Inulin & prebiotics references

Perhaps 70% of the dry weight of fecal matter is bacteria. So, your 2 lbs or so of bacterial ecology had better be beneficial. This is accomplished by feeding and activating gut probiotics.

Inulin references confirm that dietary inulin is a historic and necessary food for the good bowel bacteria, bifidobacteria, and the better-known lactobacilli, our main probiotics: "In Crohn disease, concentrations of Bacteroides, Eubacteria and Peptostreptococcus are increased, whereas bifidobacteria numbers are significantly reduced. Furthermore, in ulcerative colitis, concentrations of facultative anaerobic bacteria are increased." says one work, while other research has linked low bifidobacteria numbers especially, and low intestinal probiotic numbers overall, to ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), candidiasis, vaginitis and vaginal yeast infections, urinary tract infections (UTI), rheumatoid arthritis, pancreatitis, ear infections, diarrhea, constipation, lupus, breast cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, acne, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and psoriasis.


This graph shows elevated lactobacillus and pathogens in the bowel, especially in the elderly, meaning that acidophilous is not very effective, while even small fluctuations in probiotic bifidobacteria produce large variations.


If the objective then is an elevation of bifidobacteria, feeding the PRObiotic with it's PREbiotic is an option. When probiotics are mixed with their feed it's called a SYNbiotic to prolong contact time between the bacteria and its food. Oral dosing or rectal implants both work.

 Orthomolecular prebiotic inulin is not FOS

Simply put, inulin is a prebiotic indigestible natural food polymer that is found in overwintering roots. More than 36,000 plants world-wide contain inulin in widely varying amounts. Note the huge variance though, between Onion (2-6%), Garlic (9-16%), Leek (3-10%), Banana (0.3-0.7%), Asparagus (10-15%), Jerusalem artichokes (15-20%), Chicory (13-20%), and wheat (1-4%). Several portions daily of high-inulin foods would meet the minimum of several grams of inulin, while obviously grains and bananas contain an insignificant amount of inulin and a significant amount of problematic sugars and starches. 


Inulin is made of long chains of sugar molecules, fructose laid end-to-end ranging from 3 to 60 units, capped with one glucose. The lengths vary with plant source, type of climate, time of harvest, and the duration and conditions of post-harvest storage.

When inulin is water-extracted from the highest performers; its chain length averages 9 molecules, while the chain length of commercially-purified fructo-oligosaccharides or FOS from it averages 3.7, tastes sweeter, and gives off much more sugar as it breaks down.

FOS is a good prebiotic in an ideal environment; however its higher sugar component is also known to support harmful bacteria. Raw native inulin on the other hand contains only small amounts of FOS so it does not support pathogens very well but it also works as a PREbiotic, meaning it even more specifically feeds PRObiotic bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.

Further, when FOS and sugar are entirely removed, the resulting long chain inulin of 22 or more links average does not appreciably grow pathogens even under optimal laboratory conditions, as this table from Ochuba and Von Reisen's research below reveals. The science on long-chain inulin thus reveals its dissimilarity to FOS.

As you can see, even in an extra week of lab-optimised conditions the cultures didn't respond well to long chain inulin.

When actively fermenting, probiotics not only outcompete pathogens, they produce benefical short chain fatty acids and b-vitamins and they exude anti-cancer enzymes and bacteriocins, which are direct natural antibiotics. Only an actively growing probiotic culture creates an unfavorable environment on the crucial position of the bowel lining; put another way, in the long term one has to maintain a good culture in order to re-establish the probiotics in the villi of the bowel lining to have a favourable prognosis. And as you can see in this graph, chicory inulin excels at feeding them. 

The outcome is improved bowel habit, nutrient absorption, blood sugar and insulin levels, LDL and VLDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and reduced cancer risk.


SRecent human experiments conducted by Gibson et al. (1995) at the Dunn Clinical Nutrition Center (UK) demonstrated that a daily intake of 15 grams inulin during 15 days renders B. Bifidus the numerically predominant species in feces and colon, while stagnating or decreasing numbers of bacteroides, fusobacteria, clostridia and colifoms -- leaving the total bacterial count essentially unchanged. In addition, inulin's relatively long chain length can also provide a greater number of available carbohydrate units to be used for beneficial bacterial growth.  


