Yacon root and Yacon syrup have recently been featured in the press, as an impressive pre-biotic, that can help curb cravings and help promote healthy appetite control. In our special report we are going to shed some light on the facts, the research and whether this South American root can really help move the needle of your scales.
First thing you should know is that the Yacon root is a tuber that is typically grown in the northern and central Andes of South America, spanning countries such as Argentina, Colombia, and Peru
The roots possess a somewhat sweet flavor with a resinous texture, commonly attributed to its inulin content. In case you don’t already know, inulin, which is most typically sourced from chicory root, is a type of fiber known as a fructan, but you may have heard it being referred to as a prebiotic.
The component of Yacon root that we are most interested in is its fructooligosaccharide which, besides acting as a potent prebiotic and boosting overall gastrointestinal health, it has also been demonstrated to enhance the absorption of calcium in humans.
Of course, what is most interesting about the fructooligosaccharide content of Yacon root is its potential for application in the fields of weight loss and the treatment of diabetes.
In recent years Yacon root has become increasingly well publicized and researched, sparking a great deal of discussion about the humble tuber.
In this article we’re going to look at some of the scientific data surrounding Yacon root and fructooligosaccharide, including its health benefits and potential side effects, so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not it would make a worthy addition to your own diet.
The Health Benefits of Yacon Root
Yacon Root and Weight Loss
A 2009 study published by Genta et al. in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition in Edinburgh, Scotland set out to examine the potential health benefits of syrup extracted from Yacon root.
Over a period of 120 days, this double-blind placebo-controlled trial took obese and slightly dyslipidemic pre-menopausal women and split them into two active groups; one was administered 0.29g of the syrup per kilogram of body weight per day, and the other was given 0.14g.
The researchers measured the subjects’ anthropometric measurements, blood glucose, calcium, lipid and insulin concentrations, and Homeostasis Model Assessment index at the beginning and end of the 120-day period.
The results were extremely promising, with the research group making the following observations: “Daily intake of yacon syrup produced a significant decrease in body weight, waist circumference and body mass index. Additionally, decrease in fasting serum insulin and Homeostasis Model Assessment index was observed. The consumption of yacon syrup increased defecation frequency and satiety sensation. Fasting glucose and serum lipids were not affected by syrup treatment and the only positive effect was found in serum LDL-cholesterol levels.”
As the researchers concluded, the fructooligosaccharide content of Yacon root syrup resulted in not just net weight loss but a reduction in waist size and body mass index, pointing to a legitimate improvement in overall body composition.
Furthermore, increased bowel movements and satiety point to fructooligosaccharide as being an effective tool in improving overall gastrointestinal health.
Of course, this study used only female subjects, none of which were healthy volunteers, so let’s take a look at another study to see if Yacon root has application in healthy individuals.
Fructooligosaccharide in Healthy Men and Women
Let us now turn our attention to a 2008 placebo-controlled, double-blind study published by Gever et al. in the Journal of Digestion.
In this study, eight healthy males and healthy females – for a total of 16 healthy subjects – were administered with 20g of Yacon root daily, equating to a dose of 6.4g fructooligosaccharide.
The doses were administered in a 2-week crossover fashion, with each period being interrupted by what is referred to as a 2-week wash-out phase, and the researchers were concurrently tasked with monitoring the overall transit time of food through the subjects’ gastrointestinal tracts.
Although bloating has been reported as a fairly common side-effect of Yacon root consumption, the subjects were seen to tolerate the relatively high daily dose of 6.4g fructooligosaccharide surprisingly well when compared with a placebo.
Again, the results of this study are strikingly positive. Not only did the frequency of bowel movements increase in the subjects; the consistency also “showed a tendency for softer stools as assessed by a numerical depicted stool protocol.”
The researchers concluded with the following statement:“Yacon markedly accelerates colonic transit in healthy individuals. Further studies are needed in constipated patients to confirm these preliminary data. Due to the low caloric content of yacon, the root could be a useful treatment in constipated diabetics or obese patients.”
Of course, we are one step ahead of Gever et al. because we have already observed the efficacy of Yacon root in obese subjects in our previous Scottish study!
The Side Effects of Yacon Root and Fructooligosaccharides
Although Yacon root and its extracts are generally considered to be safe for human consumption by the scientific community, there has been one observed case of anaphylaxis subsequent to its ingestion.
For those of you who are unaware, anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening manifestation of allergic reaction, so although this is quite rare it is definitely worth taking into consideration if you do suffer from regular allergic reactions or any other type of autoimmune dysfunction.
The only other possible side effects to consider are those associated with doses much higher than are commonly recommended, manifesting in symptoms such as intestinal pain and diarrhea.
Recommendations for Yacon Root Use
it is recommended that you practice due diligence and begin with a dose that is on the relatively low end of the spectrum. This is especially applicable to those of you who already suffer from any of the aforementioned symptoms.
Other than that, Yacon root and fructooligosaccharide appear to be perfectly safe for everyday consumption.
With its safety and effectiveness clearly demonstrated across a variety of areas of human health, the fructooligosaccharide content of Yacon root definitely looks to be a highly promising candidate for prebiotic of the year, so why not try incorporating some into your own diet!
Where to find the best Yacon Syrup / Root Supplement?
If you want the most effective Yacon and FOS supplementation look no further than Yacon XL.This is an elite yacon root product and a premium source of fructooligosaccharides. The advantage of this Yacon root extract is that you get all the benefits of Yacon syrup without the extra calories, and molasses taste.
Each bottle comes with 60 capsules which can last one to two months depending on whether you take 1 or 2 capsules per day. Yacon XL is vegetarian friendly, made with the purest ingredients, manufactured in the UK with no fillers allowed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yac%C3%B3n  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fructooligosaccharide#Health_benefits  http://www.livestrong.com/article/411828-yacon-root-health-benefits-side-effects/  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19254816  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyslipidemia  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18781073  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2846740/  http://examine.com/supplements/Yacon/#summary11-1