7 Fiber Supplements: More Than Just For Weight Loss

May 6, 2013 | Brandon Miles

Must See Nutrition Videos

The health benefits of fiber extend beyond weight loss and constipation relief. In both isolated and whole form, fiber plays a multitude of significant roles in our diet. (See Fill Up on Fiber [But Not Before Competition].)

A necessary nutrient, fiber lowers a meal's glycemic index, resulting in reduced blood sugar levels. It also helps to decrease cholesterol, increase satiation and improve overall energy through other synergistic compounds. (But how much is too much? Can You Eat Too Much Fiber?)

Chia Seeds

Who could have imagined that the chia pets of the early 1980s would become a high-quality source of fiber? Those furry creatures are now more popular as food than as companions.

Just one tablespoon of chia seeds provides 4 to 6 grams of dietary fiber, as well as omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to be beneficial for cardiovascular health and cholesterol levels.

(Learn more in 16 Nuts and Seeds You Should Be Eating.)

Psyllium Husks

Psyllium husks provide two grams of fiber per teaspoon, the highest form of isolated fiber per gram. They have been shown to increase bulk in the intestines and provide relief from constipation. Psyllium husks also help with weight loss, especially when combined with the fiber supplement glucomannan.

Flaxseed

Like chia seeds, flaxseeds are  a high-fiber food that's also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Although flaxseeds do not gel as much as chia seeds, they're very high in fiber. Just one tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains two grams.

Flaxseeds must be ground in order to deliver their health benefits. In their whole form, the body has a difficult time breaking them down.

Glucomannan

This fiber supplement has been the subject of much research in nutritional science. Studies have shown it to increase satiety, decrease cholesterol levels and balance blood sugar in Type 2 diabetics.

When added to water, glucomannan forms a thick gel that lines the stomach and provides bulk and satiation. It also draws cholesterol into itself, which is later excreted from the body. Glucomannan slows down the rate at which carbohydrates break down into glucose in the blood, leading to steady blood sugar levels. When combined with psyllium husks, research shows that glucomannan is a powerful weight loss supplement.

Take this supplement with plenty of water. All thick fiber supplements can increase the risk of choking if not taken correctly.

Apple Fiber

With four grams of fiber per tablespoon, apple fiber is great in smoothies and other sweet drinks. It provides both soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which help reduce cholesterol and increase bulk in the intestines.

Probiotics

These are "friendly" bacteria that our intestines need in large numbers in order to keep our immune system, serotonin, digestion, and absorption in check. They help fight off "bad" bacteria and increase the rate at which we digest and excrete food.

Natural Bitters

Derived from bitter tasting herbs such as dandelion and catnip, bitters, when taken in tincture form or as tea, get the digestive system moving. They may also activate the part of the brain that releases gastrin, a hormone that increases gastric acid and bile flow, both important for healthy digestion. Since the key to weight loss is a healthy digestive system, it may be important to include some bitters, along with natural fibers, to ensure weight loss success.

Guidelines

When you take any fiber supplement, remember to drink plenty of water—at least 8 ounces. This will increase the bulk the fiber produces. Also, as with psyllium husks and glucomannan, water helps the supplement slide down the throat easily. These fibers are quite thick and can induce choking when taken in their dry form.

RELATED: The 6 Most Promising Weight-Loss Supplements

Topics: BURN FAT
Must See
Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps
Views: 20,391,867
Michael Jordan: Mind of a Champion
Views: 546,375
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 27,710,953

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 69,070
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 9,456
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 133,452
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,880
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,300
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,676
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,782
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,561,942

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Use Sodium Bicarbonate to Get More Out of Creatine

4 Best Supplements for Football Players

HGH Use Among Teens on the Rise, According to Survey

Do Athletes Need Zinc Supplements?

Blueberry Supplements: Better Than Actual Blueberries?

Should You Be Taking BCAAs?

L.A. Galaxy's Safe Supplementation for Soccer Players

Workout Supplements: Do You Really Need Them?

Make Sure You're Getting Enough Calcium

The Best Time to Consume Creatine

Why Creatine Is the Best Sports Supplement

7 Fiber Supplements: More Than Just For Weight Loss

4 Muscle-Building Supplements That Don't Work

7 Sketchy Marketing Phrases Used By Supplement Companies

The Powerful Health Benefits of Turmeric

Why You Need Vitamin D in Your Diet

The 6 Most Promising Weight-Loss Supplements

7 Rules That Would End PED Use in Baseball Immediately

3 Supplements to Boost On-Ice Performance

Why You Can't Ignore Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition

EXOS Launches New Line of Supplements

Powder Hour: Is It Time to Add Protein Powder to Your Diet?

3 Reasons Why You Should Take a Fish Oil Supplement

Ask the Experts: Is Caffeine Safe for Athletes?

Should I Take Creatine?

3 Tips on Choosing the Best Post-Workout Creatine

What's Missing From the Female Athlete's Diet, Part 2: Iron

The One Thing You Need to Do to Build Muscle

4 Creatine Myths Exposed

Can Baking Soda Improve Your Training Gains?

Demystifying Popular Smoothie Boosters

Fuel for Thought: Gels, Bloks and Beans

The 5 Essential Sports Supplements

5 Rules You Must Know Before Taking a Fish Oil Supplement

The Truth About Muscle-Enhancing Supplements

Creatine Supplements: Benefits, Concerns, Types and Dosage

ZMA: Is This Mysterious Supplement Right for You?

The Best Post-Workout Supplements and Nutrition

2 Safe Pre-Workout Supplements

Iodine: An Overlooked Essential Mineral for Female Athletes

How to Select a Healthy Protein Bar

6 Supplements That Power Quality Workouts

This Just In: Boost Your Workout With Peppermint

Soy vs. Whey Protein

DHEA Supplements: Should You Take Them?

The Positive Side Effects of Creatine (Besides Building Muscle)