Tag Archives: Fiber

Why We Need Dietary Fiber

DietaryFiberJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks

The basic building blocks of a healthy, nutritious diet consists of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and lest we forget, water. By choosing the healthiest forms and proper balance of each of these foods, you enable your body to function at an optimal level. One other necessary and very important part of a healthy balanced diet is fiber. Naturally occurring fiber is found only in plant-based foods and is actually the part of the plant that is resistant to the digestive process. As a result, only a small percentage of fiber is metabolized. The bulk of fiber passes through the intestines undigested, aiding bowel health and providing critical support for colon function. A diet that includes a wide variety of high-fiber foods provides celluloses, lignans, pectins, oligosaccharides and other fibers and consequently, a greater amount of health benefits.

Basically, fiber can be typed as soluble or insoluble. Soluble fiber disperses in water and has a high water holding capacity, becoming gelatinous as it travels through the digestive tract. Soluble fiber aids in reducing cholesterol levels and helps to slow glucose absorption, thereby helping to stabilize blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber does not change form, tends to prevent constipation and speeds up the rate that food passes through the digestive system, stabilizing colon pH levels, eliminating toxins and providing valuable protection against colorectal cancer. Many plant-based foods will contain both soluble and insoluble fibers. Raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and 100% whole grains all contain good amounts of health promoting dietary fibers.

Unfortunately, the typical American diet is lacking in fiber and, according to The Journal of Nutrition, current fiber intakes are alarmingly low. So low, in fact, that inadequate fiber intake has become a public health concern, as low fiber intake is associated with risk factors for many highly prevalent and preventable chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, obesity and type 2 diabetes. While some clinicians and nutritionists feel the recommended fiber intakes of 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women are too low, The Institutes of Medicine reports that only 3% of Americans are consuming adequate amounts of fiber and that the average consumption is only half of the recommended amounts.

With two-thirds of American adults overweight yet undernourished, current dietary guidelines support increased consumption of nutrient-dense and fiber-containing foods along with decreased consumption of refined and processed foods. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that only 33% of adults meet the RDA of 2 servings of fruits and 27% meet the RDA of a minimum of 5 servings of veggies, those who wish to achieve optimal intakes would require considerable behavior and dietary changes. Fiber’s role in promoting health is often overlooked. While short term benefits, such as constipation relief, are indeed helpful, the long term benefits of increased and adequate fiber consumption include reduced cardio-metabolic risks, sustained weight control and lowered daily glucose levels, especially for diabetics.

The first challenge to achieving recommended daily intakes requires a careful selection of foods. Realistically, consumers can increase their fiber intake by switching from refined grains to whole grains, opting for whole grain cereals and increasing legume, vegetable and fruit consumption. According to the CDC, getting fruits and vegetables from farms to consumers is challenging but huge efforts are underway on a state-by-state basis to increase the availability of affordable, healthier food choices. As whole foods provide nutritive benefits in addition to fiber, increasing the intake of nutrient dense whole foods is optimal.

For those who do not reach the RDA of fiber through diet alone, supplementation that includes both soluble and insoluble fibers is a great way to promote the wide-ranging benefits of increased fiber intake. In order to meet individual needs or preferences and simplify supplementation, supplemental fiber is available in a variety of forms, which can include psyllium, flaxseeds, beta-glucans, inulin, celluloses, and oligofructans. Psyllium is a good intestinal cleanser, laxative and stool softener. Cellulose helps relieve constipation and removes cancer-causing substances from the colon wall. Lignans help to lower cholesterol and provide support for cognitive function, especially in postmenopausal women. Pectins help to remove toxins, lower cholesterol and reduce the risks of heart disease, while glucomannans assist with weight control and aid in normalizing blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

If you are taking prescription medications or have diabetes, be sure to check with your healthcare practitioner before starting on a fiber regimen. To avoid interference with the absorption of certain medications, do not take fiber supplements at the same time as medications.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality fiber supplements:

Organic Triple FiberMax PowderOrganic Triple FiberMax Powder by Advanced Naturals – Formulated with 3 types of 100% organic fibers to promote regularity, support cardiovascular health and help lower cholesterol, this quality product contains organic flaxseed, oat bran and acacia fiber. No additional ingredients.


Fiber Plus CapsFiber Plus Caps by Ortho Molecular – This natural fiber supplement contains organic psyllium powder, rice bran, apple pectin, fig, and prune plus probiotic lactobacillus acidophilus in support of healthy bowel function, regularity and long term bowel maintenance. Gluten free formulation.


Fiber FormulaFiber Formula by Integrative Therapeutics – Formulated with both soluble and insoluble fibers, this product supports colon health, aids in toxin elimination and promotes regularity. Wheat, dairy and soy free formulation.


MediBulk (SP621)MediBulk by Thorne Research – This powdered formula contains soluble and insoluble fibers in support of optimal digestive health, toxin elimination and maintenance of normal cholesterol and blood sugar levels already within the normal range. Gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.

