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June 23, 2021
5 min. read

Fiber Supplements: Types and Uses

Medly

Your fiber intake per day should be between 20 to 30 grams. Fiber keeps your stool soft and improves your digestive health. It can also help lower your risk of many serious diseases. Colon cancer is the most obvious of these, but heart disease, stroke, and diabetes can also be prevented with the help of daily fiber intake.

However, if you are like most Americans, you probably only get half of this from the foods you eat everyday. Since you may not be getting your proper dose of fiber daily, incorporating fiber supplements into your daily routine can help you reach the recommended amounts. What are fiber supplements, and how can they help you improve your health?

Fiber

Why is Fiber Good for You?

Before adding fiber supplements to your diet, it is a good idea to know why fiber is important. Aside from minimizing digestive problems, fiber may help lower cholesterol and prevent many types of diseases. Another good reason that fiber is good for you is that it keeps you from overeating which can help with weight loss.

In addition, fiber can keep your gut lining intact by keeping harmful bacteria and pathogens out. A healthy gut improves the immune system and overall health. Other benefits from fiber are improved sleep, better mood, heart health, and brain health.

Types of Fiber

There are many ways for the body to get fiber. You can consume fiber naturally in soluble, insoluble and inulin forms. Below is more about the various types of fiber.

Soluble fiber Soluble fiber dissolves in water and includes plant pectin and gums. This type of fiber reduces blood cholesterol and can control glucose levels which reduce the risk of diabetes.

The following are common sources of soluble fiber:

  • oatmeal
  • flax seed
  • barley
  • dried peas
  • oranges
  • apples
  • carrots
  • beans

fiber supplement

Insoluble Fiber This type of fiber does not dissolve in water. However, it does attract water to your stool which minimizes strain on your bowels. Likewise, it, too, can minimize the risks for diabetes similar to soluble fiber.

Insoluble fiber sources include the following:

  • seeds
  • nuts
  • dark green leafy vegetables
  • wheat bran
  • brown rice
  • Bulgar

Inulin Fiber Inulin is a type of fiber that is found in certain plant foods. Unfortunately, this type of fiber isn’t absorbed well by the small intestine.

Inulin fiber is typically in the following types of foods:

  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Burdock
  • Chicory
  • Dandelion root
  • Garlic
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Leeks
  • Onions

In like manner, this type of fiber is as helpful as soluble and insoluble fiber. However, the drawback is that it causes bloating, gas, and other abdominal discomforts.

What are fiber supplements?

Since the best sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, and nuts, it would be best to increase these items in your diet. However, if you aren’t a fan of such foods or cannot get enough of them into your diet regularly, it is best to use supplements.

Getting your daily dose of required fiber intake will help minimize digestive problems such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, or other digestive issues. Fiber supplements are like the fiber found in foods. The only difference is that they come in the form of powder, liquid, tablets, or capsules.

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Most supplements on the market are good. However, the problems arise with many of these supplements from the additional ingredients included in them. You should make sure that you read the ingredients of the supplements carefully to minimize allergic reactions or other problems from taking supplements.

In addition, if you are taking certain medications from your doctor, be sure that these ingredients don’t affect your required medications. Here are the most common supplements on the market followed by the type of fiber included in each:

  • Citrucel – Methylcellulose fiber
  • Fiberall – Psyllium
  • FiberCon Caplets - Calcium Polycarbophil
  • Hydrocil Instant – Psyllium
  • Konsyl – Psyllium
  • Metamucil – Psyllium
  • Perdiem – Psyllium
  • Unifiber – Cellulose fiber

There are many other types of fiber supplements from which to choose. If you can’t do powders or pills, there are even chewable, gummy forms of fiber available. The most important thing to remember is to make sure you are drinking plenty of water when adding them to your diet. Also, some people may be allergic to Psyllium or may experience side effects from its use. In this case, you may have to use a fiber supplement that doesn’t contain this ingredient.

How much fiber do you need?

Fiber intake should be a family affair. You, your significant other, and your children should make the added effort to get enough fiber in your diet daily. Women should get about 25 grams and men should aim for about 38 grams per day. Children should also get daily fiber. A 5-year-old should get between 10 and 15 grams, and a 10-year-old should get between 15 and 20 grams. Teens should aim for between 20 and 25 grams.

Including whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds in your diet will improve you and your family’s daily fiber intake. Keep in mind that you may have to add a daily supplement to meet your daily fiber intake. Whether you get your fiber from foods or supplements, you should make sure that you are drinking plenty of water to avoid constipation. In addition to drinking more water, increase the intake of fiber at small intervals to minimize digestive problems such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea.

How much is TOO much fiber?

There are many great things about fiber. It keeps you regular by moving food out of you much more quickly. Additionally, fiber can help you absorb proper nutrition from foods. Fiber may even prevent colon cancer, breast cancer, and some autoimmune diseases.
Despite all these great things about fiber, too much fiber can be harmful. If you take in excessive amounts of fiber – 70 grams or more per day – then you may risk having side effects. These include bloating, gas, nausea, dehydration, constipation, and more.

In short, fiber is great for your diet. Natural sources of fiber are best. However, if you can’t get enough fiber from your foods daily, incorporating supplements will help keep your digestion functioning properly. Fiber supplements are a simple, inexpensive, low-effort way to help prevent disease.

References Nutrition and healthy eating How Fiber Improves Gut Health Make the Best Use of Fiber Supplements

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