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Fiber is a type of complex carbohydrate that the human body cannot digest. It has numerous benefits for human health. People usually get fiber from food, but people can also take fiber supplements.
Many foods contain fiber, but especially good sources of fiber include:
- whole grains
There are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Both types of fiber can benefit human health.
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, and this helps food pass through the digestive system. Insoluble fiber can help promote regular bowel movements. Foods such as brown rice, legumes, and cucumbers contain insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber does dissolve in water. This type of fiber can help lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol. Foods such as oatmeal, lentils, blueberries, and apples contain soluble fiber.
Both types of fiber can help with bowel regularity, but they may also provide health benefits for people who have or have a risk of developing, the following conditions:
Fiber may also aid weight loss. A 2011 study from the British Journal of Nutrition found that fiber supplements, particularly in combination with a healthful diet, promoted weight loss, a decrease in BMI, and a decrease in body fat after 12 weeks.
Fiber also provides the body with prebiotics. Prebiotics are substances that feed the “good” bacteria in the gut.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the recommended daily fiber intake per day is 20–30 grams (g). However, many people in the United States only consume around 15 g. A fiber supplement may help people who find it difficult to eat more fiber. However, fiber supplements are not a substitute for a balanced diet.
Here we look at some of the best fiber supplements. Please note that the author of this article has not tried these products.
Benefiber is a 100% natural fiber supplement made from wheat dextrin. Wheat dextrin is an extract from wheat starch and is a type of soluble fiber.
Benefiber Original is:
People can add 2 teaspoons (tsp) of Benefiber into 4–8 oz of fluid 3 times a day. People can also buy Benefiber in premeasured single-serve sachets. This may make it easier for people to take with them if they are going to work or somewhere else.
Garden of Life Raw Organic Fiber
Garden of Life Raw Organic Fiber is a natural and organic fiber supplement. According to the product website, the supplement can help:
- relieve occasional constipation
- support a healthy balance of gut flora
- maintain regular bowel movements
- support heart health
- maintain healthy blood sugar
- keep cholesterol levels within an already healthy range
This fiber supplement contains organic:
- flaxseed meal and sprout
- amaranth sprout
- quinoa sprout
- chia seeds and sprout
- millet sprout
- buckwheat sprout
- garbanzo bean sprout
- lentil sprout
- adzuki bean sprout
- sunflower seed sprout
- pumpkin seed sprout
- sesame seed sprout
- coconut flour
- Bacillus coagulans
- raw organic stevia (leaf)
The product is:
- suitable for a vegan, paleo, or keto diet
It also contains ingredients that may benefit the gut and overall health, including probiotic bacteria and omega-3 fatty acids.
Garden of Life Raw Organic Fiber contains no psyllium, so it may be a suitable option for those sensitive or allergic to psyllium.
Heather’s Tummy Fiber Acacia Senegal Pouch
Heather’s Tummy Fiber Acacia Senegal Pouch is a soluble fiber supplement that contains organic acacia powder, or gum arabic. According to the product website, the supplement:
- increases beneficial gut flora
- will not cause, and may decrease, bloating and gas
- is safe for children and daily, lifelong use
The product website recommend that people begin by taking a small dose of this product and gradually increasing the dosage over time. This may help to ease any digestive discomfort that may occur from a sudden increase in fiber.
Fibercon may help to relieve constipation and help maintain regular bowel movements. According to the product label, people will usually have a bowel movement 12–72 hours after taking Fibercon.
Fibercon contains calcium polycarbophil (CPC), a synthetic compound that acts as a bulk-forming laxative in the body. CPC absorbs water and travels through the body undigested, adding bulk and moisture to stools.
Fibercon’s inactive ingredients include:
- magnesium stearate
- microcrystalline cellulose
- polyethylene glycol
- silicon dioxide
- sodium lauryl sulfate
Fibercon contains no chemical stimulants or preservatives. People should not take this product for longer than 7 days without consulting a doctor.
Fibercon comes with a choking warning. People will need to take each dose with 8 oz of water, and avoid taking the product if people have any difficulty swallowing.
Metamucil Sugar-Free Orange Smooth Powder
Metamucil Sugar-Free Orange Smooth Powder is a gluten-free, orange flavor powder, containing psyllium husk fiber. People can add 1–2 tsp of powder to 8 oz of water. Taking the product without enough fluid may cause choking.
- psyllium husk
- citric acid
- natural and artificial orange flavor
- yellow 6
According to the product website, and data collected from a Metamucil survey of 291 people using their products, the supplement can help:
- control appetite
- maintain healthy blood sugar
- lower cholesterol
A 2011 study found that adding a psyllium husk supplement to a high-fiber diet helped reduce body fat, cholesterol, and insulin levels in overweight adults.
However, Metamucil does contain psyllium, so anyone with an allergy or sensitivity to psyllium should avoid the product.
Vitafusion Fiber Well Fit Gummies
Vitafusion Fiber Well Fit Gummy Vitamins may be a good fiber option for people who have difficulty swallowing powders or caplets. The gummies are sugar- and gluten-free with natural peach, strawberry, and berry flavors.
The gummies contain gelatin, so it may not be suitable for vegetarians or vegans. Vitafusion Fiber Well Fit Gummies also contain:
- less than 2% blend of oils (coconut, palm, or both) with beeswax or carnauba wax or both
- colors (annatto extract, blueberry and carrot concentrates, purple carrot juice concentrate)
- malic acid
- natural flavors
- tree nuts (coconut)
One serving, which is two gummies, provides 5 g of fiber, alongside six B- vitamins:
According to the product website, the soluble fiber in the gummies helps:
- support gut flora
- support digestive health
- maintain regular bowel movements
Sudden changes to the amount of fiber a person eats can cause digestive symptoms, such as gas and bloating. A person who wants to try a fiber supplement can test out a small amount first and then gradually increase the dosage to avoid side effects.
Fiber does not help everybody with bowel regularity or digestive symptoms. People with digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), may find that their symptoms worsen when they take a fiber supplement. Some types of fiber can irritate the gut lining.
A person with any preexisting condition should consult their doctor before trying a new supplement. According to Benefiber, children under 6 years old, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also check with a doctor before taking a supplement.
Fiber is beneficial for digestive and overall health. Including fiber in the diet can help to feed “good” bacteria in the gut, reduce cholesterol, and stabilize blood sugar levels.
If people are not getting much fiber in their diet, taking a fiber supplement alongside a healthful diet and lifestyle may help ease digestive issues or aid in weight loss.
Adding more water alongside increased fiber intake can also help to reduce constipation. People can aim for 8–9 glasses of water a day.
If digestive issues worsen while taking a fiber supplement, people should stop taking it and consult their doctor.