Fiber/Bran Supplements (39)
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Many Americans only get about half amount of the daily fiber they need. Fiber supplements fill that gap, supporting digestive health and comfort and easing constipation and diarrhea.** In addition, Fiber supplements can:

Read more about Fiber/Bran Supplements

What is Fiber?

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in plant-based foods that the body cannot break down during digestion. Because of this quality, fiber serves as a “cleanser” in the digestive system, including the colon. Fiber supplements are most commonly taken to help with digestive issues, especially constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowels, and hemorrhoids. Fiber supplements have long been recommended as a safe, natural and gentle way to promote consistent, comfortable bowel movements.**

There are two varieties of fiber: soluble and insoluble. In water, the soluble form dissolves, forming a gel-like substance that slows down digestion. The insoluble form does not dissolve in water; instead it absorbs water like a sponge and swells in the stomach. This contributes mass to waste, encouraging regular, comfortable bowel movements. Both forms can promote satiety, the feeling of fullness – making fiber a useful weight management tool for dieters.**

While fiber is famous for its digestive benefits, it is also extremely important for supporting cardiovascular support. High intake is associated with circulatory wellness, with studies indicating that it helps to maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Fiber supplements may also aid in mediating inflammation and upholding ideal blood pressure, which are also key aspects of overall cardiovascular health.**

The Food and Drug Administration has approved some health claims for fiber supplements, including the following: “Soluble fiber from foods such as [name of soluble fiber source, and, if desired, name of food product], as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. A serving of [name of food product] supplies __ grams of the [necessary daily dietary intake for the benefit] soluble fiber from [name of soluble fiber source] necessary per day to have this effect.” 

Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are typically high in fiber. While the adult Dietary Reference Intakes are approximately 25 to 40 grams daily, the average American often only gets 15 grams per day. Fiber supplements are an excellent alternate source of roughage that can increase fiber intake. Among the most popular fiber supplements are:**

  • Psyllium: Psyllium seed husks are rich in soluble fiber that soaks up water and slows digestion, creating a colon-cleansing effect and a feeling of satiety. Research indicates that psyllium also promotes healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as well as supporting overall cardiovascular wellness.**
  • Chitosan: A polysaccharide derived from shellfish, chitosan is a significant source of fiber. Investigations have indicated that the natural compound may bind lipids (fats) in the digestive tract and limit their absorption. Chitosan has also been studied for its related effects on cholesterol balance and satiety, and is gaining popularity among fiber supplements.**
  • Flax Seeds: Seeds of the flax plant have been appreciated by many cultures throughout history. Flax seeds are abundant in soluble and insoluble fiber and essential fatty acids, including omega-3s. Research shows that their compounds, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), encourage cardiovascular health. Flax seeds additionally supply lignans, phytoestrogens that may promote both women’s and men’s health.**
  • Glucomannan/Konjac Root: A relative newcomer to fiber supplements, glucomannan is a polysaccharide found in the root of the konjac plant. Often presented as konjac fiber supplements, glucomannan has been studied for its ability to support healthy digestion and encourage satiety, which assists in effective weight management. Investigations also show that konjac root has potential to optimize blood lipid and glucose balance.**
  • Apple Pectin: Like other fiber supplements, apple pectin is a botanical form of soluble fiber that creates a gel in the digestive tract, helping to create a feeling of fullness while gently cleansing the gastrointestinal system. Studies have found that apple pectin also has an antioxidant effect and aids in maintaining ideal cholesterol levels.**
  • Oat Bran: The tough external layers of grain, bran is plentiful in soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as B-complex vitamins and other nutrients. A popular form of bran, oat bran is associated with cardiovascular wellness, and may be especially helpful for maintaining good cholesterol. Research indicates that oat bran may also promote healthy blood glucose levels, digestive wellness and ideal weight management.**

Fiber Supplements

Fiber supplements consist of natural compounds, primarily sourced from plants. Capsules and powders are common forms of fiber supplements. Multiple fiber supplements may be offered in a combined fiber formula. Flax seeds and oat bran are also widely available as grains. It is important to drink at least 8 ounces of water when taking fiber supplements.**

Fiber Supplements Directions for Use

When considering the consumption of fiber supplements, be sure to consult with your health care provider. The Recommended Daily Allowance for adults is 25 g for women and 38 g for men. Dosage may vary based on specific fiber supplements, with capsule doses ranging between roughly 300 mg and 4 g.**