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What the Research Tells Us About The Benefits of Taking Fiber Supplements
Updated on January 11, 2023
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What the Research Tells Us About The Benefits of Taking Fiber Supplements
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Most of the foods we eat are broken down into sugar for energy. Except for fiber, that is. 

Fiber is a natural component of plant-based foods. You can find it in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains such as wheat and brown rice. Unlike many nutrients, it’s indigestible. 

Fiber can pass through your gut unchanged. It has many proven health benefits, such as:

  • Regular bowel movements
  • Better blood sugar control
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Healthy digestion
  • Balanced gut flora
  • Weight loss
  • Prevent constipation
  • Relieve diarrhea

Some digestive supplements also contain fiber. But are they just as healthy as dietary fiber? 

Let’s take a look at the science.

Types of Fiber Supplements

There are two kinds of fibers: soluble and insoluble fibers. Fiber supplements are mostly comprised of either of the two. Some brands have both in equal amounts.

Soluble Fiber Supplement

Soluble fibers attract and absorb water inside your gut. They form into a gel which helps slow digestion. Sources of soluble fiber include:

  • Barley
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Oat bran
  • Peas
  • Seeds

Certain fruits and vegetables may also contain these fibers. FiberCon and Benefiber are some brands of soluble fiber supplements.

Insoluble Fiber Supplement

Insoluble fibers don’t dissolve in water. They add bulk to your diet and let you pass stool more quickly and comfortably. Dietary sources include vegetables, wheat bran, and whole grains.

You can also get them from supplements like Citrucel. Others (like Metamucil and Colon Broom) contain Psyllium husk. It's rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber.

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7 Health Benefits of Fiber Supplements

Nutritionists recommend eating foods that are rich in fiber. Whole foods provide different fibers, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that supplements don’t.

But if you’re experiencing digestive symptoms like diarrhea or constipation, a high-fiber diet may not be enough. Supplements are a practical way to add fibers to your routine.

Here are the benefits of fiber supplements:

1. Prevent Constipation

Having at least 3 bowel movements each week is one of the signs of a healthy gut. Those who pass stools less than 3 times a week may be constipated.

Constipation causes dry and lumpy stools that are difficult to pass. Some may feel like they haven’t passed all of their stool after a bowel movement. 

It can make trips to the bathroom painful and uncomfortable. People who are frequently constipated can benefit from supplements with insoluble fibers.

Fiber supplements bulk up stools and increase their size and weight. It also keeps them soft, making it easier for your digestive tract to pass stool.

Adding fibers to your diet regulates your bowel movements and prevents constipation.

2. Relieve Diarrhea

Loose, watery stools, and frequent bowel movements (more than 3 times a day), may be signs of diarrhea. Diarrhea is usually short-lived and lasts no more than 1-2 days. 

It tends to be more common in people with digestive conditions like food intolerances and leaky gut syndrome. Certain infections and antibiotics may also cause diarrhea.

Soluble fiber supplements can absorb the excess water and solidify your stool. They can decrease the frequency of your stools until you feel better.

The best probiotic supplements also relieve symptoms of diarrhea. Probiotics that contain Saccharomyces boulardii prevent diarrhea caused by infections and antibiotics.

3. Lower Cholesterol Levels

There’s good cholesterol, and then there’s bad cholesterol. Studies show that fiber supplements can decrease low-density lipoproteins (LDL) or the unhealthy kind of cholesterol.

Supplementation also doesn’t reduce high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol or increase triglycerides. Low LDL and high triglycerides are bad for your heart and overall health.

4. Control Blood Sugar

Fiber supplements have been shown to increase insulin production in type 2 diabetics. When eaten with foods that lower blood sugar, it can keep your diabetes under control.

Soluble fibers slow your digestion and the absorption of sugars from food. It stabilizes your blood glucose and lowers your risk for type 2 diabetes.

5. Balance Your Gut Flora

The gut is comprised of good and bad gut bacteria. A healthy digestive system requires a balance of both. Otherwise, you will show signs of an unhealthy gut.

Gut bacteria make it easy for your body to digest and absorb nutrients from food. Studies show that fiber supplements increase the beneficial bacteria in your gut. 

Prebiotic fiber can also nourish probiotic bacteria. A well-balanced gut flora lowers your risk for colon cancer and type 2 diabetes.

6. Promote Digestive Health

Having regular bowel movements is important to your digestion and overall health. Health professionals say you should pass stools anywhere from 3 times a day to 3 times a week.

Fiber supplements can regulate your bowel movement and improve your digestive health.

7. Support Weight Loss

Maintaining a low-calorie diet is essential for weight loss. It decreases your calorie intake and prevents you from regaining any lost weight. 

Fiber promotes weight loss by making you feel full for longer periods. They reduce your appetite and the number of meals you eat in a day.

Research shows that fiber-rich foods can help you shed pounds and maintain a weight loss diet. Fiber supplements are proven to provide similar benefits.

One study links weight loss to a higher ratio of Bacteroides vs. Firmicutes gut bacteria. Fiber supplements have been shown to help.

Are Fiber Supplements Safe?

Yes. There’s no evidence that taking fiber supplements is harmful to your health. However, you might have digestive symptoms as initial reactions.

Soluble fibers can cause bloating, gas, cramping, and flatulence if you start at higher doses. Insoluble fibers are less likely to cause discomfort because they don’t ferment in the gut.

Talk to your doctor about taking fiber supplements. It may not be safe if you’re on certain medications. They can decrease the absorption of aspirin, carbamazepine, and other drugs.

Tip: Start with a low dose of fiber supplements to avoid these symptoms. You can gradually increase the amount of fiber you eat. But don’t go over 50 grams of fiber per day.

How Much Fiber Do I Need A Day?

Women are advised to eat 21 to 25 grams of fiber each day. Men should consume at least 30 to 38 grams daily. 

Doctors recommend getting most of your fiber from whole foods. If you don’t get enough from your diet, you can take fiber supplements to replace them. 

When to Take Fiber Supplements

Different brands have their own suggestions on fiber intake. You must follow the instructions that come with your dietary supplements. Ideally, you want to space your intake throughout the day. 

You can take fiber supplements safely every day. Remember to drink them with a glass of water. Keeping yourself hydrated will help you avoid constipation.

Do Fiber Supplements Work?

Fiber supplements provide a safe and effective way to improve your gut health. They can regulate your bowel movement, prevent constipation, and balance your gut flora.

Like foods rich in fiber, these supplementcolons also provide additional health benefits. They can lower your cholesterol levels and keep your blood sugar under control.

If you want a simple and no-nonsense way to support your digestion, we recommend Colon Broom. It’s a sugar-free fiber supplement that contains Psyllium fiber.

The no-sugar formula is great for your digestive health. It prevents bad bacteria from taking over, so you can maintain a balanced gut.

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Updated on January 11, 2023
Ada Sandoval
Ada Sandoval
Content Contributor
Ada Sandoval is a B.S. in Nursing graduate and a registered nurse with a heart for abandoned animals. She works as a content writer who specializes in medical-related articles and pet health.
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