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.

In fact, a report published in the Journal of Nutrition tells us that less than 3% of all Americans are meeting the daily guidelines for fiber intake.

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.

Quality

Price

Our rating

Optimum Nutrition are a well known and respected throughout the fitness industry as a supplement manufacturer. This fiber supplement offers a blend of 6 fiber sources, with a generous 5 grams of fiber per serving. Best of all, this supplement is unbeatable on price.

It comes in unflavored powder form which is especially convenient for those who hate pills. Only minor downfall is the fact it can be a little clumpy.

Pros


  • Blend of 6 fiber sources
  • 5 grams fiber per serving
  • Powder form
  • Excellent price
  • Made in the USA
  • Made in a GMP facility

Cons


  • Clumpy

Quality

Price

Our rating

This fiber supplement from Kirkland comes in a unflavored powder form. Offering 3 grams of fiber per serving this could be a good product for those just introducing fiber to their diet and want an alternative to pills.

Pros


  • 3 grams fiber per serving
  • Wheat fiber
  • Powder form
  • Good price
  • Made in the USA

Cons


  • Doesn’t mix well

Quality

Price

Our rating

This supplement from Now Foods is another psyllium husk fiber supplement which is gluten free and vegetarian friendly and offers a good 6 months supply. The let down for this product is again, it only offers 1 gram of fiber, which quite frankly you could get more from a couple of florets of broccoli!

Pros


  • Psyllium husk fiber
  • Made in the USA
  • Gluten free
  • Vegetarian
  • Capsule form

Cons


  • Only 1 gram of fiber per serving

Quality

Price

Our rating

This product is a fiber supplement made from pure psyllium husk, a seed which is often used as a powerful ‘colon cleanse’. Designed to aid digestion and regularity, this product is made in the USA in a GMP and FDA registered facility. It comes at a reasonable price and offers a four month supply of capsules.

The thing that really let down this product for me is the fact I believe the labelling is incredibly misleading. Although I am sure this is a quality product, the label only lists the amount of psyllium husk in each capsule (1450 mg) in each serving and no where indicates the actual amount of dietary fiber.

Now, someone looking for a quality supplement could be confused by this and assume they are getting a good dose of fiber, however, research suggests that 1450 mg of psyllium husk only offers around 1 gram (or potentially less) of actual dietary fiber. This is why it is always important to read the label of any supplement you are looking to buy.

Pros


  • Fiber from psyllium husk
  • Made in the USA
  • Produced in a GMP and FDA facility
  • Reasonable price
  • Gluten free
  • No carbs or sugars

Cons


  • Low dose of fiber
  • Misleading packaging

Quality

Price

Our rating

This fiber supplement comes in gummy form which may suit those who find taking pills on a daily basis a difficult task. This product is designed to aid gastrointestinal health, reduce bloating and promote weight loss. These supplements are made in the USA in a FDA registered facility following certified good manufacturing practices which gives some level of confidence in the quality of the product.

Their downfall is that they only have 5 grams of fiber, yet are 20 calories per serving from the amount of sugar needed to flavor these candy like gummies. Sure, 5 grams of fiber is a great place to start when slowly adding it to your diet, but there are less calorific ways to add this into your diet.

Pros


  • Designed to support GI health
  • Vegetable source of dietary fiber (chicory root)
  • 5 grams of fiber per supplement
  • Gummy form
  • One month supply
  • Made in the USA
  • Produced in a GMP and FDA facility
  • Reasonable price

Cons


  • 3 grams sugar per supplement and 20 calories

Our Choice:

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.

Helen Sanders
 

Chief editor here at Health Ambition, I’m a proud mother of two passionate about nutrition and ways to live healthier with more energy!

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