What does research show?
1. On health benefits of Fructo Oligosaccharides (FOS)
FOS are polymers of fructose (10-20 monomers of sugar), resistant to salivary and digestive enzymes (amylase). Once fermented in our gut, the bacteria produces Short-chain Fatty Acids (SCFA), which constitute the end product of FOS fermentation.
SCFA elicits a “bifidogenic” effect, aiding in the growth of selective health-promoting bacteria such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, while reducing pathogenic populations like Clostridium and Escherichia coli.
Therefore FOS bioactivity exhibits a prebiotic activity throughout the production of SCFA, aiding in creating a healthier microbiota profile.
From a nutritional point of view, FOS may offer physiological benefits to justify its use as a food supplement to aid in health homeostasis.
Study 1: Sabater-Molina, M.; Larqué, E.; Torrella, F.; Zamora, S.Dietary fructooligosaccharides and potential benefits on health. J. Physiol. Biochem. 2009, 65, 315–328.
2. On Colorectal Cancer
Dietary factors that potentially increase the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) include a very high intake of red and processed meat, saturated fats and refined starches. Diabetes and obesity are also associated with a higher risk of developing CRC.
Literature shows chemopreventive effects of yacon root intake on induced colon cancer in male rats. The study showed a reduction in cell proliferation, number and multiplicity of preneoplastic lesions and invasive adenocarcinomas in the group receiving 1% of yacon powder.
One hypothesis explaining this reduction in cell proliferation is that an overpopulation of Lactobacillus attenuates DNA damage in white blood cells (WBC), while an elevated WBC count is associated with higher mortality risk due to CRC.
Study 2: De Moura, N.A.; Caetano, B.F.R.; Sivieri, K.; Urbano, L.H.; Cabello, C.; Rodrigues, M.A.; Barbisan, L.F. Protective effects of yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) intake on experimental colon carcinogenesis. Food Chem. Toxicol. 2012, 50, 2902–2910
3. On Diabetes (DM)
Due to their low calorie composition and low glycemic index, yacon roots have been recognized as an innocuous food source for diabetes treatment.
FOS can promote glucose absorption in peripheral tissues and improve insulin sensitivity via SCFA, due to their anti-inflammatory properties on obese subjects.
Acetate (a SCFA) has been shown to reduce Free Fatty Acids (FFA) plasma levels which are known to cause peripheral insulin resistance in obese individuals, inhibiting glucose uptake.
SCFA also affect glycemic levels through the gut hormone peptide YY (PYY). PYY improves plasma glucose levels after a meal stimulating insulin secretion in the pancreas.
Study 3: Tolhurst, G.; Heffron, H.; Lam, Y.S.; Parker, H.E.; Habib, A.M; Diakogiannaki, E.; Cameron, J.; Grosse, J.; Reimann, F.; Gribble, F.M. Short-chain fatty acids stimulate glucagon-like peptide-1 secretion via the G-protein-coupled receptor FFAR2. Diabetes 2012, 61, 364–371.