Inulin-rich chicory extract passes tolerance test

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Coffee

An inulin-rich extract that also contains polyphenols and other bioactive compound is very well tolerated, says a new study from France that builds the science behind an emerging product.

An intake of 8.9 grams of the extract, containing 5 grams of inulin, was well tolerated by the 53 volunteers participating in the randomized, double-blind, crossover study. The findings are published in the journal Nutrition​.

The commercially-available inulin-rich soluble chicory extract differs from inulin on the market, said lead researcher Myriam Janssens from Leroux, the company that sponsored the study. Talking to NutraIngredients, Janseens added: “Our extract is obtained from roasted chicory, the taste of the product is then very interesting for formulating for instance drinks, bakery products.”

Patented extraction

The extract is obtained by a patented extraction process (M. Janssens Patent EP 1411780 2008), which reportedly minimizes the impact of processing on the inulin content. “It allows the production of a natural inulin-rich soluble chicory extract (IRSCE), where the average inulin content, according to batch or harvest period, is around 60 per cent of the weight of the dry matter, instead of an inulin content around 20 per cent observed with the conventional method,”​ explained the researchers in the journal.

The inulin is contained in a chicory matrix, they said, with other potentially bioactive compounds retained in the finished extract. Such a composition makes the ingredients suitable “to develop food products rich in fiber and functional food applications,”​ wrote Janssens and her co-workers.

The researchers note that the extract “provides new possibilities to formulate products such as coffee or chocolate instant drink that can provide to consumers, according to a normal consumption behavior, the minimal amount of inulin that is known to promote beneficial effects in humans: 5 to 8 grams per day”​.

Dose determination

The new study assessed the tolerability of the new extract in a coffee drink. Eighteen healthy volunteers took part in the first part of the study, which evaluated the tolerability of two doses - 8.9 and 14.0 grams of the extract containing 5.0 and 7.8 g of inulin, respectively.

The results showed that during three consecutive six day periods the higher dose led to some overall abdominal discomfort, but no such discomfort was observed for the lower dose.

The second part of the study involved 35 people receiving an instant coffee drink twice a day containing 8.1 grams per day of the extract, containing an inulin dose of 5.0 grams per day, or 8.1 grams of sucrose per day for four weeks.

Janssens and her co-workers report that there were no significant differences between the chicory extract group and the sucrose (control) group.

First step, next steps

“The present study is the first that has evaluated the digestive tolerance of a soluble roasted chicory extract naturally rich in inulin after a short- or long-term period of consumption,”​ wrote the researchers. “The data indicated that the product [at a dose of 8.1 grams of extract] was well tolerated with no difference compared with the placebo, even at the beginning (first two weeks) of consumption.”

Janssens told this website that work is ongoing on the development of the product and that the next stage is still to be confirmed, but “will probably go into its bifidogenic and antioxidant properties”​.

Source: Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1016/j.nut.2009.07.013
“Gastrointestinal tolerance to an inulin-rich soluble roasted chicory extract after consumption in healthy subjects”
Authors: C. Ripoll, B. Flourié, S. Megnien, O. Hermand, M. Janssens

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