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Dietary fiber is essential for a healthy diet, a good digestive system, and overall functionality and wellness. However, many of us don’t get enough in our daily diets, and it’s common as a result to search for a fiber supplement.
We explored the best fiber supplements of 2020, so you know what to look for as you choose one of these products, as the market is flooded with options.
The Importance of Fiber
Before looking at the best fiber supplement or answer the question “what is the best fiber supplement,” you have to have an understanding of why fiber is so important.
Dietary fiber comes from those healthy foods we’re advised to eat for a myriad of nutritional reasons. For example, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are packed with dietary fiber.
Fiber is most known for its ability to help prevent or relieve constipation, but there are other reasons it’s essential in your diet. For example, getting enough fiber can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the likelihood of developing certain chronic illnesses like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Fiber, at its core, is a non-digestible carbohydrate.
There are two main types of fiber—soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water, and in doing so, it creates a substance that has a gel-like texture. Soluble fiber helps with lowering cholesterol and blood glucose levels. It’s naturally found in psyllium but also foods like beans, apples, carrots, barley, and oats.
Insoluble fiber is a fiber that helps move materials through your digestive system.
It can increase the bulk of your stool and may be helpful if you have irregular stools or constipation.
Insoluble fiber is found in whole wheat flour, bran, vegetables, beans, and potatoes.
Why Fiber Is Important
When you have a diet with enough fiber, it can bring many benefits to your overall health and reduce your risk of developing chronic illnesses.
Normal Bowel Movements
Of course, the main benefit we associate with fiber is its ability to normalize your bowel movements.
When you use a fiber supplement, whether it’s a soluble fiber supplement or an insoluble fiber supplement, it can help create softer, bulkier stool, which is easier to pass. If you typically have watery stools, fiber can help solidify them.
When you have enough fiber in your diet, it can improve your overall bowel health.
For example, diets high in fiber can reduce the risk of developing hemorrhoids.
High-fiber diets can also help reduce the risk of developing pouches in your colon, which is known as diverticular disease. Higher fiber diets may reduce the risk of colon cancer too.
It’s important to note when discussing the best fiber supplements that colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer deaths in the world, and numerous studies link diets high in fiber to a reduced risk of colon cancer.
If you have diabetes or issues with high blood sugar, having enough fiber and especially soluble fiber can help you absorb sugar more slowly, which in turn lowers blood sugar levels. There is also some evidence suggesting diets with fiber may reduce the risk that you develop type 2 diabetes.
High fiber foods tend to be more filling than foods low in fiber, so you may eat less and feet satiated or full for longer. High-fiber foods also are less energy-dense, so you get more food volume but fewer calories.
Finally, having enough fiber in your diet may help increase your overall longevity. A high-fiber diet is associated with a lower risk of dying from all cancers as well as cardiovascular disease.
There is something to note when it comes to fiber, however.
If you have an inflammatory digestive condition such as colitis or Crohn’s, you may find that using a fiber supplement makes you feel worse instead of better.
Beyond those situations, though, ensuring you get enough fiber or adding a fiber supplement to your life can make you feel better in many different ways and can improve your health and quality of life.
The gut is full of bacteria—around 500 different species in fact. Gut bacteria is also known as gut flora and you need that bacteria. For example, many of the gut flora in our bodies play an integral role in weight management, immune function, brain function and mood, and blood sugar control.
Fiber plays a role here because your cells don’t have the enzymes to digest fiber, meaning it reaches your large intestine without being changed. Then, once there, many of the bacteria in your intestines do have the enzymes to digest fibers. Dietary fiber is feeding your good bacteria in your intestines.
How Much Fiber Do You Need?
Before you choose the best fiber supplement, it’s important to know how much you need.
If you are a man and you’re 50 or younger, you should aim for 38 grams of fiber a day. If you’re a man who’s 51 or older, aim for at least 30 grams.
If you’re a woman 50 or under, you should get 25 grams of fiber a day, and for women 51 and older, 21 grams a day.
How Do You Choose the Best Fiber Supplement?
There are different considerations when it comes to choosing the best fiber supplement, which we cover.
Should You Choose a Soluble Fiber Supplement?
As was touched on, there are two main types of fiber supplements—soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
If you have diarrhea that isn’t from an inflammatory condition, then you should choose a soluble fiber supplement more than likely. You might also want soluble fiber if you have alternating diarrhea with constipation.
When you take a soluble fiber supplement, it absorbs water. This then creates a mass that slows down how quickly things move through your gut. It can create stools that are soft and formed. Your stools also won’t dry out as they make their way down.
