Chicory comes from the plant Cichorium intybus. Chicory root has been used in human food for years. Nowadays it is more and more used for pet food, where the claim is that it can help to improve health by promoting the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria in the gastrointestinal system.
Co-products from the chicory root contain Inulin. Inulin is a nutrient with positive effects on intestinal health. Inulin is a soluble fiber and has a prebiotic effect in the colon. It arrives almost intact in the colon and serves as a nutrient for bacteria that positively influence the intestinal flora. In particular, the growth of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli is stimulated which results a good intestinal health. By the fermentation of the inulin, organic acids are formed in the colon. This causes a pH reduction in the intestine and prevents growth of pathogenic bacteria, such as E. Coli. Because inulin is not digested in the small intestine it doesn’t affect the blood sugar level and can also be used in feed for diabetic animals.
Recent article in PETS International shows the proven health benefits of Inulin in petfood. To read the full article click here.