Inulin for Gut Health

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What is inulin?

Inulin is a type of soluble fibre, found naturally in a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains and the roots of some plants. It can also be added to some food products such as breads, snack bars, breakfast cereals and yogurts or found in supplement form and is commonly obtained by soaking chicory roots in hot water.

What are some foods that naturally contain inulin?

Vegetables and Fruit:

  • Asparagus
  • Garlic
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Leeks
  • Onion
  • Bananas


  • Wheat
  • Rye


  • Chicory root
  • Dandelion root
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Did you know inulin is considered a prebiotic?

You may be familiar with the term probiotics, which according to Health Canada are considered to be live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.  These beneficial bacteria live in the gut and can have health benefits.

Even though prebiotics sound similar to probiotics, they have a different role in gut health. Prebiotics act as the “food” for probiotics.  Prebiotics promote the growth of probiotics in your digestive system.  

Does inulin have gut health benefits?

Yes, inulin is a type of soluble fibre and prebiotic that helps stimulate the growth of probiotics, the healthy bacteria in your gut and therefore can help support and maintain a healthy digestive system.  

Health Canada has approved a number of uses or purposes, which are outlined below that manufacturers can claim when developing natural health products (for example capsules, chewables (e.g. gummies, tablets), liquids, powders) containing inulin when certain guidelines and specifications are met as set out by Health Canada:  

  • Source of fiber for the maintenance of good health
  • Helps support and maintain a healthy digestive system
  • Helps stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria (such as bifidobateria) in the intestine/gut
  • Prebiotic
  • Helps provide gentle relief of constipation and/or irregularity

How much inulin do I need?

While Health Canada has not defined a specific recommended daily intake for inulin; Health Canada does recommend daily fibre intakes, including 25 grams of fibre per day for women 19-50 years and 38 grams of fibre per day for men 19-50 years.  Research shows most Canadians are only getting about half their recommended fibre intake, so many can benefit from boosting their intake.

As inulin is a soluble fibre found naturally in a variety of plant-based foods; increasing your intake of fibre in your diet, including inulin-containing foods can help increase your intake of inulin.  You will also benefit from the other nutrients, vitamins and minerals found in fibre-containing foods.  

TIP: Remember, slowly increase the amount of fibre in your diet and drink plenty of fluids as your fibre intake increases to help the fibre work better and prevent gas, bloating and diarrhea.

If you’re thinking about a supplement to help meet your needs, remember it’s important to speak with your doctor before taking any supplement to make sure that you’re taking a supplement that’s right for you.

To learn more about fibre, check out my Fabulous Fibre Blog

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