Gluten-free fiber supplements may be helpful on a gluten-free diet. First, fiber is essential for overall health and second, often people forget about fiber when eating gluten-free.
Coming from someone who paid it no attention when I was first diagnosed with celiac, my life changed when I realized I needed to eat more fiber. Not only did it make me feel better but fiber also has some protective health benefits too,
For example, Fiber has known protective effects against coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, and gastrointestinal complications. Increasing fiber is shown to improve gastrointestinal disorders like reflux disease, ulcers, constipation, and hemorrhoids.
Adding fiber via gluten-free food sources is ideal first. We’ll talk about some recipes below that can help with this, but if you’re having trouble with that, supplements may be considered. A reminder to always consult your healthcare provider before starting any supplement.
When increasing fiber with either gluten-free supplements or foods, you should do so gradually. This is to avoid any digestive distress that may occur by overwhelming your system with too fiber much when it’s not used to it.
Incorporating one extra serving of a fiber per day for for a few days is great way to start. If you are noticing an increase in bloating, constipation, gas, abdominal pain, etc. then it may be necessary to decrease the portion of fiber until your body is used to the new introduction of fiber.
Once you feel you have adjusted, slowly increase the fibrous food portion size again. And be sure that as you’re doing this, that you’re drinking plenty of water to help continue GI motility and bowel movements.
Not drinking enough water while increasing fiber can also cause some distress.
If looking to increase fiber, it’s essential to consider trying to increase gluten-free high fibers first before supplements. Some gluten-free food sources of fiber include gluten-free whole grains, fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes.
If you’re already eating these things but want to increase fiber, consider making it a point to intentionally add another serving of these foods to your day.
Fiber supplements act to increase fiber in your diet. Women should roughly aim to get 25 grams of fiber per day and men should aim for 38 grams of fiber per day. However, these are just general recommendations. What feels good in your body might be different.
There are different forms of fiber supplements on the market- an easy way to break them down is into two groups: soluble and insoluble. Both aid with digestion, manage GI symptoms, and decrease health complications.
Fiber supplements high in soluble fiber help with diarrhea by slowing digestion and creating a gel-like substance to bulk the stool among other benefits.
Fiber supplements higher in insoluble fiber helps bulk and soften the stool so it is easier to pass making it more ideal for constipation, hemorrhoids, and anal fissures.
Both are great to incorporate but selecting the right fiber supplement for yourself based on your symptoms can help boost recovery. As always, consult your healthcare provider before starting any supplement as they’ll make sure you make a safe choice.
So let’s talk gluten-free fiber supplements: what products can you lean on when you’re struggling to get enough fiber in through food? Let’s talk about some common options below:
Benefiber is actually considered a gluten-free fiber supplement. It’s mainly a soluble fiber derived from wheat. Did you just tense up? Swear off Benefiber altogether?
This sounds like it’s a no-go for people with Celiac Disease, but it is actually considered safe and under 20 parts per million of gluten due to the high processing it takes to make the supplements. (Remember, 20ppm is considered generally celiac safe in the USA and does a good job at protecting us).
Knowing this, I totally get if this gives you the heebie-jeebies, so do what feels right for you. Especially since there are other gluten-free fiber options out there.
Another gluten-free fiber supplement is Metamucil. It is considered safe for people with Celiac Disease . All of their powders and capsules are tested to less than 20 parts per million of gluten.
The fiber in Metamucil supplements is considered a bulk-forming laxative as it is primarily psyllium husk fibers. Which speaking of psyllium husk…
Psyllium husk can serve as a great gluten-free fiber supplement. It is primarily a soluble fiber although it does have some insoluble fibers.
Since it is primarily soluble fiber, it acts to form a gel and helps to slowly move digestion along to aid with symptoms like diarrhea. Psyllium husk is naturally gluten-free so as long as the manufacturer doesn’t add gluten-containing products to it and it’s free from cross-contact, it will be safe for people with Celiac Disease.
You can try using some specific high fiber foods as gluten-free fiber supplements. Flaxseed and Chia seeds are great gluten-free fiber sources that can be easily added to a multitude of dishes from sweet to savory.
In one tablespoon of ground flaxseed, there is 2.8 grams of fiber. Chia seeds provide 4.9 grams of fiber in one tablespoon.
Flaxseed can be purchased ground and can easily be added to baked goods, salads, oats, yogurts, and more. It has a great nutty flavor that is a welcome addition to most recipes.
Chia seeds are so small that they don’t need to be ground and can be used as a thickener due to the seeds becoming slightly gelatinous in liquids. They can be added to soups, salads, parfaits, smoothies, cereals, and more. Try them for yourself with the following recipes!
p.s. I can not stress this enough, be sure to add these high fiber foods to your diet SLOWLY to prevent overwhelming your digestive system and causing GI distress.
Use the following gluten-free flax seed recipes as homemade “fiber” supplements!
Consider the following chia seed recipes as potential “homemade fiber” supplements.
When it comes to gluten-free fiber supplements, only consider them after trying to increase fiber with food first. If that doesn’t work or you don’t have the time, or your diet is super restricted, there are many gluten-free fiber supplement options.
From actual products used to increase fiber like metamucil, to cooking with high fiber foods like chia and flax seeds, there are a lot of ways to supplement with gluten-free fiber.
And remember, when increasing fiber, be sure to increase your water intake too. And ALWAYS talk to your doctor before starting new supplements.
Finally, if you’re recently diagnosed with celiac disease and this is just the tip of the iceberg of things you’re trying to straighten out, check out my Celiac Crash Course. I cover all of the basic there. Click here to learn more.