Many people find that if they have irritable bowel, taking a soluble fiber in the evening helps their mornings be more pleasant.
If you have inflammation related to radiation, or you have weak rectal muscle tone, soluble fiber may also be good for you. For people with intestinal surgeries, yet again, soluble fiber can be a good option.
Should You Choose an Insoluble Fiber Supplement?
On the other hand, if your issue is constipation rather than diarrhea, consider insoluble fiber. Sometimes if a person is prescribed opioids following surgery or for pain-related conditions, insoluble fiber may help constipation caused by that class of medicine.
Insoluble fiber works the opposite way of soluble fiber. When you take insoluble fiber, it works by speeding up how quickly things move through your gut.
What If You Want to Take Fiber to Lower Your Cholesterol?
If your goal is to use the best fiber supplement as a way to lower your cholesterol, then psyllium husk fiber may be a good option for you. Metamucil is just one example of psyllium husk fiber.
When you take a psyllium husk product, it traps cholesterol and also keeps it from being absorbed in your gut.
What Else Should You Consider When Choosing the Best Fiber Supplement?
There are some other things to think about as you select the best fiber supplement for your needs:
- Be careful as far as sugar goes. While having a diet that’s adequate in fiber can lower your blood sugar, if you take a fiber supplement with high sugar content, you could be doing more harm. Look for sugar-free powders if that’s how you prefer to take your powder or use a pill form. You can also choose unflavored fiber supplements.
- Some fiber supplements will contain prebiotics, which are certain types of gut bacteria. Prebiotics can be good to take for some people, but they can create gas, so if you already have issues with gas, make sure you don’t choose a fiber supplement with prebiotics.
- If you have celiac disease, be careful that you’re not choosing a fiber supplement derived from wheat.
- You don’t have to spend a lot to get a great fiber product as you choose a supplement.
A note about taking a fiber supplement—sometimes, you need to start slowly and work your way up with how much you take. For example, if you experience gas after taking fiber, perhaps try to take less next time to reduce discomfort gradually. You should also take fiber supplements with a full glass of water, and focus on staying hydrated all day.
A lot of us also tend to have the misconception that more is better with supplements, and particularly something like fiber. That’s not necessarily true. You want to make sure you’re not taking too much fiber because it can impair your digestion and nutrient absorption.
You should also speak with your doctor if you regularly take any medicines because fiber combined with them might affect how much of the medication your body can absorb.
What Is the Best Fiber Supplement?
Below are our picks for the best fiber supplements, all of which are available on Amazon. We also included a few highlights as to why we consider them among the best fiber supplements.
The Garden of Life Raw Organic Super Seed Vegetarian Whole Food Powder is one of the best fiber supplements for several reasons.
- The formulation goes beyond fiber and is nutrient-dense
- Unflavored so you don’t have to worry about the sugar content and you can also easily add it to other things, such as smoothies
- Each serving includes six grams of fiber and six grams of protein
- Also includes omega 3 fats, probiotics, and digestive enzymes
- This top fiber supplement includes both soluble and insoluble fiber
We like the Garden of Life brand, and its Raw Organic Super Seed Whole Food Fiber is a nutritional powerhouse. It gives you both types of fiber—soluble and insoluble. It also includes nutrients and protein.
The fiber is sourced from grains, seeds, and legumes so that it’s easy on your digestion and can help you maintain good overall bowel health.
Reviews on Amazon seem to uphold the idea that this is the best fiber supplement. According to reviewers, it’s one of the best products they’ve ever purchased on Amazon, and the fact that it dissolves quickly and easily and is unflavored is a big plus for a lot of people.
Some reviews say that in addition to the benefits for bowel health, this best fiber supplement also helps curb their appetite, which is likely not only because of the fiber but the addition of protein.
Acacia fiber powder including this option from Sari Foods is good for people who want a fiber supplement but who deal with constipation or IBS.
- All-around good fiber supplement but it’s also good for general gut health
- Contains no sweeteners, flavors, colors or additives
- No odors or strong flavors
- Gentle fiber made up of micro and macronutrients that can be easily recognized by our body
- Well-tolerated because acacia fiber tends to ferment more slowly in the colon
- Helps balance the levels of microbes in your gut
Acacia powder is a very gentle prebiotic fiber supplement. You can add one teaspoon of this flavorless product to a smoothie, water, or pretty much anything to get the benefits.
