Everything You Need To Know About Prebiotic Fiber Supplements

prebiotic fiber

Do you need help figuring out how to supplement with prebiotic fiber?

You probably already know how amazingly beneficial prebiotics are… and if you don’t, then jump over to our 411 about prebiotics and quickly get up to speed.

So, you want to include prebiotics into your diet, but the question is how?

It can be pretty tricky.

But that’s why we’re here! :)

We’ll make this as easy as possible and get you feeling fantastic ASAP.

So sit back and relax while we enlighten you on all things prebiotic related.

Why Should You Take A Prebiotic Fiber Supplement?

Prebiotics are probiotics’ little helpers.

They act like a fertilizer for friendly bacteria.

And the more good bacteria the better!

Research shows that both parties work hand in hand to keep you healthy.

So it’s important to get an adequate amount of prebiotics in your diet.

Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done.

That’s because our current diets are tragically low in fiber.

Our ancestors ate a whopping 135 grams of prebiotics every day.

Holy crap!  (Emphasis on the latter word…)

But it gave them exceptionally functioning digestive tracts and kept them healthy, nourished, and fueled.

Their diets were largely made up of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and roots.

All of these foods are rich in nutrients, especially prebiotics.

Nowadays, we’re lucky if we get even a tiny fraction of that amount.

On average, Americans only get about 10 – 15 grams of fiber a day.

Our modern diets are stripped of vital nutrients and replaced with heavily processed, easy meals.

This swap leaves our diets severely lacking in so many areas.

Insert prebiotic supplements…

These supplements help bridge our massive fiber gap.

They’re a convenient, surefire way to ensure you’re getting what you need.

It’s basically an easy button for digestive health.

What Are The Different Types?

different types of fiber

Prebiotics are little fiber chameleons that come in many forms.

All prebiotics are fiber but not all fiber is a prebiotic.

It’s important to know what you’re looking for.

Here are the most common types of prebiotics that you’ll see in supplements and food:

  • Inulin
  • Oligosaccharides (the best-known prebiotics)
    • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
    • Oligofructose (OF)
    • Galactooligosaccharides (GOS)
    • Transgalactooligosaccharides (TOS)
  • Polydextrose
  • Psyllium
  • Acai gum
  • Lactulose
  • Lafinose
  • Wheat dextrin
  • Resistant starch (RS)

While looking for the right supplement, your best bet is to find one with Oligosaccharides, particularly Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), or Inulin.

These are considered first generation prebiotics and are the most common and researched of all the different types.

What’s The Correct Daily Amount?

daily amount

The whole point of taking a supplement is to guarantee you’re getting a sufficient amount.

But that’s hard to do when you have no idea how much you need.

The exact requirements fluctuate somewhat depending on each person and their unique situation.

But there’s an easy range you can use to decipher how much you need.

If you’re fit as a fiddle and things seem to be running smooth, you’re in the “maintenance” category.

The daily-recommended amount for “maintenance” is 5 – 10 grams of prebiotic fiber.

If you’re struggling a bit or have a digestive disorder or other issues, you need a little extra lovin’… so you’re in the “TLC” category.

The daily-recommended amount for some “TLC” is 10 – 20 grams.

Start off in the lower range and work your way up until you find your prebiotic sweet spot.

When Is The Best Time To Take Them?

best time to take

Some supplements are more effective when you take them during certain times of the day.

Others are negatively affected by various foods or medications.

Thankfully, prebiotics are rather robust.

This means you’re free to take them at whatever time works best for you.

Just make sure you read the directions beforehand, in case your supplement has any specific suggestions.

Other than that, the key is consistency.

Get into the habit of taking it at the same time every day.

Make a routine and stick to it.

Mornings usually work best for people.

The consistency is crucial because your healthy gut bacteria require a steady stream of nutrients (aka prebiotic fiber).

If you starve your friendly bacteria, they’ll stop multiplying and eventually die off.

This opens the door for unhealthy bacteria.

One perk is that you can take your prebiotics with your probiotics (the good guys).

There are even probiotic supplements that contain prebiotics, as well.

It’s like a double-edged sword for your belly.

Probiotics to repopulate your good bacteria and prebiotics to continually nourish and maintain them.

Are There Any Side Effects?

side effects

The positive effects of probiotics are vast, but are there any negative effects?

The only potential side effects are abdominal bloating and discomfort when large amounts are consumed.

Large quantities of prebiotics offer up a great deal of food for a wide range of gut bacteria.

When excessive amounts are fermented, it can lead to gas and bloating.

That’s why it’s important to stick to the recommended dosage on the pack.

If you’re new to prebiotics, it usually takes a few days for your body to get adjusted to it.

Once your belly bacteria become acquainted with this new food source, you’ll gradually start noticing better digestion and overall gut health.

There’s also mixed findings whether individuals with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), or FODMAP intolerance should take prebiotics.

Some people with those conditions find these fibers worsen their symptoms.

Those with SIBO already have an abundance of bacteria and sometimes adding prebiotics (essentially bacteria fertilizer) doesn’t help.

Prebiotics can be high in FODMAPs.

FODMAPs are a group of short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols naturally found in foods and in food additives.

Individuals with IBS or FODMAP intolerance may have a hard time processing prebiotics and it may aggravate their symptoms (bloating, constipation, gas, diarrhea).

If you find yourself feeling bloated, sick, or sluggish after eating high FODMAP foods, then it’s probably best to steer clear of prebiotic supplements.

On the other hand, numerous research studies show that prebiotics may alleviate and prevent issues like IBS, SIBO, and other digestive disorders.

Prebiotics, along with probiotics, are considered to be some of the main ways to treat these very problems.

So, you may benefit from starting off with a very low dose then gradually increase and see how you feel!

A Final Wrap Up 

Now you’re equipped with everything you need to know about prebiotic fiber supplements.

They’re fantastic for your health and supercharge the effects of probiotics – your friendly neighborhood gut bacteria.

Look for a supplement with FOS or Inulin and make sure you take them every day.

Stick to the dosage on the package and keep your category’s (maintenance or TLC) daily amount in mind.

Once you’re consistently taking your supplements, your body will begin to flourish and you’ll reap the amazing benefits!

Tags: , , , , , ,

About the Author

About the Author: Kate Watson is the Lead Researcher and Founder of ProbioticsGuide.com. Kate started this site after successfully using probiotics to treat some digestive issues she'd had since childhood. In her free time Kate loves nothing more than a good book (and a good glass of wine).