The Best Fiber Supplements of 2022 for Regularity

Konsyl Daily Psyllium Fiber can improve diarrhea, constipation, and health

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Garden of Life Dr Formulated Organic Fiber Supplement Powder

Verywell Health / Peter Ardito

Consuming enough fiber is important for both digestive and overall health. While it's best to consume fiber from food sources, “realistically, it can be hard to eat the exact required doses of fiber day in and day out, so a daily supplement can be used to regulate symptoms,” says Laura Frado, MS, MD.

A fiber supplement can help with diarrhea, constipation, or both, and fiber sources that function as both foods and supplements may also help prevent chronic diseases like type II diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. But not all fiber supplements are created equal—and not everyone actually needs to take one. It's essential to choose a fiber product that is both backed by clinical evidence and a good match for you. “Not all fiber works for all symptoms,” says Frado. Understanding the effects of different fiber types and dosages is key when considering supplements.

If you have a specific health condition, it’s important to speak with a healthcare provider before trying a product, as some fiber supplements can make particular conditions worse. To recommend the best fiber supplements for digestive symptoms, our GI dietitian used the latest research, her experience working with hundreds of patients, and the insights of trusted colleagues to provide evidence-based guidance. Half of these products may also help improve blood sugar control and lower cholesterol, so they may help both your belly and your long-term health.

Verywell Health Approved Fiber Supplements

  • Best Overall: Konsyl Daily Psyllium Fiber is an organic, mostly soluble fiber with research to support its benefits for treatment of constipation, diarrhea, and helping regulate blood sugar and cholesterol.
  • Best for Occasional Constipation: Spectrum Essentials Ground Flaxseed is a simple, versatile, organic ground seed that may help alleviate constipation and provide other health benefits.

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and which dosage to take.

Fiber Supplements for both Diarrhea & Constipation

Soluble fibers, which dissolve in water and form a gel to form well-hydrated stool, help with both diarrhea and constipation. Research has shown that fiber supplements can also help with all three types of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Psyllium husk & methylcellulose are soluble fibers that work well for both constipation and diarrhea.

Calcium-polycarbophil is a non-fermentable insoluble fiber that acts like soluble fiber, making it effective for both constipation and diarrhea.

Registered Dietitian and author Tamara Duker Freuman MS, RD, CDN notes that her patients "often use the term ‘life-changing’ when referring to the effect of a well-chosen fiber supplement on their diarrhea." However, if you have diarrhea without a known cause, a supplement will not solve the underlying issue. It is important to work with a healthcare provider to find the underlying cause and get the appropriate treatment.

Fiber for Constipation

While most fiber products claim to alleviate constipation, only a few fiber supplement sources have clinically proven benefits. Insoluble fibers stimulate your colon to make water and mucus, helping to build soft, easily passed stool.

Flaxseed and coarse wheat bran are insoluble fibers which act as laxatives and stimulate the colon to make water and mucus, aiding with constipation.

Soluble fermentable fibers do not have great evidence for treatment of chronic constipation (such as IBS-C). These fibers include: 

  • inulin
  • fructooligosaccharides
  • wheat dextrin
  • fine wheat bran

Who May Not Benefit From Fiber Supplements

Fiber supplements are safe for most people, though some conditions require caution. 

Avoid fiber supplementation if you:

  • Have difficulty swallowing
  • Have impacted stool (stool that is hardened and stuck)
  • Have bowel obstruction (blocked small or large intestine) 
  • Have esophageal stricturing (narrowing of the esophagus) 
  • Have active intestinal inflammation: such as diverticulitis and moderate to severe inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis
  • Already get adequate fiber: If you get enough dietary fiber from the food you eat, you may not benefit from a fiber supplement. Excess fiber can lead to constipation, gas, bloating, or diarrhea if added too quickly or with inadequate water intake.

Speak with a healthcare provider before starting a fiber supplement if you:

  • Have slow transit constipation
  • Have pelvic floor dysfunction
  • Have gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying)
  • Have had recent gastrointestinal surgery 
  • Are severely backed up: You may need to consider a laxative course to clear out excess stool before adding fiber.
  • Have an unaddressed infection or disease that causes irregular bowel habits: You may not benefit from fiber supplements until the condition is treated by a healthcare provider.
  • Take prescription medication or dietary supplements: Some fiber products can interfere with absorption of medications and supplements, so it’s best to speak with a knowledgeable healthcare provider about possible interactions before beginning supplementation.

