Gastrointestinal tolerance and utilization of agave inulin by healthy adults

Food Funct. 2014 Jun;5(6):1142-9. doi: 10.1039/c3fo60666j. Epub 2014 Mar 25.


Little clinical research exists on agave inulin as a fiber source. Due to differences in botanical origin and chemical structure compared to other inulin-type fibers, research is needed to assess gastrointestinal (GI) tolerance following consumption. This study aimed to evaluate GI tolerance and utilization of 5.0 and 7.5 g per day of agave inulin in healthy adults (n = 29) using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial consisting of three 21 day periods with 1 week washouts among periods. GI tolerance was assessed via daily and weekly questionnaires, three fecal samples were collected on days 16-20 of each period, and breath hydrogen testing was completed on the final day of each treatment period. Survey data were compared using a generalized linear mixed model. All other outcomes were analyzed using a mixed linear model with a repeated measures procedure. Composite GI intolerance scores for 5.0 and 7.5 g treatments were both greater (P < 0.05) than control, however, scores were low, with means of 0.4, 1.9, and 2.3 on a 0-12 point composite scale for 0, 5.0, and 7.5 g treatments, respectively. There were slight increases (P < 0.05) in bloating, flatulence, and rumbling frequency with 5.0 and 7.5 g agave inulin. Abdominal pain and rumbling intensity were marginally greater (P < 0.05) with 7.5 g. Bloating and flatulence intensity increased (P < 0.05) with 5.0 g and 7.5 g. Agave inulin did not affect diarrhea (P > 0.05). Number of bowel movements per day increased, stools were softer, and stool dry matter percentage was lower with 7.5 g (P < 0.05). Breath hydrogen concentrations increased (P < 0.001) from 5-8 hour postprandial when participants consumed agave inulin compared to control. These data demonstrate that doses up to 7.5 g per day of agave inulin led to minimal GI upset, do not increase diarrhea, and improve laxation in healthy young adults.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Agave / chemistry*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Defecation / drug effects
  • Diet Records
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fiber / adverse effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Female
  • Flatulence / etiology
  • Flatulence / physiopathology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / drug effects*
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Inulin / administration & dosage*
  • Inulin / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Inulin