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What is a good way to compare fiber supplements?

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Quick Answer

A good way to compare fiber supplements is to check the ingredients label of each supplement, as outlined by the National Fiber Council. Ingredients to compare include the type of fiber, whether the fiber is soluble or insoluble, if the fiber is natural or synthetic, the active amount of fiber in the supplement, and the dosage required for various effects. Another comparison criteria is the conditions that each supplement treats.

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Full Answer

Before beginning to use fiber supplements, WebMD recommends consulting a doctor. The medical need and the purpose for increasing one's fiber intake determines the type of fiber supplement to use. The first choice is to decide between chewable tablets, powders or pills. Different forms of supplements deliver different types of fiber. One also needs to decide if natural or synthetic fiber is needed.

The next choice is to decide between soluble or insoluble fiber, according to Healthline. Soluble fiber absorbs water and is primarily used to slow down digestion. Slowing digestion allows soluble fiber to aid in the regulation of blood sugar. Soluble fiber has also been connected to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Insoluble fiber does not absorb water, and adds bulk and roughage to stool, which allows it to ease constipation. Some people believe that soluble fiber helps prevent colon cancer and balances out the pH levels in the intestinal tract.

The last comparison to make is between the different types of fiber. Common soluble fibers are inulin, which helps the body produce healthy bacteria, and methylcellulose, which reduces gas and indigestion, explains Healthline. Psyllium is another soluble fiber, and it treats digestive problems. Dextrin, which helps regulate blood sugar, is a soluble fiber with very low gluten levels. WebMD lists two common insoluble fibers: lignin, which is recommended for heart health, and cellulose, which is for easing constipation.

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