Acacia powder is a form of soluble fiber so it absorbs extra fluid similar to a sponge and then slows down how quickly stool moves through your intestines. Acacia fiber supplements can also help reduce gas and bloating, and it doesn’t have stimulants.
Best for Keto, Gluten-Free and Vegan Diets
The GoBiotix fiber supplement is a wonderful prebiotic product.
- Supports gut bacteria health
- Organic and plant-based
- No artificial or refined sugars
- Prebiotics can help reduce the feeling of bloating and heaviness after meals
- May help with mental clarity, brain function, and brain fog
As was touched on, when you’re choosing a fiber supplement, it’s important to think about things like sugar content and additives. That’s why this GoBiotix Prebiotic Fiber Boost Powder is one of our picks for a top fiber supplement—it’s free of all of those things and works well for a keto lifestyle.
The reviews of this GoBiotix product tend to be almost all positive.
Since it’s entirely flavorless, it’s easy to mix this best fiber supplement into anything, and it tends to work for most people according to their reviews. For many reviewers, this GoBiotix fiber supplement and prebiotic supplement has helped ease all of their digestive issues and also helps them lose weight.
Some reviewers find that the use of this fiber supplement also helps reduce their sugar cravings, and it helps them feel fuller for longer.
Psyllium powder, like this product from Konsyl, tends to have health benefits beyond improving regularity and digestive health.
- More fiber per teaspoon than other brands
- Gluten-free, sugar-free and free of artificial sweeteners
- 100% natural psyllium fiber
- Can be used as a laxative
What’s important to note when talking about the best fiber supplements and psyllium powder in particular, is that along with helping support bowel health and digestive health, psyllium powder has a lot of other potential health benefits.
First, psyllium powder can be used to ease constipation as-needed, or it can be added to your daily routine. Psyllium powder usually helps reduce constipation without creating gas, and psyllium is a prebiotic.
Psyllium powder can help soften your stools, too, particularly if you ensure you drink enough water when taking it.
Using a soluble fiber like psyllium powder may help lower your cholesterol, and it can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. If you have diabetes or blood sugar control problems, there is research that shows psyllium supplements can help maintain glycemic balance.
Not everyone likes to take a fiber supplement in powder form, so this Nature’s Craft product is great because it’s a capsule, but the benefits go beyond that.
- Chia is a great source of not just fiber but also protein, and minerals including iron and zinc
- This is a soluble fiber
- Some find that chia seed oil helps boost their energy levels and it’s sometimes used as a workout supplement
- Chia seeds have omega-3 healthy fats for weight loss and hair and skin health
Chia seeds are considered among the healthiest foods available. In addition to being one of the best fiber supplements, chia seeds have benefits for your whole brain and body, so they’re excellent to add to your supplement rotation.
Chia seeds are perhaps best regarded for their ability to help boost energy levels, and a one-ounce serving of chia seeds contains around 11 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.
Nearly all the carbs contained in chia seeds are from fiber, and chia seeds are also high in antioxidants that protect against free radical damage that can lead to illnesses like cancer.
Research shows that chia seeds can help weight loss as well. First, chia seeds are soluble fiber and they absorb water and expand in your stomach. The result is that it helps you feel full and slows down the absorption of your food. Additionally, since chia seeds are high in protein, they can help reduce your appetite as well.
Similar to flaxseeds, chia seeds are high in what are called omega-3 fatty acids, which can help support brain health.
Best for Convenience
Our final selection for the best fiber supplements of 2020 is a classic—Benefiber.
- 100% natural prebiotic fiber supplement
- Supports digestive bacteria and overall health
- Each pack is single serve
- Tasteless and odorless so it can be added to any food or drink
- May help you feel full for longer so you can maintain a healthy weight
This is one of our picks for a top fiber supplement for several reasons. First, according to reviews, it works. People who use this Benefiber supplement say that it helps alleviate their constipation and it helps relieve discomfort and also helps their belly look flatter.
Reviews also say that this fiber supplement works well for IBS_D as well as bile salt diarrhea, which stems from having your gallbladder removed.
There’s according to reviews, no texture, taste, or grittiness and it dissolves quickly. It’s an all-around convenient, high-quality product if you’re looking for the best fiber supplement.
Summing Up—The Best Fiber Supplements
The best fiber supplements of 2020 are important for your health for different reasons. First, of course, they help your digestive health. However, what many of us don’t realize is that fiber supplements can also help with overall health and wellness. Having a healthy gut can improve your heart health, help you lose weight, boost your mood and reduce your risk of developing illnesses like colon cancer.