What Are The Best Fiber Supplements For Constipation & IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most digestive disorders in the Western world, affecting almost 45 million people in the United States alone. IBS is not only uncomfortable and embarrassing for sufferers, it’s also notoriously difficult to treat, with symptoms varying dramatically from person to person.
Fiber supplements are becoming increasingly popular for their ability to can ease certain IBS symptoms. But what is the best fiber supplement for constipation and IBS? Read on to learn everything you need to know about the subject.
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
According to the the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), irritable bowel syndrome, more commonly known as IBS, is characterized “by abdominal pain or discomfort, and altered bowel habit (chronic or recurrent diarrhea, constipation, or both – either mixed or in alternation)”.
It is estimated that over 10% of the world’s population suffers from the condition, with between 20 and 25 million sufferers being from the United States. IBS can affect anyone at any age; even children have been known to be affected with two thirds of all sufferers are women.
IBS can range from being a mildly inconvenient condition to severely debilitating, affecting people's personal, social and professional lives.
Strangely, the exact cause of IBS is not known and symptoms can be varied and contradictory. Diarrhea can often alternate with constipation.
Although the condition is common, due to the social stigma when it comes to talking about your “bowels”, many people do not seek treatment for the symptoms from medical professionals. This is why dietary supplements which can be easily obtained discreetly through the wonder of online shopping have become increasingly popular among those with IBS.
How Dietary Fiber Can Benefit Gastrointestinal Health
Adding dietary fiber to your daily life can be a simple way to improve gastrointestinal health. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) produced a joint report recommending that adults achieve up to 34 grams of dietary fiber per day,
However, research has shown that a western diets have a serious lack of dietary fiber. US citizens are failing to meet the recommended daily intake, in turn contributing to long term illnesses including those affecting gastrointestinal health.
Fiber is a crucial part of everyone's diet - not just those with a chronic illness. We need it simply in order to maintain health and prevent the onset of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, which according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is the biggest killer worldwide.
Fiber can be especially beneficial to those who suffer any form of gastrointestinal issue, most notably sufferers of IBS. With so many people eating a diet significantly lacking an acceptable amount of fiber, it should be something you add to your diet gradually. Adding too much too soon is known to worsen the condition.
The IFFGD tells us that “a gradual increase in dietary fiber can modify, improve and, in some people, eliminate the abnormal bowel habits and painful symptoms associated with IBS”.
Where to Find Fiber
Fiber can be found naturally in many dietary sources including fruits, vegetables, beans and grains. By gradually introducing some of these into your diet could significantly reduce constipation and IBS symptoms. Some of the highest fiber foods include:
- Split peas - 16.3 grams of fiber per cup
- Lentils - 15.6 grams fiber per cup
- Black Beans - 15 grams fiber per cup
- Artichokes - 10.3 grams per medium vegetable
- Raspberries - 8 grams per cup
- Avocados - 6.7 grams per half
- Broccoli - 5.1 grams per cup
Who Should Use Fiber Supplements?
Although adding whole-foods rich with fiber to your diet would be the first and more preferable way to introduce more fiber into your diet, some people, especially those with certain food intolerances, like celiac disease for example, may find many high fiber foods are simply off the menu.
Therefore, if you suffer from constipation or IBS and are unable to obtain enough dietary fiber through whole-food sources, you may benefit from adding a fiber supplement into your life.
The Best Fiber Supplement for Constipation and IBS
When it comes to supplements, making an informed buying decision with so many products out there promising to change your life can be difficult Therefore, I’ve made things a bit easier for you by taking a look at all the available options and choosing five top fiber supplements I think will be suitable for almost everyone.
For me the Optimum Nutrition fiber supplement is a great choice for anyone looking to add some dietary fiber into their diet. It offers a good dose of fiber without being too high and potentially causing gastrointestinal upset, is low in calories and best of all is an incredible price making it a good, long-term option.