 15g/day during the entire study period. The study participants who received oligofructose increased their stool frequency significantly compared to the study start with 15g/day.
“Fibers are important for a balanced diet and digestive health, yet we do not eat enough of them,” said Professor Buddington. “Our study definitively showed that bowel regularity is one of the many health effects gained from the prebiotic fermentation of chicory root fibers. A daily supplementation with oligofructose not only increased dietary fiber and significantly improved bowel regularity but also did so without causing gastrointestinal distress.”
Supplementation with oligofructose showed even more pronounced effects when the study subjects already consumed a certain, but still insufficient amount of fiber in their usual diet (more than 13g/day). Under these conditions, the supplementation with 15g of oligofructose bridged the fiber gap and significantly increased stool frequency per week compared to the placebo.
The individual perception of the digestion process, measured as noise, pressure, pain, bloating and gas, was reported to be very low for all gastrointestinal sensations in the oligofructose and in the placebo group. The participants in the oligofructose group reported significant improvement for the parameters “noise,” “pressure,” and “pain,” particularly at high doses.
“Sufficient dietary fiber and a good mix of various fiber types are essential for digestive health,” said Anke Sentko, BENEO-Institute Vice President Regulatory Affairs and Nutrition Communication. “Chicory root fibers can improve digestive well-being in various ways and help to bridge the fiber gap. These soluble, non-viscous and fermentable fibers are proven prebiotics and thus naturally improving the microbiota composition in the gut. The prebiotic fermentation process leads to a stimulation of the gut contractions so that laxation is improved in a natural way,” she added.
Dr. Buddington’s study results were first reported at the 11th Annual Vahouny Fiber Symposium held June 2017 in Bethesda, Maryland. Publication of the study results were published online in mid-December 2017.
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 Dahl, W.J., Stewart, M.L. (2015) Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 115, 1861–1870.