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Chicory Root Dietary Fiber Linked to Increased Stool Frequency

Only 5% of Americans are getting the recommended daily fiber intake of 25 to 30 grams per day. A recent study suggests that taking a daily supplement of 15 g of oligofructose, which is a fiber found in chicory root, may increase weekly stool frequency.


Participants in the study included 97 people between the ages of 18 and 65 with a body mass index of 35 or under and one to three reported bowel movements per week. The participants were not taking fiber supplements or medications for constipation and habitually consumed a diet that had 50% or less of the recommended daily fiber intake.


For the first three weeks of the study, all of the participants took a placebo of 5 grams of maltodextrin three times per day. It was dissolved into a drink and taken with meals. The researchers took stool samples from all of the participants at the end of that three-week period. This was followed by three consecutive four-week periods, during which the placebo group took maltodextrin three times daily and the fiber group took three sachets per day of oligofructose. The dosages of oligofructose started at 1.67 grams per sachet and increased at the start of each four-week period, with the final amount being 5 grams per sachet.


The researchers noted significant increases in frequency of bowel movement in the oligofructose group during the last phase of the study, when the fiber group was taking 15 grams per day. There were no changes noted in the placebo group. Stool consistency was similar and remained unchanged for both groups.


Researchers from the University of Memphis led the study. It was published on December 18, 2018, in the journal Nutrients.


Previous studies suggest that oligofructose may help aid with weight loss and improve digestive health. It can be found in chicory root, onions, bananas, wheat, and fortified foods. It can also be taken in supplement form.

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