Should gut health revise modern health care?

An M.D. once mentioned candidly that about 80% of adults he treats are affected by bowel dysbiosis, and that it involves a candida component of unknown proportion and, durability. Clostridia Difficile is the largest killer in geriatric wards and it would be easy, legal and a best practice for our health care to spend a little on inulin in the food than a lot on maintaining an epidemic in their health wards.

Though the information is crucially important to some, many health professionals whknow it have a million followers! Have you noticed quality going down a bit as quantity goes up? My Hulda Clark protocol fix, Gottschall's specific Carbohydrate Diet salvage and the Johanna Budwig Diet revision reflects a correctitude of data that they would certainly have had to go with. Their considered intent and performance of their approaches was important to them; however the believers of those 50-year-old books are a patch of nuisance. This quip from my friend is appropriate:

We have become "The Country of the Blind" (An H.G. Wells short story. The entire country is blind and a sighted man enters thinking he can become a leader of the people. Instead they attack him and blind him so he will be just like everybody else).

Is the Hulda Clark book really worth a fart?

While recommending the removal of methanol sources as part of her parasite treatment, Dr. Hulda Clark failed to recognize that methanol is created in large amounts in the bowel in a condition of bowel dysbiosis as follows: Natural food fermentation by several non-probiotic bacterial species produces a lot of hydrogen. Hydrogen-using bacteria, hydrogenotrophic methanogens, in turn produce methane from it, this adding to the direct production of methane by many bacterial species; methane is known to be a major component of bowel gases. Many methane-using bacteria called methanotrophs use methane and exude toxic methanol. Because Dr. Hulda Clark had not attended to the dysbiosis with inulin, her adherents would maintain their dysbiosis too, and their main source of methanol toxicity. As inulin references show, dysbiosis increases cancer, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome and candida risk. Clark purports that her protocols are "a cure for all diseases", so obviously her approaches to intestinal health should be treated as works in progress and subject to scientific review.


Elaine Gottschall's SCD a "sweet tooth diet"?

The SCD approach has been fundamentally flawed by similar ignorance,  and what's worse, the SCD promotes the use of honey and other carbohydrates that have been proven to promote bowel dysbiosis, and, in the upper intestine, a medical condition called SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth). But the more dogmatic SCD followers are leading the flock just enough to maintain their snapshot of Gottschall's ignorance of the difference between FOS and inulin at the time of writing her book, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. You know more than she did if you have read this article from the top. The crucially important role inulin plays in bowel health is detailed in the inulin references while the followers put themselves in danger by following unsubstantiated advice. Even many SCD experts corroborate  that many patients have to drop carbs altogether to get well, making the SCD little more than a permit or cheat to eat sweets in an otherwise pretty healthy low-carb program.


What does the prebiotic research tell us?


P rebiotic research says the Budwig Diet, the Hulda Clark Protocol, Elaine Gottschall's Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the rest a in absence of any attention to gut health. Gerson's not bad; if the raw Gerson diet juiced almost entirely inulin roots, it would just squeak by as the leader of the pack. But I think many diets don't establish the enormous difference between undenatured whey protein, a serum health product, and milk or milk solids, calling them all "dairy" so need revision on that point as well into another anti-aging compound, glutathione.  Proof of aberrant crypt foci and colon polyposis (cancer ) increase in a condition of bowel dysbiosis is seen in the research below. But followers are propagandising, not making the changes. Many people posess the character to be followers, but you aren't and that's why you got this far. This is for you, the educators.


Many other studies referenced in Bryan C. Tungland's Comprehensive Scientific Review compare prebiotics in detail and show negative results for bacterial pathogens, yeasts, and fungi cultured on "native inulin", even though the natural product contains about 3% FOS and 10% sugar. Of course, in the natural environment of the gut, probiotic organisms flourishing do not allow pathogens to compete.


