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Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and Other Oligosaccharides

Also indexed as:FOS, FOS (Fructo-oligosacaridos), Fructo-oligosacaridos
Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and Other Oligosaccharides: Main Image

The term "oligosaccharide" refers to a short chain of sugar molecules ("oligo" means "few" and "saccharide" means "sugar.") Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin, which are found in many vegetables, consist of short chains of fructose molecules. Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), which also occur naturally, consist of short chains of galactose molecules. These compounds can be only partially digested by humans.1, 2, 3, 4 When oligosaccharides are consumed, the undigested portion serves as food for "friendly" bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus species.

  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary "Star-Rating" system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for AmountWhy
Eczema

(Galacto-oligosaccharides)
90% galacto-oligosaccharides and 10% fructo-oligosaccharides mixture added daily to infant formula 2 stars[2 stars]
In one study, adding a mixture of 90% galacto-oligosaccharides and 10% fructo-oligosaccharides to infant formula prevented the development of eczema in babies who were at high risk of developing eczema.
High Triglycerides
8 to 20 grams daily2 stars[2 stars]
Several trials have shown that FOS supplementation lowers triglycerides in people with elevated levels.
Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity
5 grams per day 1 star[1 star]
Supplementing with fructo-oligosaccharides may help relieve abdominal discomfort, fullness, constipation, urgency, and diarrhea.
Pre- and Post-Surgery Health
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Supplementing with fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) appears to improve iron absorption and restore iron levels, which may be reduced after surgery.
Type 2 Diabetes
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
In one trial, supplementing with fructo-oligosaccharides significantly lowered fasting blood-sugar levels and serum total-cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.