I decided to do a one year update and repost on this subject to include a second fiber product that’s equally good and somewhat more affordable. I include a review of the products along with a guide on how to take them when you have serious digestive issues caused by IBS, gastroparesis, SIBO or another GI disorder. Please note I may receive a small commission on any purchases made directly through the links in this or any of my blog posts. Thank you.
If you have the digestion and absorption issues that are common with IBS, Gastroparesis, SIBO, you probably find it impossible to incorporate enough fiber into your diet. The simple solution is to add a fiber supplement, but most fiber supplements are plant based and contain high carbohydrate content. They can easily upset the systems of people with these conditions. If you’re on the FODMAPs diet, the fiber supplement you’re currently taking that is supposed to be doing you good could actually be having the opposite effect, so it’s very important that you investigate what’s in your fiber supplement and whether or not you need to take a different kind.
If you aren’t currently taking one, you might be amazed by the changes you see in a matter of just a few weeks, cutting down on cramping, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating and other disccomforts.
Though I didn’t take a fiber supplement in a long time because everything I tried caused me more trouble than it helped, I decided to search one out, because despite enjoying better bowel health than I have in a long time, I couldn’t really achieve any consistency in my bathroom habits. MY Urogynecologist also thought it might help and encouraged me to give it a try despite my wariness. After doing some research, I found that the best digestive fiber for IBS, SIBO and Gastroparesis is hydrolyzed guar gum powder. That’s because guar gum provides plenty of fiber, but isn’t a high FODMAP carbohydrate. Nestle is actually marketing their guar gum based ProNourish Digestive Balance Fiber specifically for it’s Low FODMAP compatibility, and this is the one I began with and took for about 6 months before I began exploring whether there might be other brands, especially since supply of Pronourish is iffy at best.
It turns out there are, and when I switched to Healthy Origins’ Healthy Fiber, also made from partially hydrolyzed guar gum they like to call “Sunfiber,” I was equally satisfied with the results and even happier with the price tag, given that theirs is usually ~ $3 cheaper per can. I’m not surprised. I’ve never had a bad experience with this brand despite their usual affordability. The only difference in these two brands is cost and recommended dosage.
According to the packaging, both products are gluten-free, lactose free, and vegan, as well as low FODMAP and only contain guar gum. I’ve been taking either the ProNourish or Healthy Origins for about a year now.
Pros and Cons
Hydrolyzed guar gum is truly tasteless and undetectable in water, so you don’t have to worry about it being one more of those nose-holding powders to choke down. Once dissolved, you really can’t tell it’s there at all as there is no change to color, texture or taste. You can also sprinkle it over your food if you prefer. I add it with my ORS and other powders to a glass of water.
It’s important to start out on a very small dose if you have digestive issues and give your system time to adjust, but once I did that, I found that taking these supplements has really changed things for the better for me. While the dietary changes I made helped a lot, these fiber supplements put a stop to fluctuating between diarrhea and constipation all the time and gave my bowel movements bulk, making them much more comfortable. Because of this, I have a great deal less pain from my diverticulum.
How to Take It – Spoonie Style
While the ultimate goal is to take around 2 tablespoons a day, it’s important to work your way up in dose slowly. It isn’t supposed to cause diarrhea, but if you take too much to begin with, it certainly can; or at least that’s how it’s worked on me. It says it’s safe to begin at a 1 tablespoon dose per day, however I had to break that in half to avoid getting diarrhea, which was pretty much an immediate reaction (within 1 hour of taking it). Given this personal experience, I would recommend that you start with no more than a ½ tablespoon per day and work your way up, adding a little more every few days.
To help avoid stomach upset, take it with food rather than on an empty stomach. It doesn’t matter if you add it to your water or your food, just make sure it goes in your tummy at roughly the same time. This doesn’t mitigate the need to work your way up in dose size.
Work your way up to an adequate does and give it a chance to really work. It helped me some right away, but it wasn’t until I got to almost 1 tablespoon twice a day before it really started to turn things around for me, bulking up my stool, making things more regular and eliminating some of the general acheyness and flux I was still experiencing.
Once you’ve begun to easily tolerate 1 tablespoon twice a day, you shouldn’t have any problem taking the full amount every morning, all at once, making it more convenient to take.
Now, my husband and I both take the powder and have found it to be very useful in regulating our bathroom habits, making things much more comfortable and regular. You can order the Nestle Pronourish here, or the Healthy Orgins’ Healthy Fiber here.
Looking for more supplements and nutrition information to improve your spoonie life? Check out our list of Medications and Supplements!