Fiber foods

Are you getting enough fiber? How to know if you should take a fiber supplement

  • Fiber supplements can help you reach your recommended daily dose fiber intake of 28-35 grams.
  • Fiber supplements can relieve constipation, improve bowel healthand may even help you lose weight.
  • The best fiber supplements for constipation are those that consist primarily of insoluble fiber.

Getting adequate amounts of fiber is essential for overall health because it can normalize bowel movementsmanage weight, and improve heart health. However, only 5% of Americans get enough fiber – 25 grams a day for women and 38 grams for men.

While dieticians recommend eating fiber through a diet high in Fruits and vegetablesand whole grains, you can also boost your fiber intake with a fiber supplement. Fiber supplements come in many forms, including capsules, gummies, powders, or even crackers.

Here’s what to know when buying the right fiber supplement and some side effects that may be unavoidable, depending on your choice.

What is the best fiber supplement for you?

When shopping for fiber supplements, it’s important to note that there are two types of fiber you may see: soluble and insoluble.

Types of fibers

  • Soluble fibre: Soluble fiber helps maintain blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It also creates a gel-like substance in the colon that can improve digestion.
  • Insoluble fibre: Insoluble fiber increases stool bulk, which helps it move through the digestive tract, making it easier constipation.

You can buy supplements that contain one or both types. Some examples of fiber supplements include:

  • metamucil: Contains soluble and insoluble fibers
  • Konsil: Contains soluble and insoluble fibers
  • Citrucel (methylcellulose): Contains mainly insoluble fiber
  • Beneficiary: Contains mainly soluble fiber
  • FibreCon: Contains mainly soluble fiber

To note: Fiber supplements containing mainly insoluble fiber are best for constipation and soluble fiber supplements are more likely to cause gas and bloating.

Most people who takes fiber supplements treat a digestive condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) Where inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). If you’re considering taking a fiber supplement, talk to your doctor to determine the type and amount that’s right for you.

Benefits of fiber supplements

Both soluble and insoluble fiber have a myriad of health benefits. For example, a 2021 review over 41 studies found that fiber supplements have laxative-like effects, adding bulk to stools, thereby reducing chronic constipation.

“Fiber can also aid in weight loss efforts alongside healthy lifestyle changes, such as a nutritious diet and exercise,” says Disha NarangMD, board-certified endocrinologist at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forestry Hospital.

To note: Although it’s best to get your fiber from whole foods, as they contain other beneficial vitamins and minerals like vitamin B6, the ironand calciumyou may want to choose a fiber supplement to increase your intake.

here are four more benefits of getting enough fiber:

  1. Maintain good health intestine
  2. Reduced blood sugar spikes
  3. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular illnesses
  4. Reduces the risk of colorectal and other digestive cancers

Fiber Supplement Side Effects

If your body isn’t used to getting enough fiber, taking a supplement can upset your digestion, causing some unpleasant side effects. Here’s what to expect as your body adjusts to get enough fiber:

Also, if you take too much lots of fiber (via supplements or food), you can increase the duration and severity of the above symptoms, says Kari Pittsdietitian at Preg Appetite.

This is why it is important to follow the instructions on the supplement’s label. You may even want to consume less than the recommended dose and increase gradually.

Although a tolerable upper intake level for fiber has not yet been set, experts recommend taking 25 to 38 grams per day.

Important: “Most fiber supplements are safe to take daily. Although there is no specific time of day to take them, it is important to take each dose with a glass of water to stay hydrated,” says Pitts. Because fiber absorbs waterthis will allow him to efficiently evacuate stools and food.

Narang says you should consult a health care provider before taking a fiber supplement if you have any of the following conditions:

  • An intestinal obstruction
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Other gastrointestinal problems, such as bloating or chronic diarrhea.

Insider’s Takeaways

Fiber offers a variety of benefits, including improving digestion and aiding weight loss. Although it is recommended that you meet your dietary fiber needs by eating plant-based, fibrous foods, fiber supplements can help you meet your recommended daily intake. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if fiber supplements are right for you.

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