Fiber supplements come in many forms and are intended to help people get the fiber that is often lacking in their diet.
Fiber supplements help ensure regularity but that is not the extent of their benefits. They also have a positive effect on blood sugar levels, body weight maintenance and much more.
Below our team of experts detail 19 of the most important benefits of fiber supplements.
19 Benefits of Fiber Supplements
Whether the take powder, capsule or gummy form fiber supplements provide a host of positive benefits for people of all ages. The following are the most important benefits as determined by our team of experts.
1: Fiber supplements ensure regularity.
Everybody takes regularity for granted until it disappears. When your formerly regular bowel movements turn into a twice-weekly ordeal, or amount to nothing more than a bit of loose material being passed several times a day, it’s time to reach for the fiber supplements. Fiber supplements can loosen up rock hard stools and get them moving, or add bulk to watery stools and put things back on schedule.
2: Fiber helps you maintain a healthy weight.
If you want to stay at your current weight, fiber can help. Fiber tends to fill up your stomach because most of it cannot be digested. It also takes its time moving from your stomach through your intestines, all the while creating a sense of satiety. This feeling of being full has the effect of preventing you from overeating.
3: Fiber can also help you lose weight.
If you are on a weight loss program, fiber supplements can help too. First, because they produce the aforementioned feeling of satiety, which should make it easier for you to limit how much you eat. And second, because fiber can bind with fat molecules in your gut (1) and carry them out of your system before they can be absorbed and turned into extra inches around your waist.
4: Fiber supplements can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Numerous studies have confirmed that people who eat a diet high in fiber have less of a chance of developing type 2 diabetes than those who eat less fiber (2). How does fiber do this? Well, by keeping you regular, by binding with fat molecules and evacuating them from your system, and by allowing you to manage your weight.
5: Fiber is important for maintaining bowel health.
Fiber not only helps restore and maintain regular bowel movements, but it also helps restore and maintain healthy bowels. It is never a good thing if you are unable to defecate for a protracted period of time (3). It can lead to all kinds of problems, from distended bowels to ruptured bowels and even malnutrition, since people who are constipated often lose their appetite.
6: Fiber can help prevent diverticulitis.
Speaking of constipation, when food lingers in your colon it can lead to the formation of pouches on the intestinal wall. If these become infected, as they often do, you wind up with diverticulitis (4). Diverticulitis can be painful and produce fundamental changes in your bowel movements. By helping to keep things moving through your entire digestive tract, fiber can prevent diverticulitis.
7: Fiber may help lower cholesterol levels.
Soluble fiber, like that found in fiber supplements, can help lower the amount of ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in your bloodstream. Soluble fiber prevents LDL cholesterol from being absorbed during the digestive process (5). Instead of mucking up your veins, the cholesterol is harmlessly expelled during bowel movements.
8: Fiber may help lower blood pressure.
Researchers looked at data from more than two dozen health studies related to the effects of dietary fiber and concluded that a high fiber diet can have a beneficial effect on blood pressure (6). The precise mechanism behind this benefit is not yet completely understood, but the evidence supporting the notion of a fiber/lower blood pressure connection is irrefutable.
9: Fiber is good for your heart.
As is the case with fiber and lower blood pressure, the link between fiber consumption and a lack of heart disease is real, though not yet fully understood (7). It is believed fiber produces this benefit via its ability to reduce serum cholesterol by binding to it (as mentioned above) and moving it out of your system via bowel movements. Both soluble and insoluble fiber have a hand in producing this benefit.
10: Fiber supplements can prevent blood sugar spikes.
Soluble fiber has a lower glycemic index (8) than other types of food. By increasing the amount of fiber in your diet, you can reduce harmful blood glucose spikes that often occur after eating other types of carbohydrates. Increased fiber intake is, in fact, recommended for diabetics and prediabetics as a way to gain greater control over their levels of blood glucose (9).
11: Fiber supplements prevent constipation.
Constipation affects millions of Americans. It is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week, with stools that are hard and often difficult to pass. Dehydration is a common cause of constipation, but so too is a lack of fiber. A meta analysis of more than 60 years of studies (10) concluded there is no doubt that increased fiber consumption produces more frequent bowel movements.
12: Fiber promotes a healthy gut microbiome.
Turning food into energy and bodily tissue is an extremely complicated process. One that relies heavily on what scientists call the ‘gut microbiome’. A major component of the gut microbiome is bacteria called ‘probiotics’ that live in the digestive tract and extract nutrients from the food you eat. These probiotics need fiber to fuel their activity. Without it, your overall level of nutrition suffers.
13: Fiber may reduce the risk of certain cancers.
This is especially true when it comes to colorectal cancer. A study published in 2016 looked at whether increased fiber intake could prevent women from developing colorectal cancer. The conclusion was that fiber can reduce the risk (11). But recent research (12) suggests fiber may also have a role to play in reducing the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and other types of cancer as well.
14: Fiber promotes proper hydration.
Dehydration is a serious problem (13). One that often contributes to constipation. When you take a fiber supplement, you should also drink more water than you normally do. In fact, any reputable fiber supplement will state clearly on the label that you should drink plenty of water when you take it. So, by promoting increased water consumption, your fiber supplement is helping you maintain proper hydration levels.
15: Fiber acts as a type of natural detox.
People spend lots of time and money researching, buying, and using things like juice cleanses to detox their system. But all they usually need is more fiber in their diet. Fiber is nature’s own detox. It scours the digestive tract of toxins and absorbs fats and other harmful compounds before they can be metabolized and cause short and long term harm.
16: Fiber supplements are good for your bones.
Some soluble fibers are also ‘prebiotics’ and serve the important purpose of providing fuel for the ‘probiotics’ that drive digestion. Prebiotic fiber enhances your system’s ability to process and incorporate calcium (14), which plays an essential role in maintaining healthy bones as we age. A lack of calcium is a major factor in the development of osteoporosis (15).
17: Fiber supplements are convenient.
It’s not always possible to get out to the supermarket and get all the fresh vegetables you need. Nor do busy people necessarily have the time to prepare healthy, high-fiber meals. This is where fiber supplements come in. Fiber supplements are easy to obtain, easy to store and easy to take. They fill a crucial dietary gap that can help you maintain a higher level of overall health at a time when that has never been more important.
18: Fiber supplements are affordable.
One of the many great things about fiber supplements – besides their many health benefits and their convenience – is that they are well within most peoples’ budget. For just pennies per day, you can get the fiber you need to keep your blood sugars, cholesterol, and blood pressure in check, to help you maintain a healthy weight (or even lose weight), and perhaps to fend off several types of cancer.
19: Fiber may help you live longer.
This is no empty marketing claim. It’s a fact. Because fiber can improve the efficiency of your digestive tract, because it can help you maintain bone density and avoid devastating fractures, because it can help you avoid developing colon cancer, and because it can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, it can help you live a longer, healthier life.
If being regular, having a healthy heart, fending off Type 2 diabetes, maintaining a healthy weight, keeping your blood pressure under control and possibly reducing the risk of certain types of cancer interest you, consider adding a fiber supplement to your daily routine.