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Four typical prebiotics

Oct 19, 2021

This article will introduce the most acknowledged prebiotics in market. That is, Inulin ,Fructo oligosaccharide (FOS),Galacto oligosaccharide (GOS) and Lactulose. There is also a table compare of the four prebiotics benefits.

What is prebiotics? 

The concept of prebiotics was proposed by the international "father of prebiotics"-Glenn Gibbsau in 1995. It refers to some that are not digested by the host but can selectively promote the metabolism and proliferation of beneficial bacteria in the body, thereby improving the host Healthy organic matter.


Inulin, is a natural mixture of fructans, and it is also currently internationally recognized as the safest and most effective prebiotic.

What's interesting is that all kinds of beneficial bacteria such

as lactobacillus, bifidobacteria, etc. like to eat it, even some neutral bacteria Bacteroides and Clostridium, etc. will eat it. Inulin has the most obvious effect on the proliferation of beneficial bacteria.

The natural sources of inulin are very abundant, and inulin is present in almost every planted species. In addition to starch, it is another form of energy storage for plants, just like the tubers.

Fructo oligosaccharide (FOS)

Fructo oligosaccharides are also derived from sugar or chicory. Unlike inulin, it can only promote the growth of bifidobacteria, which can be regarded as a food exclusively for bifidobacteria.

The flora in the oral cavity also cannot use fructooligosaccharides, so fructooligosaccharides are also ideal sweeteners for preventing dental caries.

In terms of the mechanism of action, oligofructose and inulin are similar. They both pass through the hydrolase system of beneficial bacteria to turn into fructose with a low degree of polymerization, and then are converted into short-chain fatty acids-butyrate through fermentation.

Butyrate is powerful. It is not only a good helper to balance the intestinal flora, but also a booster to help mineral absorption.

In our country, the popularity of oligofructose is higher than that of inulin. This is mainly because oligofructose is easier to produce: in addition to the natural source of Juji. Fructooligosaccharide can also be produced by sucrose enzymatic hydrolysis and isomerization.

Because of its extremely low glycemic index (GI), fructooligosaccharides are often added to slimming foods, low-calorie foods and foods for people with diabetes.

In addition, FOS is often added to infant milk powder, because breast milk is rich in oligosaccharides, which makes the baby's intestines healthier.


Galacto oligosaccharide (GOS)

The third prebiotic to be introduced is galacto oligosaccharide, which, as the name suggests, is a substance formed by the polymerization of a small amount of lactose monomer.

GOS can promote the growth and colonization of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. Unlike FOS, GOS are more acid-resistant and heat-resistant. When faced with an environment of alternating acid-base in the digestive tract, Lactose has obvious advantages.

Galacto oligosaccharides can also be regarded as a good booster in the effect of combating harmful bacteria.

It can promote the production of lactic acid and short-chain fatty acids by beneficial bacteria to change the intestinal environment.

It can also promote the secretion of large amounts of extracellular polysaccharides (sticky substances) to adsorb harmful bacteria and produce bacteriostatic substances such as bacteriocins to defeat harmful bacteria step by step.


Compared with GOS, lactulose, which is also derived from lactose, seems to be less well-known.

However, for the intestinal flora of adults, lactulose is the most prebiotic effect among lactose derivatives.

As early as 1957, the Austrian scientist Pettler discovered that lactulose was a bifidus growth factor and used it to treat constipation. Later, British scholar Bertzer discovered that lactulose can limit the production and absorption of inorganic ammonia in the colon, thereby treating hepatic encephalopathy.

Even clinical randomized double-blind trials have shown that lactulose has the same therapeutic effect as the clinical drug RIFAXIMIN approved by the FDA.


Benefits Compare

ItemsInulinFOSGOSIsomerized Lactose
RawChicoryChicory, Jerusalem artichoke, cane sugarlactoselactose
AllBeneficial bacteriaBifidobacteriumBifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, etc.Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, etc.
Recommended intake15g /D3-18g /D2-18g/D5-20ml/day (medicine) 1-5g/day (food)
Improve constipation●●●●●●●●●●
Prevent tooth decay/●●●//
Promote mineral absorption●●●●
Aid to lower blood sugar/●●●●●
Boost the immune system/●●●●●
Flavor●●fatty●●●● fresh