What Kind of Fiber Is Best for Chronic Constipation? A New Study Could Provide the Solution

There are several types of fiber; this one can provide the greatest comfort.

According to recent studies, certain forms of fiber may be more beneficial than others. That reducing constipation and enhancing stool consistency.

The results of the meta-analysis were reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in July. It was discovered that psyllium fiber in particular was the most effective treatment for chronic constipation. The improving stool frequency and reducing straining. As a result, psyllium was recommended by researchers as the first line treatment for persistent constipation.

Another form of fiber called pectin may also help those with persistent constipation. Although experts caution that the evidence for this type of fiber isn’t strong enough to be certain.

According to Sean Spencer, MD, PhD, a gastroenterologist with expertise in neurogastroenterology and motility at Stanford University. “The important conclusion from this research is that not all fiber is made equal.” “Others fibers are more beneficial overall, while some alleviate particular constipation symptoms more than others, such straining or stool frequency.”

A rough estimate puts the prevalence of chronic constipation—defined as having fewer. Than three bowel movements per week for more than six months—at 12% worldwide. However, without more standardized advice on how to treat chronic constipation. Many patients are forced to try different methods on their own, which often ends in disappointment.

Researchers said that by giving healthcare professionals greater knowledge. They would be better able to “give standardized and effective suggestions to patients with persistent constipation. “ What Kind of Fiber Is Best for Chronic Constipation?

The greatest relief from chronic constipation is provided by psyllium fiber.

Researchers from King’s College London examined 16 randomized controlled studies on fiber supplementation in those with persistent constipation for this meta-analysis.

In the investigations, psyllium, pectin, inulin, and wheat bran were some of the forms of supplemental fiber that were examined. Researchers found that psyllium supplements and fiber levels of at least 10 grams per day. Equivalent to around two tablespoons—were the most efficient forms of fiber supplementation.

In comparison to patients who just used laxatives, who had 2.5 more bowel movements per week. Patients who used psyllium supplements had around three more bowel movements per week. Pectin also increased the frequency of stools, although there was less information available overall on this kind of fiber.

Supplements containing psyllium and inulin-type fructans both considerably improved stool consistency. The Bristol Stool Form Scale found that the increased fiber intake of more than 10 grams per day significantly improved stool consistency.

It was discovered that the length of fiber supplementation affected stool frequency. That reduced gut transit time, or the amount of time it takes for food to travel through the gastrointestinal system. Treatment duration periods longer than four weeks had an influence on both outcomes.

The results, according to the researchers, point to psyllium as a potential first-line therapy for those with persistent constipation. Particularly those who have irregular bowel movements, firm stools, and straining. For those who have additional symptoms like bloating or incomplete feces, it may not be the best course of action.

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How to Increase Your Fiber Intake

According to Tamara Randall, MS, RDN, an instructor in the Department of Nutrition at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, the form of fiber supplementation experts are advocating here—psyllium—is the kind that is mainly utilized in fiber supplements, such Metamucil.

The husks of the seeds of the plantago ovata plant, which is often found in India, are used to make psyllium. Numerous studies have demonstrated that this type of fiber can thicken stool and make it easier for it to pass through the intestine when combined with water.

Pectin, the second most beneficial supplement, is more prevalent in the fruits and vegetables that we consume on a daily basis (think: apples, carrots, oranges, grapefruits and lemons). According to studies, those who took pectin supplements had more frequent bowel movements and spent less time on the toilet overall.

By encouraging a healthy gut microbiota and reducing constipation, fiber may enhance general health. For many individuals, adding something simple to their meals may significantly improve their health and make them feel better, according to Dr. Spencer. The majority of people with persistent constipation are initially instructed to consume more fiber.

It’s crucial to gradually increase your intake of fiber. According to Dr. Spencer, both your GI tract and your microbiota can adjust to fiber consumption, but it takes time, sometimes several weeks, and the key is to start low and go slowly. Along with the fiber, you should consume enough water to facilitate a comfortable stool formation.

Although fiber is typically a safe intervention, Randall warns that ingesting too much might result in gas, bloating, and discomfort.

Importance

It’s important to remember that everyone will probably need a slightly different quantity of fiber. Some individuals may need more than 10 grams per day, while others may need less, depending on the condition of their stomach.

Individual differences exist in bowel movement frequency, quality, and amount. There won’t be a single solution since “chronic constipation is hard to describe, it’s different for every individual,” Randall added.

In the end, any fiber is preferable than none. This new study shows that psyllium was most effective for patients with persistent constipation, but it does not indicate that everyone has to buy the pill right now.

Increasing any type of fiber in your diet will help the vast majority of people who experience some degree of constipation, according to Randall, who also noted that eating more fruits and vegetables is the simplest way to do so.

However, if you attempt increasing your fiber intake while under the care of a medical practitioner and your condition doesn’t improve, there may be other constipation reasons that need to be found and addressed.

Dr. Spencer advised patients to be checked by their doctor if fiber treatment did not work for them in order to determine the root of their constipation.


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