Inulin References

Inulin: A Comprehensive Scientific Review Bryan Tungland (fulltext PDF)

Primer on Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
On MedicineNet

Bacillary dysentery as a causative factor of irritable bowel syndrome and its pathogenesis.
Gut Aug 2004

Small Intestinal Bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) in fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome
British Medical Journal 2004

Dysbacteriosis in patients with colon polyposis
NOTE the link chronic dysbiosis has to colon cancer.
Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol. Sept-Oct 2001

Experimental evidences on the potential of prebiotic fructans to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Br J Nutr. 2002

Inulin-type fructans and reduction in colon cancer risk: review of experimental and human data.
Br J Nutr. 2005

Dysbiosis in inflammatory bowel disease
Gut 2004

Dysbiosis as a prerequisite for IBD
Gut 2004

Synbiotic therapy (Bifidobacterium longum/Synergy 1) initiates resolution of inflammation in patients with active ulcerative colitis: a randomised controlled pilot trial
Gut 2005

Effect of dietary inulin supplementation on inflammation of pouch mucosa in patients with an ileal pouch-anal anastomosis.
Dis Colon Rectum. 2002

Fermentation of polysaccharides by Klebsielleae and other facultative bacilli
Appl. Environ. Microbiol. May 1980

Inulin and oligofructose as dietary fiber: a review of the evidence.
Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2001 Jul; 41(5): 353-62.

Antioxidative effects of Cichorium intybus root extract on LDL (low density lipoprotein) oxidation.
Arch Pharm Res. 2001 Oct; 24(5): 431-6.

Anti-hepatotoxic effects of root and root callus extracts of Cichorium intybus L.
J Ethnopharmacol. 1998 Dec; 63(3): 227-31.

Prebiotics and probiotics: are they functional foods?
Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jun;71(6 Suppl):1682S-7S; discussion 1688S-90S. Review.

Addition of inulin to a moderately high-carbohydrate diet reduces hepatic lipogenesis and plasma triacylglycerol concentrations in humans.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Mar;77(3):559-64.

Applications of inulin and oligofructose in health and nutrition.
J Biosci. 2002 Dec;27(7):703-14.

Dietary chicory inulin increases whole-body bone mineral density in growing male rats.
J Nutr. 2002 Dec;132(12):3599-602.

Non-toxic potentiation of cancer radiotherapy by dietary oligofructose or inulin.
Anticancer Res. 2002 Nov-Dec;22(6A):3319-23.

Biomarkers of bone health appropriate for evaluating functional foods designed to reduce risk of osteoporosis.
Br J Nutr. 2002 Nov;88 Suppl 2:S225-32. Review.

Antitumorigenic activity of the prebiotic inulin enriched with oligofructose in combination with the probiotics Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis on azoxymethane-induced colon carcinogenesis in rats.
Carcinogenesis. 2002 Nov;23(11):1953-60.

Functional food concept and its application to prebiotics.
Dig Liver Dis. 2002 Sep;34 Suppl 2:S105-10. Review.

Dietary inulin suppresses azoxymethane-induced preneoplastic aberrant crypt foci in mature Fisher 344 rats.
J Nutr. 2002 Sep;132(9):2804-8.

Dietary inulin suppresses azoxymethane-induced aberrant crypt foci and colon tumors at the promotion stage in young Fisher 344 rats.
J Nutr. 2002 Sep;132(9):2809-13.

Effects of prebiotics on mineral metabolism.
Am J Clin Nutr 2001 Feb;73(2 Suppl):459S-464S

Inulin content (% of fresh weight) of plants that are commonly used in human nutrition
(Van Loo et al., 1995)
SourceEdible partsDry solids contentInulin content
Onion Bulb6 ± 122 ± 6
Jerusalem artichoke Tuber19 ± 2514 ± 19
Chicory Root20 ± 2515 ± 20
Leek Bulb15 ± 20*3 ± 10
Garlic Bulb40 ± 45*9 ± 16
Artichoke Leaves-heart14 ± 163 ± 10
Banana Fruit24 ± 260.3 ± 0.7
Rye Cereal88 ± 900.5 ± 1*
Barley CerealNA0.5 ± 1.5*
Dandelion Leaves50 ± 55*12 ± 15
Burdock Root21 ± 253.5 ± 4.0
Camas Bulb31 ± 5012 ± 22
Murnong Root25 ± 288 ± 13
Yacon Root13 ± 313 ± 19
Salsify Root20 ± 224 ± 11
NA, data not available. *Estimated value.