The Journal of Nutrition: Filling America’s Fiber Intake Gap. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/early/2012/05/28/jn.112.160176.full.pdf
Balch, Phyllis A. CNC. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Penguin Group, 2010.
Majority of Americans not Meeting Recommendations of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption. http://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2009/r090929.htm
Guilliams, Thomas G. Ph.D. Supplementing Dietary Nutrients. Point Institute, 2014.
Higher dietary intake of lignans is associated with better cognitive performance in postmenopausal women. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15867302

The Best Time to Take Nutritional Supplements

timingSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor

Those of us who regularly take vitamins and minerals to support overall health or a specific health challenge know the importance of optimal nutrition. But many may not know the ideal time of day to take specific vitamins, whether to take them on an empty stomach or with food, or what combinations of vitamins to avoid or take together. Timing really is everything, as when you take your supplements can either boost or diminish their effectiveness. According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s annual survey of dietary supplements, 71% of women and 65% of men take dietary supplements.

Video Timing Is Everything

By far, the most popular supplements are multivitamins and minerals, with 97% of supplement users relying on these to complement their health. While 90% of supplement users report following label information, this little primer may help those who take multi vitamins and those who take more than one supplement to receive the maximum benefit from their formulas.


Probiotics – Probiotics are best taken on an empty stomach, so for that reason morning may be best, although some prefer to take them at bedtime. When the stomach is empty, digestive activity is quiet and stomach acid and pH balance are relatively low, increasing the chances for the helpful microorganisms to thrive.

Iron – If you are advised to take iron supplements, take them in the morning, as iron is best absorbed on an empty stomach. Caffeine, dairy and calcium can negatively affect absorption, so it’s best to avoid these for several hours after taking iron. Vitamin C, however, can aid absorption, so by all means wash the iron supplement down with orange juice or lemon water.

Multivitamins – Taking multi’s with your first meal is ideal, as the vitamins are absorbed along with the naturally occurring nutrients contained in the food. As multivitamins contain both water and fat soluble vitamins, be sure to include some healthy fats with your meal for optimal absorption. If your multivitamin formula recommends more than one capsule per day, take them in divided doses at breakfast and lunch.

B-Complex vitamins – Taking B vitamins with breakfast helps to boost your metabolism and convert your food into energy, which can be used throughout the day. As B vitamins help to fight fatigue and create energy, it’s best to avoid taking them late in the day.

Vitamin C Vitamin C is best taken in the morning to support the immune system and boost energy levels. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that lasts only a few hours in the blood stream, so if your formula recommends more than 1 tablet per day, take it in divided doses with meals to get the full benefit.

Vitamin EThis fat soluble antioxidant vitamin is best absorbed when dietary fats are present, so if your breakfast includes some healthy fats, such as yogurt or nut butters, morning is a good time. Otherwise, lunch or dinner time is fine as long as you are having some healthy fats with your meal.

Fish oil – Important to support many aspects of health, fish oil is best taken with a main meal to aid absorption. Take omega-3 supplements at breakfast along with your multivitamins or if more than one capsule is recommended, take them in divided doses at breakfast and dinner.  


CoQ10 – CoQ10 is involved in energy production and can be found in every cell, especially in the heart, which has high energy requirements. CoQ10 is best taken with a meal that contains dietary fats, and avoid taking it late in the day so that it doesn’t disturb your sleep.

Iodine – Iodine is not stored in the body, so regular intake is needed. Iodine supports normal cognitive function and healthy skin, and also increases energy levels. Table salt is fortified with iodine, but if you are not a regular salt user or use unadulterated salt, kelp tablets taken with lunch may boost midday energy levels.

Vitamin D – Vitamin D is best taken with a meal that contains dietary fats. It’s possible that Vitamin D can negatively affect sleep, so lunch time is a good time to get your Vitamin D.

Vitamin K – Vitamin K is best absorbed along with dietary fats and ideally should be taken along with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin C. Avoid taking vitamin K if you are taking Coumadin or any anticoagulant prescription drug, as Vitamin K can interfere with the effects of the medication.  


Calcium – Calcium aids nerve transmission and muscle function. To get the full benefit, take calcium in the evening along with magnesium.

Magnesium – Magnesium has a calming effect on the muscles and nervous system and may aid restful sleep. Magnesium works synergistically with calcium, so take these together either as individual supplements or in a combined formula.

In addition:

Digestive Enzymes – Digestive enzymes can be taken with any meal or within 30 minutes of your meal. Unless you have serious digestive issues, they don’t necessarily need to be taken with light meals or snacks, but can be very beneficial for optimal breakdown and absorption of nutrients when taken with main meals.

FiberFiber supplements may be taken either first thing in the morning or before bed. Be sure to take fiber with a full glass of water and get plenty of water during the day. Always check with your healthcare provider before taking any fiber supplement, as fiber may delay or reduce the absorption of certain medications. Additionally, do not take fiber supplements at the same time as medications.

Should you have any questions about the best time to take any supplements, please call or email Professional Supplement Center. If you are taking any medications, check with your healthcare provider or your pharmacist before starting any supplement regime.

Taking iron supplements.
Best Time to Take Probiotics.
Best Time of Day to Take Vitamins.
Vitamin K.

