What Happens When You Take Probiotics And Fiber?
Almost 20% of the North American population is said to experience chronic constipation.
In the past when my microbiome was in turmoil I was also someone who was part of that 20%.
Constipation can negatively affect the lives of people who have it and use up valuable medical resources.
Many people turn to dietary fiber & probiotic supplements to try and help with their constipation.
In this guide, I will shed some light on what happens when you take probiotics and fiber together.
What Are Probiotics?
The human gut has both bad and good bacteria present in the microbiome inside the large colon. Bad bacteria in the gut can lead to conditions like dysbiosis which is essentially an imbalance between good & bacteria in the micro-flora. This is bad because it can lead to diarrhea, cramping, constipation, bloating, and much more.
On the flip-side good bacteria in the microbiome can help with controlling inflammation, digest foods, absorb nutrients and most importantly make it difficult for bad bacteria to survive by crowding them out. They are also said to be important for overall immune health. If you have Dysbiosis then taking probiotics may help with the symptoms of this condition.
It's possible to get probiotics by eating fermented foods like yogurt, natto, tempeh, kimchi, sauerkraut, and miso paste or by drinking fermented dairy drinks like Kefir. Taking a probiotic supplement is also another option and this may be beneficial as different probiotic strains have different benefits.
What Is Fiber?
Fiber by itself is not some fancy new fad superfood but the term dietary fiber has been popularized in recent years. Soluble Fiber by itself is just a resistant starch found in plant-based fruits and vegetables that cannot be broken down by digestive enzymes in the human digestive system. Women should aim for around 21 - 25g per day and men 30 - 38g per day according to mayoclinic and some good sources include.
This may sound scary but soluble fiber is essential for the body's function and as a source of food for probiotic bacteria to survive and grow. Undigested fibers in the body are said to help regulate sugar, soften your stool, and increase the size of your stool. On the flip side taking too much soluble fiber into your diet can also have to opposite effect and cause constipation.
Can I Take Probiotics And Fiber At The Same Time?
Now that you know what the difference between fiber and probiotic bacteria is you may be left wondering if you can take this bulking agent and probiotics together at the same time without any negative effects.
You can take probiotics and fiber together at the same time without any issues. It's advisable to do this because PreBiotic fibers are an essential source of fuel for probiotic bacteria to grow inside of the upper bowel. Without fiber, they wouldn't thrive.
Some natural probiotic foods like sauerkraut and kimchi already contain both prebiotic fiber and probiotics at the same time. If you eat these fermented foods then you will be eating probiotics and fiber at the same time. Most high-quality probiotic supplements today also contain probiotic fibers like Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and Galactooligosaccharides as part of the ingredients.
If your probiotic supplement doesn't contain any prebiotic fiber you can load up onion, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus and chicory root for extra fiber or take a commercial fiber supplement.
Taking Fiber & Probiotics For Constipation
Certain probiotic strains have been studied to show benefits for constipation in human studies. Lactobacillus Casei Shirota was one such probiotic strain studied in those with constipation and 89% of participants noted improvements in their constipation.
This 2012 meta-analysis found that dietary fiber intake can obviously increase stool frequency in patients with constipation which is a clear cut that taking both fiber and probiotics may help with constipation.
Taking Fiber For Weight Loss
According t this 2015 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggested that increased fiber intake could lead to weight loss in adults who were obese and so they set out to test this fiber weight loss theory in a clinical setting.
The study had 240 participants with metabolic syndrome and it was a randomized placebo-controlled study. Half were asked to eat a high-fiber (30g per day) diet for 12-months and another group followed a standard American Heart Association recommended diet.
Some participants dropped out of the study before the end but the results showed that there wasn't much difference in weight loss between the AHA and Fiber group. If you are looking to add fiber into your diet for weight loss there may be better solutions as this study suggested fiber isn't great for weight loss.
Is Metamucil A Probiotic?
Metamucil contains PSYLLIUM HUSK and different flavored options contain varying amounts of sugar ranging from 4 up to 7 grams. They do however have some sugar-free options available in both capsule & powder form.
PSYLLIUM HUSK is not a type of bacteria and therefore Metamucil is not a probiotic in any way at all. Interestingly however the side effects of Metamucil include cramping, bloating, and changes in stool consistency.
It's clear that fiber and probiotics are not new and how been around for thousands of years. Recently however they have become studied more in-depth and are now commonly used in dietary supplements by companies.
The good thing about fiber and probiotics however is that it's possible to get them naturally from low-cost foods at our local story like Walmart for example.
If you experience constipation you must consult with your doctor first. Never used fiber or probiotics to try and treat a condition without talking to a doctor first. I am not a doctor and this guide is not medical advice.