The extract from roasted chicory (Cichorium intybus L.; jú jù) root (chicory root extract), which contains inulin-type fructans, has favorable effects including antihyperglycemic and antidyslipidemic effects and the improvement of bowel movement. In this study, we examined the effects of chicory root extract on blood glucose, lipid metabolism, and fecal properties in 47 healthy adult participants in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. The participants were divided into a test group that drank chicory root extract and a placebo group that drank nonchicory root extract (ingesting 300 mL daily for 4 weeks). We performed hematological examinations and body composition measurements, and administered a visual analog scale (VAS) questionnaire for fecal properties at the baseline (Week 0) and after the intervention (Week 4) for the two groups. Although no significant differences in fasting plasma glucose or insulin were observed, hemoglobin A1c was found to decrease by ingesting chicory root extract. No intergroup differences in the levels of lipid metabolism parameters were observed. However, the level of adiponectin was significantly improved in the chicory root extract group when the baseline and postintervention values were compared. In addition, chicory root extract tends to improve the VAS score for fecal properties. These results suggest that chicory root extract could delay or prevent the early onset of diabetes mellitus and improve bowel movements.
Keywords: Hemoglobin A1c; fecal property; glucose metabolism; lipid metabolism; roasted chicory root extract.