A Note of Caution for Those with Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Keep in mind that if the underlying cause of your symptoms is related to an untreated condition, fiber may be unhelpful or make things worse. If you have ongoing or worsening gastrointestinal symptoms such as severe constipation, diarrhea, or abdominal pain, it’s best to work with a healthcare provider to clarify the nature of the condition before supplementing fiber.

Best Overall: Konsyl Daily Psyllium Fiber

Konsyl Daily Psyllium Fiber

Source: Konsyl

Pros
  • Organic 

  • Most research-backed benefits 

  • Suitable for diarrhea and constipation

  • Proven to help lower LDL cholesterol

Cons
  • Thickens quickly in liquid

What do buyers say? 76% of 400+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

Of all the supplemental fiber types, we recommend Konsyl's Daily Psyllium because psyllium holds the strongest evidence for digestive health benefits. Konsyl is a mostly soluble fiber that comes from the husks of Plantago ovata plant seeds. As it gels, it takes on a lot of moisture so it works to add soft bulk to your poop. Research supports psyllium’s significant benefits for treatment of functional constipation and its ability to alleviate diarrhea. As a bonus to helping with digestive conditions, psyllium can also improve blood sugar control and lower LDL cholesterol.

Although psyllium is sold in many supplements, we prefer Konsyl’s organic ground psyllium husk because it is free of added ingredients which can worsen symptoms, such as sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners. Konsyl is available in a powder and a convenient capsule form, though it may take a larger dose (5 capsules) to equal one serving of powder. Psyllium gets gooey in cold liquids, so avoid letting it sit for long. Instead, you can add this flavorless product to a wide variety of recipes and prepared foods, such as smoothies and smoothie bowls, oatmeal, and baked goods.

Key fiber source: Psyllium Husk | Serving size: 1 -3 teaspoons (6g each) | Amount of fiber per serving: 5 -15 g | Contains Additives: No

Best for Diarrhea: FiberCon Fiber Therapy for Regularity

FiberCon Fiber Therapy for Regularity

Source: FiberCon

Pros
  • Non-fermentable (no gas)

  • Convenient pill form 

  • Suitable for all forms of IBS, diarrhea, constipation, and urgency,

  • Large bulking potential

Cons
  • Large pills to swallow

  • Less readily available 

We recommend FiberCon for how effective it is regardless of which stool difficulties you experience. Although this unique synthetic fiber is 100% insoluble, it acts a lot like soluble fiber as it takes on a significant amount of water in your colon (FiberCon claims to swell to 60 times its weight in water). This is very desirable for people with diarrhea since it can firm up and slow down stool, but it can also add soft bulky mass to dry/hard to pass poop. 

FiberCon is a dynamic product and has been shown to improve pooping regularity and discomfort in people with IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D), IBS-mixed type (alternating constipation and diarrhea), as well as IBS with constipation (IBS-C).

The main ingredient of FiberCon, calcium polycarbophil, is also unlike most purely insoluble fiber supplements in that it resists gut fermentation so it is non-gassy. Just 2 pills (1 gram of fiber) is a standard dose versus 4 or more capsules suggested for other products. FiberCon’s pill form is easy to remember and good for transport, but the larger pills are not appropriate if you have swallowing difficulties.

Key fiber source: Calcium Polycarbophil | Daily Serving size: 2 pills (1250 mg) | Amount of fiber per serving: 1 g | Contains Additives: Yes 

Best for Occasional Constipation: Spectrum Essentials Flaxseed

Spectrum Essentials Flaxseed

Source: Spectrum

Pros
  • Organic

  • Contains omega-3 fatty acids 

  • Easy to add to food/baking

Cons
  • May cause gas  

  • Less convenient

  • Not a good choice for IBS-D

We love that Spectrum's milled flax is a simple, organic ground seed that may help alleviate constipation and provide other health benefits. One study found ground flaxseed worked better than psyllium to improve pooping frequency amongst constipated patients, while another study found it to be superior to the effect of lactulose (a laxative).

Compared to whole flaxseed, Spectrum’s milled flax enhances its water absorption in the digestive tract, which means it can add soft bulk to stool for constipation relief. If you are looking for a whole-food based fiber aid, add a serving of Spectrum’s ground flaxseed to oatmeal, yogurt parfaits, or even as a plant-based substitute for eggs in baking. It can offer a nice nutty flavor, but note that it readily gels with moisture so it may be best to start with a small amount in food. If you have diarrhea, adding a flax meal supplement will likely not be beneficial.

As a bonus, Spectrum’s Organic Ground Flaxseed contains 2.9 grams of health-promoting Omega 3 fatty acids per serving and may help lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar control.

