Fructo-oligosaccharides – Also referred to as “FOS” or “neosugars”, they are composed of units of fructose (the sugar commonly found in many fruits and honey) that are resistant to digestion in the upper digestive tract. FOS act by stimulating the growth of Bifidobacterium species in the large intestine. FOS food components are found in a number of common foods, including garlic, onions, leeks, wheat, bananas, asparagus, and artichokes.
Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are found in many vegetables and consist of short chains of fructose molecules. Since FOS can be only partially digested by humans, the undigested portion serves as food for “friendly” bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus species. Clinical studies have shown that probiotic supplements with FOS can increase the number of these friendly bacteria in the colon while simultaneously reducing the population of harmful bacteria. For some of these beneficial bacteria, such as the Bifidus, FOS can increase their effectiveness by a factor of 1,000 times or more!! Other benefits noted with FOS supplementation include increased production of beneficial short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, increased absorption of calcium and magnesium, and improved elimination of toxic compounds.
Fructo-Oligosaccharides are 100% natural long chain sugars derived from beets and are used as a food source for friendly bacteria in the intestines. FOS goes unabsorbed by the human body, does not spike insulin levels, and is safe for diabetics. FOS is not, or in any way similar to the synthetic sweetener, saccharine.
Fructo-oligosaccharides are classified as prebiotics because they have the ability to selectively promote the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria (such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli) at the expense of the less friendly putrefactive (capable of producing foul-smelling by-products) bacteria such as bacteroides, clostridia, and other coliforms. Bifidobacteria produce acetic and lactic acids, which inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria and stimulate intestinal peristalsis.
Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are plant sugars that occur in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and cereals. Chemically they are made up of a glucose molecule joined to fructose molecules. Fructo-oligosaccharides have prebiotic activity. Prebiotics are substances that selectively promote the growth and activity of specific species of bacteria in the gut. Fructo-oligosaccharides pass undigested through the small intestine. Colonic bacteria that produce acids, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, are symbiotic with fructo-oligosaccharides. In the colon Fructo-oligosaccharides specifically promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, which in turn produce enzymes that metabolize Fructo-oligosaccharides. They are not hydrolyzed by human digestive enzymes and they are not recoverable in the feces. This suggests complete metabolism by colonic microflora.
Fructo-oligosaccharides are used for constipation, traveler’s diarrhea, increasing fecal mass and reducing serum cholesterol. In foods they are used for sweetening.
The fructo-oligosaccharides have a dietary fiber effect: they reduce the intestinal transit time and increase the fecal mass. This is explained by the fact that these fructo-oligosaccharides are not absorbed in the small intestine and pass into the large intestine where they undergo a fermentation. These fructo-oligosaccharides also cause a reduction in the blood cholesterol level as a result of their dietary fiber effect.