Occasional constipation affects 15-20% of the US population. It can be caused by stress, dehydration, or diet and lifestyle choices. The prevalence of refined sugars and carbohydrates in the modern diet, combined with the low presence of fiber, is linked to slowed bowel transit time and altered colonic environment. Dietary fiber, the indigestible part of plant foods, enables smooth bowel movements, prevents occasional constipation, and promotes healthy gastrointestinal (GI) microflora balance.
Fiber Plus is a natural fiber supplement containing a balanced ratio of soluble to insoluble fiber to help with occasional constipation and maintain long-term bowel regularity. The main ingredient in Fiber Plus, psyllium seed husks, is one of the most widely used fibers in natural bulk laxatives. Both the psyllium seeds and husks used in Fiber Plus are 100% organic and free of the contaminants often found in other sources of psyllium. In addition to psyllium, Fiber Plus includes rice bran for its glycemic balancing effects and pectin, a soluble fiber found in apples. Fig fruit and prune are also included because they contain natural compounds which act as mild colonic stimulants to relieve symptoms of occasional constipation.
Mix 1 packet (14.83 grams) in 8 oz of water or juice and drink immediately 1-2 times daily or as recommended by your health care professional.
Psyllium Husks and Seeds
Several clinical trials have shown psyllium to be superior to other laxatives. A systematic review found psyllium husk to improve overall bowel regularity more effectively than lactulose. Psyllium has been found to be effective at increasing stool output and was found to improve the symptoms of occasional constipation increasing abdominal comfort and a sense of evacuation completeness, while reducing defecation effort. A randomized controlled trial found psyllium to have a significant effect among those with bowel irregularity and discomfort. After three months, symptom severity in the psyllium group was reduced by 90 points, compared with 49 in the placebo group. The laxative effect and gut- stimulatory effect of psyllium has been purported to be facilitated partially by muscarinic and 5-HT(4) receptor activation, which complements the laxative effect of psyllium’s fiber content. In addition, studies have also found that a 15 g dose of psyllium given three times per day before meals promotes healthy blood sugar and blood lipid levels.
In one animal study, giving 10 g per day of rice bran, including water soluble rice bran and rice bran fiber concentrates, resulted in significantly enhanced blood sugar balance and fasting blood sugar and lipid levels were maintained in the normal range. The extracts of rice bran have also been found to support cardiovascular health, a balanced inflammatory response and a healthy colonic environment.
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials showed consumption of several grams a day of pectin promotes healthy blood fats and maintains cholesterol levels already within a normal range. Liver fat concentrations have been found to be lower in rats fed diets containing apple pectin. Fecal bile acid excretion was also found to be reduced, and sterol excretion significantly increased with the addition of pectin. Rats fed pectin-rich diets also had lower levels of certain blood fats than controls.
Fig (Ficus carica)
The phytochemical properties of fig’s laxative effect are due to the bulk of seeds and fibers. In a double-blind, randomized controlled study of 20 patients with occasional functional bowel irregularity, supplementation with fig fruit increased frequency, reduced defecation time, improved abdominal comfort and heightened a sense of complete evacuation. Fig fruit supplementation also improved the symptoms of occasional irregularity, and the fruit has also been shown to maintain bulk in those with loose stools.
Prune (Prunus domestica)
Prunes or dried prunes contain 6.1 g of dietary fiber per 100 g, as well as large amounts of phenolic compounds which may aid in their efficacy for occasional constipation and glycemic support. The phenolic compounds in prunes have been found to inhibit oxidation of certain blood fat components in vitro, and thus may protect against oxidative damage. In addition, prunes have a high concentration of potassium and have been shown to support blood pressure and cardiovascular health. Another study found that 50 g of prunes, two times a day were found to be effective in helping with occasional constipation in 40 subjects enrolled in an eight-week study.