Inulin is a type of dietary fiber that is recommended to manage certain digestive problems. Side effects caused by inulin are mostly minor, and well tolerated by most people.
A wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs contain inulin, which is a starchy substance that is used by plants to store energy. Common sources of this fiber are wheat, onions, bananas, leeks, artichokes, asparagus, and garlic. Due to its extremely low glycemic index, it is used as a substitute for foods with high-calorific value such as fat, sugar, and flour etc. It is also recommended as a fiber supplement for people on restricted diets.
The fiber is beneficial for conditions like high cholesterol, constipation, and also problems related to weight gain. Since it belongs a class of dietary fiber, it does not get absorbed in the stomach, and is transported directly to the bowel, where a special kind of bacterium digests it to improve the bowel functions. In addition to this, the fiber decreases manufacture of certain kind of fats in the body. Although inulin has many benefits and is considered to be a safe supplement, it has few minor side effects.
The side effects caused by inulin are mild and very few. The reasons behind these side effects can be related to the metabolic gases produced when the fiber is digested. The side effects have been briefly discussed as follows:
- Flatulence: This dietary fiber can cause voluntary or involuntary passing of gas, cramps in the abdominal area, and bloating.
- Rumbling noise from stomach (stomach growling): Normally, an indication of hunger, the intake of this fiber can also cause such sounds.
- Excessive Belching: Another side effect of this fiber is belching – a natural way of the body to get rid of excess air from the stomach.
- Stomach Cramps: This may rise due to buildup of gas in the stomach. In most cases, it is mild, but in some cases it may need medical attention.
- Allergy: In rare cases, some people might develop an allergic reaction to inulin.
- It helps in lowering the cholesterol levels in the body.
- According to some reports, the consumption of this fiber showed reduction in the growth of cancerous cells, and helped in the treatment of certain blood diseases.
- Unlike sucrose or glucose, this dietary fiber does not require insulin for its digestion. Considering this fact, it may prove helpful in the management of diabetes.
- The bacteria in the mouth and the saliva do not possess the ability to break down this dietary fiber. This reduces the chances of cavities or dental caries.
- As this fiber does not get digested or absorbed in the stomach, it gives the feeling of fullness, thereby helping in weight loss.
- Stomach problems like diarrhea and constipation can also be prevented by the use of this fiber.
On a concluding note, the side effects caused by inulin are mild and can be easily managed. However, if the symptoms persist, and worsen with time, then consulting your healthcare provider is recommended.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.