Fructooligosaccharides FOS benefit and side effects, supplement health benefit, bifidobacteria, probiotics
August 16 2015 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Fructooligosaccharide (FOS) is an oligosaccharide used as an artificial or alternative sweetener. Fructooligosaccharides became popular in the 1980s in response to consumer demand for healthier and calorie-reduced foods. The term oligosaccharide refers to a short chain of sugar molecules (in the case of FOS, fructose molecules). Oligo means few, and saccharide means sugar.

Vegetables and plants that have fructooligosaccharides
Yacon roots are a rich source of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and have a long use tradition as food in the Andean region.

Nutrients. 2014. Effect of Fructooligosaccharides Fraction from Psacalium decompositum on Inflammation and Dyslipidemia in Rats with Fructose-Induced Obesity. Rats treated with FOS fraction decreased body weight, cholesterol, triglycerides, and significantly reduced IL-6, IFN-γ, MCP-1, IL-1β and VEGF levels. These results suggest that P. decompositum has anti-inflammatory and hypolipidemic properties that might be used as an alternative treatment for the control of obesity.

Fructooligosaccharide supplement helps colonic bacteria
Four-week short chain fructo-oligosaccharides ingestion leads to increasing fecal bifidobacteria and cholesterol excretion in healthy elderly volunteers.
Nutr J. 2007.
Short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides are increasingly used in the human diet for their prebiotic properties. We aimed at investigating the effects of short-chain fructo-oligosaccharide ingestion on the colonic microflora and oro-fecal transit time in elderly healthy humans. Stools composition, oro-fecal transit time, and clinical tolerance were evaluated in 12 healthy volunteers, aged 69 +/- 2 yrs. Fecal bifidobacteria counts were significantly increased during the short-chain fructo-oligosaccharide period and returned to their initial values at the end of follow-up. Fecal cholesterol concentration increased during the short-chain fructo-oligosaccharide period and returned to the baseline value at the end of follow-up. Four-week 8 g/d short-chain fructo-oligosaccharide ingestion is well tolerated and leads to a significant increase in fecal bifidobacteria in healthy elderly subjects.