Improves assimilation of
Reduces colon cancer
Used in the treatment of
constipation, diabetes, osteoporosis.
Helps reduce the level of
cholesterol in the blood.
Yacon can be considered as a
food supplement. It is low in calories and fats,
ideal for those following a slimming diet. Helps
in reducing the risks of cardiovascular
arteriosclerosis, specially that associated with
hyper-triglycerides and resistance to insulin,
related to hyper-caloric diets.
Apart from most of the roots
and tubers that store their carbohydrates as
starch, Yacon stores principally
fructo-oligo-sacharides (FOS), a special type of
sugars with highly beneficial attributes for
FOS cannot be directly
digested by the digestive system because we lack
the necessary enzymes to metabolize them. This
means that FOS are sugars that have little
absorbable calories and do not elevate the level
of sugar in the blood, which has converted Yacon
in a potential resource for the dietetic
products market. It is known to be excellent for
hypo-caloric and diabetic diets.
FOS keep the flavor sweet,
are soluble in water and are found almost
exclusively in Yacon.
Different studies conducted
with humans and animals have shown the capacity
of FOS to reduce the level of lipids in the
blood (cholesterol and tri-glycerides) (3)(4).
Improves the assimilation of
Helps reduce the risks of
osteoporosis, because it increases the
bio-availability of calcium. Studies conducted
by Coudray show an increase in the absorption of
calcium between 21% and 34% when 40g of
Fructanes (FOS and inulin) are added to the
diets of 9 healthy men (6).
In 1999, a test conducted in
teenagers (14 to 16) detected a significant
increment in calcium absorption (5)(7).
Other studies show evidence
that FOS consumption produce an increase in the
bone mineral density and the absorption of
calcium in the bones. (8).
It has also been reported
that chronic consumption of FOS reduces loss of
bone mass and of calcium and phosphorous in the
bones. This evidence is linked to parameters
associated to osteoporosis (9).
Reduces the risks of Colon
Studies conducted by the
Universities of Minnesota (USA) and Ulster (UK)
show evidence that oligo-fructanes help the
development of beneficial bacteria that make up
the human intestinal flora, slowing down the
growth of damaging microorganisms and reducing
the population of bacteria that produce toxic
substances in the colon (10). This helps reduce
the risks of colon cancer.
Other studies have shown that
consumption of FOS reduces the risk of
developing precancerous lesions in the colon.
Different studies have revealed that certain
bacteria in the colon, producers of the
metabolites associated with colon cancer are
produced in lesser quantities when FOS is
included in the diet (11)(12)(13)(14).
From the physiologic point of
view, FOS are considered as a food fiber because
they cannot be digested directly by the
digestive system and must be fully fermented in
the colon. This gives relief to gastrointestinal
problems. Other studies conducted in humans have
shown the FOS consumption increases the number
of defecations and the volume of fecal matter;
both parameters linked to a diminution of
constipation (15)(16). Currently, with the
scientific evidence available, it has been
recognized that FOS can generate a mild laxative
effect that could help people with constipation
In the Treatment of Diabetes:
A study demonstrated that FOS
could have a positive effect in Type 2 diabetic
persons: the blood parameters for cholesterol
and glucose improved significantly after the
subjects included FOS in their diets over
several days (4).
In contrast to common sugars
that are absorbed in the thin intestine as
glucose, FOS pass directly to the colon and
ferment there completely until forming fatty
acids. For this reason, FOS have no relation to
high glucose levels in the blood. Thus, the
consumption of FOS is recommended by diverse
companies in the world as a substitute of common
sugar or saccharine.
Another study has shown that
consumption of Yacon roots has a hypoglycemic
effect in clinically healthy subjects. This
means that Yacon roots have an active role in
reducing significantly the post-prandial level
of glucose in the blood (17).
Stimulates the Immune System
There is experimental
evidence that show that FOS can have a
regulating effect in the immune system. The
effect of FOS on the immune system is indirect,
through the stimulation of pre-biotics in the
intestines. Mice fed a supplement of FOS in
their diet are more resistant, even immune, to
systematic infections with certain pathogens
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Útiles del Perú. Junio 1999.
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Medicinales Andinas. Instituto Interamericano de
Ciencias Agrícolas Zona Andina.
Lima – Perú.
L.L.Bauer, G.C. Fahey, A.J.C.L. Hogarth, B.W.
Wolf, and D.E. Hunter. 1997. Selected
Fructooligosac-charide (1-Kestose, Nystose, and
1 F-beta-fructo-furanosylnystose) composition of
foods and feeds. J. Ag. Food Chem. 45:
Kawai & M Itakura, 1984 – Effect of
fructooligosaccharides on blood glucose and
serum lipids in diabetic subjects. Nutrition
Research 4: 961 – 966
Asp NG, Bruce A, Roos S, Wadström T & AE Wold,
2001 – Health effects of probiotics and
prebiotics. A literature review on human
studies. Scandinavian Journal of Nutrition 45:
58 – 75.
Bellanger J, Castiglia-Delavaud C, Rémésy C,
Vermorel M & Y Rayssignuier, 1997 – Effect of
soluble and partly soluble dietary fibres
supplementation on absorption and balance of
calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc in health
young men – European Journal Of Clinical
Nutrition 51: 375 – 380.
Heuvel EG, Muys T, Van Dokkum W & G Schaafsma,
1999 – Oligofructose stimulates calcium
absorption in adolescents – American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition 69: 544 – 548
(8)… Takahara S,
Morohashi T, Sano T. Ohta A, Yamada S & R Sasa,
2000 – Fructooligosaccharide consumption
enhances femoral bone volume and mineral
concentrations in rats (research communication)
– Journal of Nutrition 130: 1792 – 1795
(9)… Ohta A,
Ohtsuki M, Hosono A, Adachi T, Hara H & T
Sakata, 1998 – Dietary fructooligosaccharides
prevent osteopenia after gastrectomy in rats –
Journal of Nutrition 128: 106 – 110.
1996. Use of Inulin as a Natural Textura
Modifier. Cereal Food World 41: 792-79
(11)… Koo M & V
Rao, 1991 – Long term effect of bifidobacteria
and neosugar on precursor lesions of colonic
cancer in mice – Nutrition and Cancer 16: 249 –
Hamid & CV Rao, 1997 – Effect of dietary
oligofructose and inulin on colonic
preneoplastic aberrant crypt foci inhibition –
Carcinogenesis 18: 1371 – 1374.
Rummey CJ, Coutts JT & LC Lievense, 1988 –
Effect of bifidobacterium longum and inulin on
gut bacterial metabolism and carcinogen-induced
aberrant crypt foci in rats – Carcinogenesis 19:
KK, Jillian BD & RK Buddington, 2002 – Dietary
oligofructose and inulin protect mice from
enteric and systemic pathogens and tumor
inducers – Journal of Nutrion 132: 472-477.
Hautvast JG, Nagengast FM, Hartemink R, Van
Laere KM & JB Jansen, 1996 - Fate of
fructooligosaccharides in the human intestine –
British Journal of Nutrition 76: 211 – 221.
Sykura B, Zunft HJ & M Blaut, 1997 – Effects of
inulin and lactose on fecal microflora,
microbial activity, and bowel habit in elderly
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– II Simposio Latinoamericano de Raíces y
Tubérculos: guía del participante, 28-30 / 11 /
2001 – Centro Internacional de la Papa (CIP),
Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (UNALM),
Lima, Perú, np.