Polydextrose is made up of sugars linked in chains. It is made in laboratories. People use these sugar chains in food and as medicine.
Polydextrose is taken by mouth for scaly, itchy skin (eczema), diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance (prediabetes), infant development, and as a prebiotic.
In foods, polydextrose is used as a sweetener and to improve the texture of foods.
How does it work?
Polydextrose passes undigested into the colon where it can increase bowel mass and possibly promote growth of certain bacteria that are thought to be beneficial.
Possibly Ineffective for...
- Infant development. Research shows that adding polydextrose along with other prebiotics to infant formula does not affect how quickly a healthy infant gains weight or increases in length.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Scaly, itchy skin (eczema). Some research shows that feeding infants at risk for allergy a formula containing 8 grams/L of a prebiotic mixture that includes polydextrose increases the risk of developing eczema by 11% compared to control formula. However, other research shows that feeding similar infants a formula containing 4 grams/L of a prebiotic mixture including polydextrose does not affect the risk of developing eczema.
- Diabetes. Early research shows that drinking a beverage containing polydextrose twice daily for 12 weeks does not affect blood sugar control in people with diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance (prediabetes), or impair fasting glucose.
- Impaired glucose tolerance (prediabetes). Early research shows that drinking a beverage containing polydextrose twice daily for 12 weeks does not affect blood sugar control in people with diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance (prediabetes), or impair fasting glucose.
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Polydextrose is LIKELY SAFE when used as a food additive, provided a serving contains less than 15 grams of polydextrose.
Polydextrose is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in doses of less than 50 grams per day. Polydextrose can cause intestinal gas (flatulence), bloating, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
Polydextrose is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in single doses of more than 50 grams or in daily doses of more than 90 grams. High doses of polydextrose might cause severe diarrhea.
Children: Polydextrose is POSSIBLY SAFE for infants when added to formula at concentrations of approximately 2-4 grams/L.
The appropriate dose of polydextrose depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for polydextrose. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
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