FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides) are polymers of glucose and fructose. They are present in asparagus, artichoke, banana, wheat and garlic.
FOS are not absorbed by the intestine. They are so-called "fermentable" dietary fibres considered as prebiotics, which means that they are broken down by the bacteria of the microbiota and promote their growth.
Fructo-oligosaccharides are one of the best sources of prebiotics. FOS are metabolized by bifidobacteria and help regulate intestinal transit. Fermentation of these fibres leads to the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), mainly propionate, acetate and butyrate.
These fatty acids are an important source of energy for our body and are quickly absorbed by the colon. They participate in the renewal of the parietal cells in the intestine.
According to studies, butyrate and propionate increase insulin sensitivity, especially in the case of type 2 diabetes. These two AGCCs are also responsible for the decrease in the absorption of sugar by the intestinal cells. Butyrate also appears to be involved in the prevention of inflammatory diseases (Canani et al., 2011) because it stimulates the production of regulatory T-cells in the intestinal mucosa.
By breaking down dietary fibre, the colonic microbiota releases vitamins and minerals that are transported to the colon. These molecules possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are accessible to the host.
For all these reasons, let's act now to take care of our microbiota!
- Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are prebiotic fibres that contribute to the proper functioning of the intestinal microbiota.
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