Farmer in the field checking Chicory roots with cows in the background Farmer in the field checking Chicory roots with cows in the background

Digestive health

Chicory root fibres play an important role in supporting digestive health, including the natural stimulation of bowel activity. They are unique in the sense that they reach the colon intact, where they are fermented by beneficial bacteria. This results in an increase in bacterial cell mass and a higher water content leading to an improved stool volume, softness of stools and gentle stimulation of bowel movement. The increased frequency of bowel movements is within a normal range. 

Scientific studies - Human studies firmly support the digestive benefits of chicory root fibres. These prebiotic fibres reach the colon intact where they are fermented by the good bacteria, that consequently increase in number and bacterial mass. Due to fermentation of the chicory root fibres, substantial amounts of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are produced by the gut microbiota. These SCFAs stimulate the absorption of salts and water, increasing the humidity of the colonic content and making the stool consistency softer. Along with the increased colonic content due to the extra bacterial biomass, the passage through the colon will be stimulated, which all together improves digestive health. In Europe, an authorised health claim exists for chicory inulin (EFSA 2015) on improving digestive health by stimulating bowel movement: “Chicory inulin contributes to normal bowel function by increasing stool frequency”. In order to obtain the claimed effect, 12 g of chicory inulin should be consumed daily.

An overview of scientific studies on this topic.