Fiber -- you know you need it and you know the best sources include a variety of green leafy vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Sometimes life gets too hectic and your diet suffers as a result. When you don't get the recommended 25 grams of fiber a day, fiber tablets can help you close the gap. Even though fiber tablets are safe for most women, discuss their risks and benefits with your doctor before you take them.
Constipation and Bloating
Bloated is not a good look on any woman. Sometimes that "food baby" makes an extended stay and leaves you feeling less than your best. Bloating and constipation can occur from a lack of fiber in your diet. Fiber tablets relieve occasional bloating and constipation by adding bulk to your stools, so they move faster through your intestines and out of the body.
Fiber tablets are no magic solution to weight loss, but some studies suggest they may offer a little help if you're trying to fit into that little black dress for date night. Fiber makes you feel full longer, and in a number of studies, patients taking fiber supplements reported greater levels of satiety, or fullness, according to a study in the January 2010 issue of "Gastroenterology." In some of these studies, the fiber supplements also had minor effects on weight loss.
If you have Type 2 diabetes, fiber tablets have added perks for your health. Fiber tablets may lower blood glucose levels, lower the "bad" low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and increase the "good" high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. By lowering your cholesterol, fiber tablets lower your risk for cardiovascular disease, which is the number one cause of diabetes-related death. Additionally, supplements of insoluble fiber have improved insulin sensitivity in some diabetics.
Side Effects and Interactions
Fiber tablets can cause some embarrassing side effects. Gas and bloating are the most common and usually occur when you increase your fiber intake too rapidly. Although fiber tablets are supposed to relieve constipation, if you skimp on the water, they may actually plug you up. If you don't immediately drink enough water when you take them, fiber tablets can swell in the esophagus and cause choking. Drink an 8 oz. glass of water with each tablet, and then drink at least six glasses of water throughout the day.
Fiber tablets may interact with certain medications and supplements. Talk to your doctor before taking any fiber supplement if you take digoxin, lithium, carbamazepine, Tricyclic antidepressants, diabetes medications or cholesterol-lowering medications.
- Univeristy of Maryland Medical Center: Fiber
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
- Gastroenterology: Dietary Fiber Supplements: Effects in Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome and Relationship to Gastrointestinal Functions
- MayoClinic.com: Fiber Supplements: Are They Safe to Take Every Day?
- Oprah: Fiber Supplement Safety
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images