Metamucil is a fiber supplement that helps relieve constipation and keeps you regular. It makes increasing your fiber intake easier, since it comes in a variety of forms, including chewable wafers, powder, capsules and others. Taking too much of a fiber supplement can cause gastrointestinal distress if you are not careful. Talk with a health-care professional before you decide to take a fiber supplement such as Metamucil.
Type of Fiber
Metamucil is made of 100 percent psyllium fiber, according to Metamucil.com. Psyllium is derived from the husks of psyllium seeds. It is relatively flavorless and odorless, and can be added to foods or used in supplements. This type of fiber is soluble, meaning it works like a sponge in your digestive tract, soaking up water and creating a thick, gel-like substance. Soluble fiber slows digestion, allowing nutrients to be fully absorbed. While it has many benefits, consuming too much soluble fiber from Metamucil can have uncomfortable effects in your gut, such as loose stools.
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For optimal digestive health, you need about 14 g of fiber for every 1,000 calories you consume. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, this is around 28 g of fiber. Most Americans consume only about half of the fiber they need, according to Colorado State University. If you have problems with regularity or constipation and decide to take a fiber supplement such as Metamucil, rapidly increasing your fiber intake can cause problems.
Preventing Loose Stools
Taking a large dose of fiber at once, especially if you are not used to consuming fiber, may cause loose, watery stools, or diarrhea. Having a sudden surge of fiber in your system can push food through rapidly, before it gets a chance to be absorbed. While it pushes through your system, you may experience excessive gas, bloating and abdominal cramping, leading up to loose stools. Avoid having loose stools after taking your Metamucil supplement by gradually increasing your intake each day. Since Metamucil conveniently comes in powder forms, you can easily control the amount of fiber you consume. Add a small amount, such as 1/2 tsp., and see how you feel. As long as you can tolerate the fiber increase, gradually up your intake each day until you reach your goal. Increasing your fiber consumption is a long, slow process; give your body adequate time to adjust to the new substance.
Benefits of Metamucil
Once you allow your body to adjust to the increase in fiber and get past the point where you have loose stools, soluble fiber from Metamucil has several benefits. This type of fiber can lower your bad LDL cholesterol, thus minimizing your risk for cardiovascular disease, explains MayoClinic.com. Soluble fiber in Metamucil can also help stabilize your blood glucose, or blood sugar, which is of high importance if you have diabetes. Additionally, since soluble fiber sits in your digestive tract for an extended period of time, it can help with satiety. You'll be less likely to overeat or snack in between meals.
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