Look For A Supplement That Has Both Soluble And Insoluble Fiber If You Have Constipation
You probably already know that fiber can work wonders on your digestive system. A quick refresher: It's a type of carb that your body cannot break down and supports gut health by promoting regularity and relieving GI issues such as constipation. Studies have even associated a high fiber intake with a lower risk of certain chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. S some foods naturally contain a lot of it, but if you can’t get enough from your diet (like if you have certain allergies or another underlying issue), there is another solution—fiber supplements.
ICYMI, fiber is naturally found in foods like fruits, legumes, vegetables, and whole grains. And eating a variety of these foods can help you meet your daily fiber goal, says May Zhu, RD, the founder of Nutrition Happens, which is 25 grams for women per day.
There are two main types of fiber: insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and helps create bulk in the stool, while soluble fiber dissolves in liquids and helps create a gel-like consistency that promotes stool regularity. “To optimize digestion, ideally, we need a mixture of both in our diets,” explains Zhu. “Most supplements will be broken down into mainly these two categories and may contain both in one product, but you might also find fiber supplements on the market these days that include prebiotic fiber, which is a type that helps feed the good gut bacteria in our digestive tract to promote healthy digestion.”
A prebiotic fiber supp combined with a live probiotic strain is a good choice for people looking to add a fiber supplement to support their general health. And those who are dealing with constipation will benefit from a product that contains insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to the stool, and soluble fiber to speed up the elimination process. “But if you are adding a supplement for diarrhea, then you will want something that only contains soluble fiber to help absorb excess water from the stomach and intestines,” she says.
If you are eating a variety of fiber-rich foods on a weekly basis, you may not need a supplement. The same goes for people who are regular and don’t have constant bloating or constipation. And remember: It is always best to get fiber from food sources first since they also contain essential vitamins and minerals that a supplement cannot provide.
For those of you who have tried that and still need help, here are 10 fiber powder, capsules, and gummies recommended by registered dietitians, plus how frequently you should be using these supps.
You may need some help from a fiber supplement if you're not getting enough from food. Try these picks from RDs for bloat, constipation, and other GI issues.