June 24, 2013
Fructooligosaccharide, known as FOS, or inulin, is an ingredient often associated with probiotics – many probiotic manufacturers highlight it as a benefit of their product. At Natren, we have grave concerns about the use of FOS, and we believe a little more education is needed.
Firstly – what is FOS? It is a simple carbohydrate that is non-digestible by humans. It is also used as an artificial sweetener. It occurs naturally in plants such as asparagus, garlic and the Jerusalem artichoke, although it is more often chemically synthesized for commercial use. It is often used within probiotic formulas as a “prebiotic”. A prebiotic is used as a nutrient for the beneficial bacteria to promote its growth and colonization within the gut.
So far so good – so why is Natren opposed to its use? It primarily comes down to the undesirable side effects of FOS. This chemically manufactured product has significant side effects that counteract the benefits that probiotics are intended to deliver. While the body does not directly digest FOS, fructooligosaccharide does stimulate a number of bacteria that are present in the colon. This causes rapid fermentation in the colon that can lead to bloating, abdominal pain, copious quantities of gas, cramps and diarrhea. Additionally, studies have shown increased chances of intestinal tumors and colon cancer on mice that have been fed on an inulin-rich diet.
Natren does not use FOS, or any other added prebiotic for that matter. We feel that adding a chemically engineered simple carbohydrate with such abnormal side effects goes against the philosophy of creating natural supplements that work with your body.
Additionally, there are better, natural ways to nourish the beneficial bacteria. We wrote a few weeks ago about the supernatant. This is the host medium that the bacteria are grown in during the manufacturing process – which naturally contains the nutrients necessary to nourish the bacteria and help it grow. Many manufacturers extract the supernatant as a way of drastically reducing production costs, and add FOS or inulin to compensate for the nourishment that they have just removed. This certainly makes for a cheaper product, but at what cost to you, the customer?
At Natren, we believe that by preserving the bacteria in its natural environment, and by taking special care to deliver it in excellent physical condition, we can eliminate the need for harmful chemicals in our probiotics, and deliver a safer, more beneficial product to you.
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