Where does inulin come from?
Mar 19, 2021

Where does inulin fiber come from?

Inulin comes from a natural source and occurs in a large variety of plants, where it plays an important biological role as reserve carbohydrate. It has been part of our daily diet for hundreds of years as you find it in many fruits and vegetables such as bananas, onions and wheat. The root of the chicory plant (Chicorium intybus) is the natural source of inulin.

Natural origin

Every year, Sensus contracts local and dedicated farmers in Belgium and the Netherlands to produce and supply chicory roots. After chicory has been sown at the beginning of April, it sprouts quickly. The chicory plant only has to catch sunlight on its green leaves in order to get the chicory plant to produce inulin and store it in the roots. Chicory is a robust and efficient crop with a low nutrient need. Moreover, in the Sensus sourcing areas little to no irrigation is needed.

From September to December, the chicory roots are harvested and brought to the Sensus site in the Netherlands. During this time, the inulin is extracted from the chicory roots with just hot water and turned into inulin. These ingredients are successfully used both functionally and beneficially, with respect to health outcomes,in many food applications.

Natural verified

The full range of Sensus chicory inulin and oligofructose products qualifies as natural according to the ISO 19657:2017 guideline. About a year after ISO set a new guideline for food ingredients to be called ‘natural’, chicory root fiber is the first dietary fiber to achieve this verification. Chicory root fiber is today the only dietary fiber that is verified as natural according to ISO.

What is a source of inulin

What is a source of inulin?

Inulin naturally occurs in many plants, but manufacturers can also modify it for commercial use.

Natural sources

Inulin occurs in around 36,000 species of plants, and researchers say that chicory roots are the richest source. Many plants contain only small amounts of inulin, while others are excellent sources. Here's how much inulin is in 3.5 ounces (oz), or 100 grams (g), of the following foods:

  1. chicory root, 35.7–47.6 g

  2. Jerusalem artichoke, 16–20 g

  3. garlic, 9–16 g

  4. raw asparagus, 2–3 g

  5. raw onion pulp, 1.1–7.5 g

  6. wheat, 1–3.8 g

  7. raw barley, 0.5–1 g

Manufactured sources

Inulin is also available in supplement form or as an ingredient in:

  1. protein bars

  2. cereal bars

  3. yogurts and other milk products

  4. drinks

  5. baked goods

  6. desserts

  7. Manufactured inulin comes in several forms:

Chicory inulin: Extract from chicory root.

High-performance (HP) inulin: Manufacturers create HP inulin by removing the shorter molecules from it. Fiber supplements that are closely related to inulin are fructooligosaccharides, also known as oligofructose.

Does inulin come from chicory root

Does inulin come from chicory root?

Inulin is a type of fiber that's found in certain plant foods. Chicory root is the main source of inulin in supplement form.Chicory was originally found in Europe and Asia. Egyptians grew it thousands of years ago as a medicine. It's now grown in the U.S.Your small intestine does not absorb inulin. When it reaches your large intestine (colon), bacteria ferment it.

Inulin is a type of fiber, meaning it's a plant-based carbohydrate whose bonds cannot be broken by human digestive enzymes. Like all fibers, therefore, dietary inulin is not digested in the small intestine but instead travels intact onto to the colon (large intestine), making it fodder for the resident gut bacteria and contributing to the bulk of our stools. Inulin occurs naturally in some vegetables and is also isolated from the roots of chicory plants – whose leaves you may recognize as the leafy vegetable called endive – to be added to processed foods.

Where is inulin produced?

Inulins are a group of naturally occurring polysaccharides produced by many types of plants,industrially most often extracted from chicory. The inulins belong to a class of dietary fibers known as fructans. Inulin is used by some plants as a means of storing energy and is typically found in roots or rhizomes. Most plants that synthesize and store inulin do not store other forms of carbohydrate such as starch. In the United States in 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved inulin as a dietary fiber ingredient used to improve the nutritional value of manufactured food products.Using inulin to measure kidney function is the "gold standard" for comparison with other means of estimating glomerular filtration rate.

inulin vs psyllium

inulin vs psyllium

Both inulin and psyllium are natural, plant-based starches that are often used for similar health purposes. You might take psyllium or inulin to help treat diabetes, constipation or high triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Inulin and psyllium also have unique individual health benefits. Before you begin taking either psyllium or inulin for any health purpose, consult your doctor about the proper dosage and potential dangers.


Inulin is a type of fructo-oligosaccharide, or FOS, that helps to feed the "friendly" bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract, explains the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Inulin is sometimes called a "prebiotic" and is found naturally in certain foods like asparagus, soybeans, leeks and onions. Psyllium seeds and seed husks come from the Plantago ispaghula and P. ovata plants, and they're typically used for their high fiber and mucilage content, says the University of Michigan Health System. Psyllium's fiber and mucilage offers bulk-forming laxative effects, as well as gastrointestinal-soothing, cholesterol-lowering and blood sugar-regulating actions.


Both inulin and psyllium might help control your blood-sugar levels if you have diabetes, as well as lower high triglycerides, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Both substances may also help treat high cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. Specifically, inulin and other FOS are sometimes used to relieve traveler's diarrhea, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Inulin could also help to prevent eczema, while psyllium might help treat constipation and diverticular disease. Other potential uses for psyllium include helping to reduce the risks of colon cancer and heart disease, as well as helping to treat hemorrhoids, hypertension and inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. Talk with your physician before taking inulin or psyllium for any health purpose.


Inulin may possibly help support your health before and after undergoing surgery, notes the University of Michigan Health System. Psyllium might have the potential to promote weight loss by reducing hunger, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. Psyllium could also provide benefits if you have atherosclerosis or constipation related to Parkinson's disease. No conclusive medical research supports the use of inulin or psyllium for any of these purposes, however.


You might take 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of psyllium seed mixed with 1 cup of warm water each day, or up to four doses per day, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. You must drink the psyllium mixture immediately after mixing it, before it becomes too thick. Alternatively, you could take 2,000 to 3,000 mg of inulin each day, or as much as 8 to 20 grams daily to help treat diabetes, high triglycerides or high cholesterol levels, says the University of Michigan Health System. Ask your physician about the dosage that's right for you before taking psyllium or inulin.


Both inulin and psyllium can cause gas and bloating. Both substances may also cause allergic reactions in some people, although such adverse reactions are rare, says the University of Michigan Health System. If you have chronic constipation, uncontrolled diabetes or irritable bowel syndrome, take psyllium only under the close supervision of a health care professional. Also, psyllium may be unsafe if you have difficulty swallowing, esophageal stricture, or gastrointestinal tract or bowel obstructions, warns the University of Maryland Medical Center. Psyllium could interact negatively with certain medications, such as Tegretol, diabetes drugs, tricyclic antidepressants, digoxin and lithium.

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