Inulin fructans in diet: Role in gut homeostasis, immunity, health outcomes and potential therapeutics.

Tawfick, M. M., H. Xie, C. Zhao, P. Shao, and M. A. Farag, "Inulin fructans in diet: Role in gut homeostasis, immunity, health outcomes and potential therapeutics.", International journal of biological macromolecules, vol. 208, pp. 948-961, 2022.


Inulin consumption in both humans and animal models is recognized for its prebiotic action with the most consistent change that lies in enhancing the growth and functionality of Bifidobacterium bacteria, as well as its effect on host gene expression and metabolism. Further, inulin-type fructans are utilized in the colon by bacterial fermentation to yield short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which play important role in its biological effects both locally inside the gut and in systemic actions. The gut symbiosis sustained by inulin supplementation among other dietary fibers exerts preventive and/or therapeutic options for many metabolic disorders including obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiometabolic diseases, kidney diseases and hyperuricemia. Although, gastrointestinal negative effects due to inulin consumption were reported, such as gastrointestinal symptoms in humans and exacerbated inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in mice. This comprehensive review aims to present the whole story of how inulin functions as a prebiotic at cellular levels and the interplay between physiological, functional and immunological responses inside the animal or human gut as influenced by inulin in diets, in context to its structural composition. Such review is of importance to identify management and feed strategies to optimize gut health, for instance, consumption of the tolerated doses to healthy adults of 10 g/day of native inulin or 5 g/day of naturally inulin-rich chicory extract. In addition, inulin-drug interactions should be further clarified particularly if used as a supplement for the treatment of degenerative diseases (e.g., diabetes) over a long period. The combined effect of probiotics and inulin appears more effective, and more research on this synergy is still needed.