To Your Health
August, 2022 (Vol. 16, Issue 08)
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Fiber: Just Get Some

By Editorial Staff

Most people don't get enough fiber in their diet – that's a fact. Chances are you're nodding your head in agreement and thinking: I sure don't get enough in my diet. This article is for you ... and the estimated 95 percent of men and 91 percent of women (per the American Society for Nutrition) who need more daily fiber.

Let's jump right into the good news: If you can't seem to get enough fiber from food, it doesn't seem to matter which fiber supplement you take; getting adequate fiber is what matters.  Matters for what? This isn't just a "regular bathroom habits" conversation, although it does relate to your bowels – specifically your GI microbiome. Fermentable fiber does wonders to keep the healthy bacteria that make up your microbiome, well, healthy!

Researchers randomly assigned 28 healthy adults to receive three different prebiotic fibers for one week apiece, with a week break in between supplements. The three fermentable fibers should be familiar to anyone who looks at nutrition labels or already takes a fiber supplement: inulin, dextrin (brand used in the study: Benefiber) and galactooligosaccharides (brand used in the study: Bimuno). All three fiber supplements increased production of butyrate, a fatty acid associated with gut health parameters including greater resistance to pathogens and healthier cells. In other words, a healthier, more robust gut microbiome. Findings appear in Microbiome.

Now back to our introduction, where we made it clear that the vast majority of people don't get enough fiber. Considering its importance, that leaves millions of people with two options: consume more fiber via their diet (whole grains, fruits and vegetables, beans, etc.) or supplement with a prebiotic. As this study suggests, if you choose to supplement, it's more important that you do it than which supplement you choose.

Note: Inulin, dextrin and galactooligosaccharides are added to an increasing list of foods that lack natural dietary fiber. Check your nutrition labels!