Which fiber supplement is best?
The average American only consumes half of the recommended daily dose of dietary fiber. The benefits of fiber are well documented: it relieves constipation, aids weight loss, maintains healthy levels of blood sugar, lowers cholesterol and even reduces the risk of some cancers.
With all these vital health benefits, many people still struggle to get enough fiber in their daily diet. Fiber supplements, both powder and capsule, are an easy way to increase daily fiber. For a boost of natural fiber plus the benefits of other superfoods, the top fiber supplement is Garden of Life Raw Organic Fiber.
What to know before you buy a fiber supplement
Fiber is a broad descriptor, but it is important to know the difference between two types of fiber.
- Soluble fiber absorbs water in the body and slows the digestive tract. This can regulate blood sugar and help people with irritable bowel syndrome and frequent diarrhea. Soluble fiber sources include apples, oranges, carrots, flaxseed and oatmeal.
- Insoluble fiber does not absorb water, so it speeds up the digestive system with dense foods that bulk up the stool, such as wheat bran, seeds, nuts and leafy greens. Insoluble fiber is ideal for people struggling with constipation.
Not all four ingredients are in each fiber supplement, but it is helpful to understand the benefits and cautions of each ingredient as you explore your options.
- Methylcellulose is a soluble fiber that comes from plant cellulose but can only be dissolved in cold drinks.
- Wheat dextrin is another soluble fiber that can be dissolved in both cold or hot drinks. Despite being made from wheat, it often meets the benchmark for consumers needing gluten-free supplements.
- Inulin is a third type of soluble fiber that includes prebiotics, which are healthy bacteria that already live in the digestive tract. Inulin can cause gas, so not everyone prefers it.
- Psyllium, made from seed husks, is both insoluble and soluble, so there are multiple benefits. It has been known to cause gas and bloating, though, so users should start with lower doses to see how well it is tolerated.
While some effects aren’t noticeable, there are several ways to tell that a fiber supplement is doing its job. According to the Mayo Clinic, you may initially experience stomach upset and gas that improves over time. With regular use, your digestive issues may start to clear up. Adding fiber to your diet will also help you stay regular.
The time range of these effects varies, but they’re typically noticeable within 12 hours to three days of taking your new fiber supplement.
What to look for in a quality fiber supplement
Powder or capsule
- Powder is the easiest form to take fiber. It must be mixed with water or other beverages. Look for powders that dissolve quickly and do not have an aftertaste.
- Capsules are easy to transport and require less work. Keep in mind that to get the recommended daily dosage, you may need multiple pills per serving .
Some manufacturers of fiber gummies have emerged recently, offering a tasty alternative to powder and capsules.
Many fiber supplements contain a modest level of sugar or artificial sweetener. This does not affect fiber’s overall beneficial properties, but you should identify the amount of sugar in a supplement to make sure it is not higher than your preference. Most artificial sweeteners have been deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but there are some who consider them a health risk.
Also look for fiber supplements that are free of gluten, genetically modified organisms, soy and other potential allergens. Many fiber supplements are also vegan and keto-friendly.
Minimal gas and bloating
If you are new to using fiber supplements, there may be an initial period of gas and bloating that should subside as your body adjusts. If the supplement you’re taking causes severe gas and bloating, stop immediately and consider a lower dosage or different brand.
How much you can expect to spend on a fiber supplement
They typically cost $10-$30. Most of the ingredients are the same, so if you want to look for the best deal, divide the price by the number of servings to determine the per-serving cost.
Fiber supplement FAQ
What are the best food sources of fiber?
A. Getting fiber from your diet is the best source. Apples, oranges, carrots and peas are excellent fruit and vegetable sources. Wheat bran and whole grains are popular choices. Oats, seeds and leafy greens are also important fiber sources.
Are there any precautions to follow before taking a fiber supplement?
A. Fiber supplements are helpful for most people. However, some conditions can be aggravated by taking more fiber. The Mayo Clinic advises those with bowel diseases, past blockages or intestinal issues to check with their doctor before taking a fiber supplement. Additionally, it’s a good idea to consult a health care professional first if you have diabetes, are pregnant or are taking medications.
How much fiber do you need?
A. The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests that men consume 30 grams of daily fiber. Women should consume 25 grams every day.
What’s the best fiber supplement to buy?
Top fiber supplement
What you need to know: This fiber supplement also contains probiotics, protein and omega-3 fatty acids to support overall health.
What you’ll love: Supporting digestive health and eliminating toxins, this supplement is made from 15 superfoods in addition to 9 grams of vegan fiber. It is USDA-certified and free of gluten, dairy, psyllium and preservatives.
What you should consider: It has a sand-like texture that can take time to get used to.
Top fiber supplement for the money
What you need to know: This bite-size fiber supplement is loaded with fiber and offers flavor that encourages adults and kids to increase their daily intake.
What you’ll love: Each gummy has 3 grams of fiber and comes in three fruity flavors. There is no added sugar; instead, the gummies use a natural sweetener. Gummies are non-GMO and primarily made from chicory root, a short-chain soluble fiber.
What you should consider: Results can take a long time. The gummies’ natural sweetener, xylitol, can cause gas or diarrhea in high doses.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This affordable fiber supplement comes in easy-to-swallow capsules made from natural soluble fiber.
What you’ll love: Most users have positive results. It is made in the U.S. from a trusted family brand that has been around for over 50 years. The fiber capsules are vegan, kosher, non-GMO, gluten- and soy-free, and keto-friendly.
What you should consider: Psyllium can cause an upset stomach in a small number of consumers.
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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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