Fiber Supplement

When choosing a particular fiber supplement, there are several things to consider. This article aims to provide an overview of some of these considerations to help provide you with a balanced fiber diet. Please remember that any fiber supplement, as with any fitness supplement, should not be taken in large doses particularly when starting out. Also, a higher fiber diet requires you to drink lots of water. For most people an amount of 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day is recommended.

Psyllium Fiber

There are many different types of fibers found in the various brands of fiber supplement. Probably the most common fiber would be psyllium. Psyllium, is a seed native to Iran and India where it is used in traditional herbal medicine to treat constipation. It is found in the Metamucil and Konsyl products. Psyllium works by breaking down in the stomach becoming in the process a source of food for the good bacteria that resides there. It is suggested that psyllium could also lower cholesterol levels by significantly, but it contains calories that can cause gas.

Citrucel Fiber

Another constituent for many a fiber supplement is methylcellulose (as found in the Citrucel fiber product). Citrucel is not absorbed in the intestine but absorbs water to help constipation, as does psyllium. It can be taken in the form of capsules, wafers or tablets and also in granular and powder form. Citrucel can also be used to treat diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea and, unlike psyllium, is unlikely to cause gas as it does not ferment.

Other Fiber Supplements

Polycarbophil is another fiber supplement created from plants. As with psyllium and Citrucel it can be used to treat constipation irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis. There are other supplements but choosing a particular fiber supplement may be a process of trial and error until you find one that is suitable for you

All of these fiber supplements contain soluble fiber. This means that they absorb water and so aid the transfer of food through the digestive system. Soluble fiber supplement can be more helpful than insoluble fiber in easing the suffering caused by irritable bowel syndrome. Having said this, in terms of all round health it is important to have a balance between soluble and insoluble fibers.

Fiber Supplement and Flavouring

Many brands of fiber supplement have added flavor to make them taste better. Many contain orange flavoring although Citrucel comes in a clear mix without flavoring so it can be mixed with any drink. Psyllium and Citrucel products can also contain sweeteners which may exacerbate irritable bowel symptoms, so always check labels. Sometimes you may find that a given fiber supplement also contains a mild laxative. If taken ovber the long term these products could be harmful.

Disclaimer: If you are in any doubt about any fiber supplement you are thinking about taking, or are currently taking, you should consult your doctor or a qualified health professional. Any food supplement (such as protein or iron supplement) can assist your diet but they should not be used to replace the healthy foods your body needs to maintain a state of good health.