microorganismsfructooligosaccharides — Say it 3 times fast!

The important thing to know about FOS is that it is an excellent fuel for one of the major good bacteria found in our gut. FOS is food for bifidobacteria and it is safe to use. Jerusalem artichokes (JAT) are an excellent source of fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Fresh artichokes contain approximately 18-20% solids, of which 70-80% is FOS. Much of commercially available FOS comes from these Jerusalem artichokes.

FOS is not digested and absorbed by humans. While most FOS passes through the body unabsorbed, the principal utilization pathway for the remainder is via metabolism by intestinal microorganisms to form carbon dioxide and organic acids.


Bifidobacteria are most predominant in intestinal flora in infants. (Modler, H.W., BIFIDOGENIC FACTORS). Florajen3 provides this important probiotic. They help digest and metabolize lactose.

Children with high numbers of bifidobacteria resist some infections very well. In fact, the feeding of bifidobacteria-containing dairy products has been used to treat these infections in Japanese children with much success.

Compared to children and adults, the elderly have lower counts of bifidobacteria. As bifidobacteria numbers drop, there is a corresponding increase in the numbers of Clostridium perfringens detected in the elderly. This unfriendly gut organism produces undesirable substances, including toxins and volatile amines. Adults who were fed products containing high level of viable bifidobacteria over a five-week period demonstrated substantial decreases in Clostridium counts as well as an increase in Bifidobacterium counts. FOS has been proven to improve good bacteria levels in the gut.

Bifidobacteria are known to exhibit inhibitory effects on many pathogenic organisms including Salmonella, Shigella, Clostridium, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans, and Campylobacter jejuni.
In the human large intestine, bifidobacteria make vitamins that are slowly absorbed in the body. Bifidobacteria are known to produce thiamine, riboflavin, and vitamins B6 and K.

Bifidobacteria are also believed to have anti-carcinogenic and anti-cholesterol effects.

Intestinal growth of bifidobacteria is not only important for preventing bacterial diseases such as E. coli in infants, but for improving the health of adults, particularly the elderly. In addition, bifidobacteria provide B complex vitamins and stimulate intestinal immunity.
All of the good news about bifidobacteria indicates that we can all benefit by having it in our GI tract. Florajen can put it there so I take it every day. FOS has been shown repeatedly to be an excellent, safe food for the bifidobacteria. Therefore, it makes sense that we should also consume sufficient FOS to keep our good bifidobacteria healthy and thriving. If you don’t have a regular, affordable source of Jerusalem artichokes you might want to consider using a high grade FOS supplement. The Compounder offers FOS as a powder or in a capsule form.