The fiber used in most supplements is psyllium. Other brands use methylcellulose, calcium polycarbophil, and guar gum. Some fiber products use wheat dextrins in addition to guar gum. Calcium polycarbophil is a synthetic fiber; the other types are all plant based. All of these fibers are soluble fiber, which helps to decrease blood cholesterol and relieve constipation.
Many companies offer fiber supplements, and most of them offer several different varieties. This list is not all inclusive, but provides the fiber content of some of these products.
- 1 rounded tablespoon (Tbsp) of Metamucil Smooth Orange flavor contains 3 grams (g) fiber (2 g soluble fiber)
- Six capsules of Metamucil Heart and Digestive Health Fiber Capsules contain 3 g fiber (2 g soluble fiber)
- Two Metamucil Fiber Wafers contain 6 g fiber (3 g soluble fiber)
- 1 rounded Tbsp of Konsyl Original Fiber contains 6 g fiber (3 g soluble fiber)
- 2 teaspoons (tsp) of Benefiber Orange contains 3 g fiber (3 g soluble fiber)
- Three Benefiber Orange Crème Chewable Tablets contain 3 g fiber (3 g soluble fiber)
- Three Original Benefiber Tablets contain 3 g fiber (3 g soluble fiber)
- Citrucel with SmartFiber powder contains 2 g soluble fiber/dose
- Four Citrucel with SmartFiber caplets contain 2 g soluble fiber
Daily use of supplements
No evidence has shown that long-term use of these supplements is harmful in any way. Doctors often recommend that patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or chronic constipation use these supplements daily. If you have any intestinal problems, you should discuss use of fiber supplements with your doctor before beginning use of these products.
You also should speak to your pharmacist if you take medication regularly. Fiber supplements can decrease the absorption of certain medications, including warfarin, aspirin, and carbamazepine. Fiber also can reduce blood sugar levels, which is important to note if you have diabetes.
When starting to take fiber supplements, begin slowly and drink plenty of water or constipation could worsen.
References and recommended readings
Benefiber. Benefiber products. Available at: http://www.benefiber.com/products/index.shtml. Accessed January 9, 2010.
Citrucel. Citrucel SmartFiber products. Available at: http://www.citrucel.com/Ch2_Varieties.aspx. Accessed January 9, 2010.
Metamucil. Metamucil fiber products. Available at: http://www.metamucil.com/our-products.php. Accessed January 9, 2010.
Picco M. Fiber supplements: Are they safe to take every day? Available at:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fiber-supplements/AN00130. Accessed January 9, 2010.
Review Date 2/10