Are You Getting Your Fill of Fiber?

fiberJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks

Those of us who consume the Standard American diet devoid of nutrients and fiber may simply be asking for health problems. Genetics aside, largely preventable lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, result from poor lifestyle choices and a steady diet of processed foods, which lack nutrients but have plenty of sodium, chemicals and added sugars. Many of us may try to include a healthy daily intake of fiber and nutrient filled whole foods, but what actually constitutes a high fiber diet? How much fiber do we need to keep our digestive system working properly, to lower our blood glucose and lipid levels, to achieve a healthy weight or prevent chronic disease? The answer is very likely more than you are getting. Macronutrients necessary for good health include proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Although dietary fiber is technically not a “nutrient,” it is nonetheless a very important dietary component that plays a huge role in disease prevention.

Both the Institute of Medicine and the American Heart Association recommend adult women get a minimum of 25 grams of fiber daily and adult men 38 grams, with slightly lower recommendations for adults over 50 years old. The current average intake is approximately 15 grams daily, only about half the recommended amount. The best way to increase your fiber intake and improve your general health is to eat fiber and nutrient rich whole plant foods, as opposed to processed foods labeled “added fiber.” In fact, we need only to look at our Paleolithic dietary past to see that our hunter gatherer human ancestors were largely vegetarians who consumed upwards of 100 grams of fiber daily. There is plenty of scientific evidence to suggest that a plant-rich diet promotes health and, in some cases can actually reverse cardiovascular disease without drugs or surgery. Our finely tuned evolutionary heritage is not based on excessive amounts of animal foods or refined, processed junk foods but on plant foods, the only dietary source of natural fiber.

Dietary fibers, categorized as soluble and insoluble, are the edible portions of plant cell walls that are resistant to digestion. Soluble fiber attracts water, turning it into a gel-like substance, slowing digestion and allowing additional time for nutrient absorption. Soluble fiber is found in oats, nuts, beans, certain fruits and vegetables and psyllium, a common fiber supplement. Found mostly in whole grains, salad veggies and the outer peel of fruits, insoluble fiber does not absorb or dissolve in water and passes through the digestive system largely intact, pushing out waste and helping to keep the digestive system at optimal function. Many fruits and vegetables contain both soluble and insoluble fibers. Ensuring that you consume enough fiber means eliminating processed foods, including more beans, nuts, legumes and whole grains and getting your minimum allotment of at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

  • Soluble fiber is believed to slow down carbohydrate digestion, thereby slowing glucose absorption and aiding blood sugar control.
  • Studies show those who eat a high fiber diet may have a significantly reduced risk of developing heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and certain gastrointestinal diseases.
  • High fiber intake is associated with lowered blood pressure and improved insulin sensitivity in both non-diabetic and diabetic individuals.
  • Dietary fiber intake benefits children as well as adults. A child’s healthy diet should include lots of water and fiber to promote healthy bowel function and protect against constipation. Children with high fiber diets tend to consume more nutrient dense foods, are more likely to meet recommended daily requirements for key nutrients and are more likely to have a healthy weight.  
  • A high fiber diet or fiber supplementation promotes weight loss. Because fiber is filling, adequate fiber intake discourages overeating, while the fiber itself adds no additional calories.
  • As fiber ferments in the colon, it provides prebiotics that support healthy intestinal flora and in turn more optimal immune function.

Tried and true supplements for increasing your fiber intake include:

TruFiber™ by Master Supplements, IncTruFiber. – This non-gritty, tasteless powder contains soluble fiber along with bifidogenic enzymes uniquely formulated to enhance probiotic colonies in the digestive tract. Mix one level scoop daily in a non-carbonated beverage of your choice for improved intestinal comfort and regularity and improved nutrient absorption. Gluten, soy and diary free vegetarian formula.  
Organic Fiber-Clear
Organic Fiber-Clear by Advanced Naturals – This flavor and grit free natural acacia fiber dissolves quickly in room temperature liquid or in soft foods for a convenient fiber boost. It may be used in cooking or baking without altering the texture or flavor. Contains 100% organic fiber, nothing more, nothing less.
Fiber Plus Caps
Fiber Plus Caps by Ortho Molecular – These easy-to-take capsules provide a proprietary blend of organic psyllium husk powder along with rice bran, apple pectin and fig with the added benefit of the probiotic, lactobacillus acidophilus. Gluten-free.
MediBulk (SP621)MediBulk (SP621) by Thorne Research – This unflavored soluble fiber formula provides a proprietary blend of psyllium husk powder along with prune powder and apple pectin in support of a healthy GI tract and optimum digestive health.   Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-
GMO formula.


Health benefits of dietary fiber.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19335713
Increasing Fiber Intake.  http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/increasing_fiber_intake/
Dietary Fiber – what’s its role in a healthy diet? http://www.eufic.org/article/en/nutrition/fibre/artid/dietary-fibre-role-healthy-diet/
Sources of Insoluble Fiber. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/sources-insoluble-fiber-1413.html
Fiber and Your Child. http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/feeding/fiber.html
Nutrition Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00189.x/full