For people who suffer from severe constipation, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome or intestine problems, dietary fiber like fiber supplements become essential on top of normal food intake. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate in fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. Intake of fiber helps to reduce heart disease, diabetes and regulate bowel movements.
What is Fiber Supplements
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Fiber supplements are available in grocery store or pharmacy, in forms such as powders, tablets and capsules. It can be either soluble, insoluble or both. Soluble fiber dissolves in water; it helps to regulate blood sugar, lower blood cholesterol and alleviating irritable bowel syndrome. Insoluble fiber makes the stool more bulky by absorbing water, softens it and makes it pass through intestinal faster.
It may also contribute to improving insulin sensitivity, relief diarrhea and reduce symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Common fiber supplements product in the market include Benefiber, Citrucel, FibreSmart, FibreCon, Fiber Choice, Healther’s Tummy Fiber, Metamucil and Natural Brand Psyllium seed husk.
Guidelines on Fiber Intake
The United States National Academy of Sciences suggests that adults should take 20–35 grams of dietary fiber per day, and children intake that equal to their age in years plus 5 g/day. Add fiber supplements to daily diet gradually and takes at least four to eight ounces of water with each dos. Do not consume beyond the recommended dosage.
Risk of Fiber Supplements
There are no serious side effects of taking fiber supplements. It may cause gas or bloating if taking too much fiber too quickly, and constipation may become worst if taking not enough water. Fiber supplements can prevent absorption of certain drugs like aspirin, carbamazepin and warfarin. For people with diabetes or high blood pressure, it is better to choose sugar-free powder or other form of fiber.
Side Effects of Fiber Consumption as Laxatives
Consuming more laxatives than recommended can lead to overuse and abuse but not many people realize that. Excessive intake of fiber pills and powders can lead to dehydration, mineral deficiencies, slow down bowel movement and lead to dependence. It was claimed that once the body get used to laxatives for long period of time, the gut and bowel becomes relax and cannot produce bowel movement without it.
The best fiber intake is from food like fruits, vegetables, legumes or whole grains. Soluble fiber can be found in all plant foods including legumes, oats, barley, plums, prune, broccoli, carrots, psyllium seed husks, almonds. Insoluble fiber can be found in whole grain foods, wheat, corn barn, potato skins, nuts, seeds and avocado. Taking fiber supplements only if you have to, and drink a lots of water along with it.