Gastrointestinal tolerance and utilization of agave inulin by healthy adults

Hannah D. Holscher, Jamie L. Doligale, Laura L. Bauer, Vishnupriya Gourineni, Christine L. Pelkman, George C. Fahey, Kelly S. Swanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Little clinical research exists on agave inulin as a fiber source. Due to differences in botanical origin and chemical structure compared to other inulin-type fibers, research is needed to assess gastrointestinal (GI) tolerance following consumption. This study aimed to evaluate GI tolerance and utilization of 5.0 and 7.5 g per day of agave inulin in healthy adults (n = 29) using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial consisting of three 21 day periods with 1 week washouts among periods. GI tolerance was assessed via daily and weekly questionnaires, three fecal samples were collected on days 16-20 of each period, and breath hydrogen testing was completed on the final day of each treatment period. Survey data were compared using a generalized linear mixed model. All other outcomes were analyzed using a mixed linear model with a repeated measures procedure. Composite GI intolerance scores for 5.0 and 7.5 g treatments were both greater (P < 0.05) than control, however, scores were low, with means of 0.4, 1.9, and 2.3 on a 0-12 point composite scale for 0, 5.0, and 7.5 g treatments, respectively. There were slight increases (P < 0.05) in bloating, flatulence, and rumbling frequency with 5.0 and 7.5 g agave inulin. Abdominal pain and rumbling intensity were marginally greater (P < 0.05) with 7.5 g. Bloating and flatulence intensity increased (P < 0.05) with 5.0 g and 7.5 g. Agave inulin did not affect diarrhea (P > 0.05). Number of bowel movements per day increased, stools were softer, and stool dry matter percentage was lower with 7.5 g (P < 0.05). Breath hydrogen concentrations increased (P < 0.001) from 5-8 hour postprandial when participants consumed agave inulin compared to control. These data demonstrate that doses up to 7.5 g per day of agave inulin led to minimal GI upset, do not increase diarrhea, and improve laxation in healthy young adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1142-1149
Number of pages8
JournalFood and Function
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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