The main difference between inulin and psyllium fiber is that inulin is fermented in the gut, whereas psyllium is not fermented in the gut and retains its water-holding capacity throughout the large intestine.
Dietary fibers, also known as roughage, are a portion of food derived from plants that cannot be completely broken down by human digestive enzymes. Inulin and psyllium are two different types of dietary fibers with unique properties and benefits.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Inulin
– Definition, Benefits, Sources
2. What is Psyllium Fiber
– Definition, Benefits, Sources
3. Similarities – Inulin and Psyllium Fiber
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Inulin and Psyllium Fiber
– Comparison of Key Differences
Inulin, Psyllium Fiber, Digestive Fiber
What is Inulin
Inulin is a type of fiber that is present in certain plant foods. It is a naturally occurring polysaccharide produced by plants. The molecular formula of inulin is C6nH10n+2O5n+1, and it has a boiling point of 563.5 °C. It belongs to a class of dietary fibers known as fructans. It is generally found in roots and rhizomes. Some plants even use it as a way to store energy. Many different types of plants, including chicory, artichoke, salsify, garlic, wheat, onions, agave, and wild yams, have inulin.
Moreover, inulin is a type of prebiotic. The human body does not make any enzyme that can digest inulin. Therefore, the stomach and small intestine cannot digest it. This is why it travels to the large intestine, where gut bacteria use it as food. Inulin causes gut bacteria to produce a lot of gas, which causes abdominal pain and flatulence. Hence, you should consume inulin in average amounts. Inulin also promotes the abundance of good bacteria that are beneficial to humans.
Benefits of Inulin
Inulin is water soluble. It absorbs water in the gut and forms a gel-like substance. This substance softens stool, which intern relieves constipation. It also adds bulk to stool and increases the frequency of bowel movements, but it slows down overall digestion, maximizing nutrient absorption by the gut. Another benefit of inulin is its ability to absorb calcium and magnesium.
Inulin also lowers the blood sugar levels of patients with type II diabetes. Inulin promotes healthy blood sugar levels as it slows down digestion, including the digestion of carbohydrates. This, in turn, releases sugar without spiking, hence promoting healthy blood sugar levels. It is also known as a potential blood sugar stabilizer when present in the diet over a long period of time. Inulin also reduces cholesterol absorption as it passes through the digestive tract. Furthermore, some studies have discovered that inulin can reduce the risk of colon cancer. Additionally, it acts as a good supplement that prevents cancers in the digestive system.
What is Psyllium Fiber
Psyllium fiber is a bulk-forming laxative. It is a dietary fiber that helps to relieve constipation. Psyllium fiber is found in a shrub-like herb called Plantago ovata. This soluble fiber helps to lower cholesterol. It also helps to cure diarrhea. In addition, it is a treatment for hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, and other intestinal problems. Psyllium fiber also helps to regulate the blood sugar levels of people with diabetes. Additionally, a diet rich in fiber helps to reduce the chance of developing diabetes for those who are at risk.
Psyllium soaks up quite a large amount of water in the gut. This makes stools slower to pass, making stool firmer. Psyllium also reduces the risk of heart disease. Moreover, studies show that a diet rich in water-soluble fibers like psyllium lowers cardiovascular disease risks and triglyceride levels.
Similarities Between Inulin and Psyllium Fiber
- Inulin and psyllium fibers are both soluble dietary fibers.
- Both also help to relieve constipation.
Difference Between Inulin and Psyllium Fiber
Inulin is a type of polysaccharide present in certain plant food, while psyllium fiber is a dietary fiber that helps relieve constipation.
Moreover, inulin is fermented in the gut, whereas psyllium fiber is not fermented in the gut and retains its water-holding capacity throughout the large intestine.
Inulin is naturally found in many plants, such as onions, artichokes, and chicory roots, whereas psyllium fiber is a fiber that is derived from the seeds of Plantago ovata plant.
Inulin can help improve gut health and boost the immune system and prevent certain types of cancers, such as colon cancer, whereas psyllium fiber helps in improving digestive health, relieving constipation, lower cholesterol levels, and reducing the risk of heart diseases.
Dietary fibers are essential components in the diet. Inulin and psyllium fibers are both dietary fibers having many health benefits to the human body. The main difference between inulin and psyllium fiber is that inulin is fermented in the gut, whereas psyllium is not fermented in the gut and retains its water-holding capacity throughout the large intestine.
1. “Inulin – An Overview.” Science Direct.
2. “7 Benefits of Psyllium.” Medical News Today.
1. “Inulin strukturformel” By Florian Fisch – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Psyllium Husk” By Oliwier Brzezinski – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
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