If you examine the department with dietary supplements in any pharmacy, you can find a lot of completely incomprehensible, but to some extent familiar names: for example, inulin. What it is? Are the statements about its miraculous properties true, and how to take it correctly?
What is inulin?
Inulin is a carbohydrate, a polysaccharide derived from the lower part of the plant: both tubers and roots. It is called the "energy reserve", because it really works as a kind of fuel. Continuous improvement of technology has led to the fact that today, through cold pressing, you can stretch a necessary element from the plant, practically without losing its active properties, as a result, it is not necessary to look for fresh roots to get inulin, you can trust the finished powder or tablet from the pharmacy.
- The basis for this element (almost 95%) is fructose: more precisely, its remains, into which inulin after fermentation and breaks down. In this case, this substance is absorbed by the body only in the large intestine, which makes it possible to attribute it to the group of prebiotics. That part of the element that does not undergo decay, hooks up to glucose and reduces its level in the blood, and also attaches to cholesterol, fatty acids and toxins, facilitating their elimination.
Where is inulin?
- The main source of this element is Jerusalem artichoke, rarely used in food. A sufficient amount of inulin in chicory (approximately 6-8%), as well as garlic and onion slices, in artichokes. In order to produce inulin on an industrial scale, usually chicory is used, slightly less often - Jerusalem artichoke. Of the less known and rare plants, echinacea, devasil and dandelion are distinguished. They are often used for people suffering from diabetes.
In order to pull this element out of the plants, the raw material goes through several stages of processing. First, it is crushed, then extraction is performed and the liquid is thickened, the precipitate is collected, cleaned and dried. The greatest control is necessary for the extraction stage, since the subsequent effectiveness of the substance depends on the quality of its implementation.
It should be noted that inulin can be used both in medicine and in industry. And if everything is quite clear with the pharmaceutical industry - the application is based on the beneficial properties of the substance, then several other points are relevant for the food industry: in particular, the ability to act as a thickener, since it forms a fat-like dense mass in tandem with water.
- Thus, inulin is actively used in the diet, where it replaces fat in foods with a minimum of its content, in order to preserve its consistency.
It can also be found in culinary products, desserts (mousses, ice cream), dairy products and convenience foods, and even in baby food.
The benefits and harm of inulin
Medicine actively uses all the beneficial properties of this substance, but the greatest emphasis is placed on its effect on metabolic processes, as a result of which inulin is the most frequent and important component of all drugs for diabetics (most often type 2) and people with obesity of any degree. However, it is important to understand that inulin, even with its consonance and ability to bring down the level of sugar, is not a complete analog of insulin. In addition, this substance has a lot of positive aspects.
- Inulin facilitates the process of assimilation of a number of trace elements: in particular, magnesium and zinc, as well as iron, which has a positive effect on the state of the cardiovascular system and the blood formation process.
- The ability of inulin to lower cholesterol and affect lipid metabolism leads to a decrease in the risk of vascular plaques and blockage of blood flow, prevention of myocardial infarction, angina pectoris and atherosclerosis.
- Part of the molecules of inulin can bind with salts of heavy metals, as a result of which the body is cleaned and cancer is prevented.
- Also, the result of the work of inulin can be called a general strengthening of the immune system, the prevention of liver damage, the stimulation of contractions of the intestinal walls and the synthesis of beneficial bacteria in the gastric microflora.
The harm from inulin was not fixed, however, as a precaution, it is not recommended to introduce it to food for children under 12 years of age. In pregnancy, the drug is allowed, but under the supervision of a physician.
Instructions for use of inulin
If we talk about inulin, which is presented in the form of a dietary supplement in pharmacies, it comes in several forms: capsules, powders and tablets. Some manufacturers combine and make the substance an additional component, some offer pure inulin. The choice depends on the goals you are pursuing.
- The drug is taken no more than 3 times a day, the maximum dosage for an adult - up to 10 capsules or tablets per day. For prophylaxis, it is recommended to drink 1 tablet, for treatment - 2 per dose, always drinking a large amount (100-150 ml) of water at room temperature.
- Inulin in powder format must be dissolved in a liquid: it can be either pure water or juice, kefir, etc. The main thing that it was not cold.
The drug must be taken with food, preferably in the first half of this process.
There are no contraindications to the use of inulin, as well as no serious negative impact on the body. However, those who decide to conduct a full-fledged therapy with the use of inulin, it is advisable to consult with your doctor, both for the presence of allergic reactions, and for the body's sensitivity to this element and the determination of optimal dosages.