Chicory: Understanding the Effects and Effectors of This Functional Food

Nutrients. 2022 Feb 23;14(5):957. doi: 10.3390/nu14050957.


Industrial chicory has been the subject of numerous studies, most of which provide clinical observations on its health effects. Whether it is the roasted root, the flour obtained from the roots or the different classes of molecules that enter into the composition of this plant, understanding the molecular mechanisms of action on the human organism remains incomplete. In this study, we were interested in three molecules or classes of molecules present in chicory root: fructose, chlorogenic acids, and sesquiterpene lactones. We conducted experiments on the murine model and performed a nutrigenomic analysis, a metabolic hormone assay and a gut microbiota analysis, associated with in vitro observations for different responses. We have highlighted a large number of effects of all these classes of molecules that suggest a pro-apoptotic activity, an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic effect and also an important role in appetite regulation. A significant prebiotic activity was also identified. Fructose seems to be the most involved in these activities, contributing to approximately 83% of recorded responses, but the other classes of tested molecules have shown a specific role for these different effects, with an estimated contribution of 23-24%.

Keywords: chicory; gut microbiota; hormone assay; in vitro apoptosis; in vitro pro-inflammatory cytokines; transcriptomics.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / metabolism
  • Chlorogenic Acid / metabolism
  • Cichorium intybus* / metabolism
  • Functional Food
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Prebiotics / analysis


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Prebiotics
  • Chlorogenic Acid