Key fiber source: Ground flaxseed | Daily Serving size: 2 Tablespoons (14mg) | Amount of fiber per serving: 3 g | Contains Additives: No

Best for Alternating Diarrhea and Constipation: Citrucel Methylcellulose Fiber Therapy Caplets for Irregularity

Citrucel Methylcellulose Fiber Therapy Caplets for Irregularity

Source: Citrucel

Pros
  • Non-fermentable (no gas)

  • Convenient capsule form 

  • Suitable for multiple bowel patterns—IBS-D, IBS-M, diarrhea 

Cons
  • Limited clinical research  

  • More capsules needed per dose

  • Not a good choice for those with IBS-C

A full dose of Citrucel contains 2 grams of methylcellulose, a 100% soluble, gelling fiber that can alleviate multiple bowel troubles. This particular synthetic fiber has a soft bulk-forming property which is desirable for constipation as well as diarrhea. As soluble fiber absorbs water, it can slow down watery or urgent stools. At the same time, the fiber water absorption hydrates dry stool. It’s a win-win. Citrucel comes in a convenient pill form, and its low fermentation rate in the gut makes it unlikely to cause gas. 

Although studies have demonstrated the stool regulating benefits of soluble fiber, methylcellulose specifically has not been widely studied. However, this fiber supplement is worth a try if you have IBS mixed type (alternating diarrhea and constipation), diarrhea predominant IBS, or general constipation, though it may not be effective if you have IBS-C.

Key fiber source: Methylcellulose | Daily Serving size: 4 capsules (2000mg) | Amount of fiber per serving: 2 g | Contains Additives: Yes

Final Verdict

With the diversity of fiber types and products available, customizing to your individual symptoms is key. If you have chronic constipation or IBS, Konsyl Daily Psyllium Fiber may be a good normalizing fiber backed by quality research. If you have chronic diarrhea or experience pooping urgency, FiberCon Fiber Therapy for Regularity Caplets with Calcium Polycarbophil may help regulate your movements. If you are unsure of whether adding fiber is appropriate, consult a GI-specialized registered dietitian who can help you navigate options and set a fiber plan.

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here. 

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. We prioritize products that are third-party tested and certified by one of three independent, third party certifiers: USP, NSF, or ConsumerLab. 

It's important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

What to Look For

Third-Party Testing

Supplements that are third-party tested are sent to a lab where they are tested to ensure they contain what they say they contain and are not contaminated with specific high-risk, common contaminants. However, it’s important to note:

  1. Third party testing does not test to see if a product is effective or safe for everyone, and it does not ensure the supplement will not interact with other supplements or medications.
  2. Not all third-party testing is created equal. It is not uncommon for supplement companies to pay labs for certificates after conducting minimal to no testing. 
  3. The third party certifications we can trust are: ConsumerLab, NSF, and USP. However, these certifications are difficult to obtain and/or expensive for manufacturers, so many companies choose not to get their products tested by one of these three organizations. 
  4. Sometimes products tested by these three companies are more expensive to try to offset the cost they pay for certification.
  5. Just because a supplement is not tested by one of these three companies, it does not mean it’s a bad product. We recommend doing some research on the reputability of the manufacturer, and calling up the manufacturer and their testing lab to determine their protocols and decide if you feel comfortable consuming the supplement.

Most specific fiber supplements containing the fiber types with the strongest evidence are not third-party tested and may contain additives. However, they are included here if there is good research to support their benefit for regularity. Those with food allergies or intolerances should examine product ingredients and labels, as there may be sources of cross-contamination. Some fiber sources may contain gluten and are unsafe if you have celiac disease. 

Form

Physical form: Fiber supplements are most commonly found in pill (capsule), gummy, or powdered forms.

  • Serving sizes can vary. For example, you may need to take more capsules or gummies to equal the same dose of a powdered form (i.e. 5 capsules versus 1 scoop of powder), which can make capsules and gummies more costly.
  • Some fiber powders can be added to liquid with no taste or texture change, while others gel with water and may work better in moist foods (i.e. smoothies, breakfast porridges, soups). 
  • Fiber gummies typically contain prebiotic fibers which may not be effective.

Natural versus synthetic: Fiber sources can also be natural or synthetic. Both synthetic and natural fibers have proven results for stool normalizing benefits.

  • Natural fibers include psyllium husk and flaxseed.
  • Synthetic fibers include methylcellulose and calcium polycarbophil.

Ingredients & Potential Interactions

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included, relative to the recommended daily value of that ingredient. Please bring the supplement label to a healthcare provider to review the different ingredients contained in the supplement and any potential interactions between these ingredients and other supplements and medications you are taking.

Sugar alcohols: Flavored fiber powders or gummies may include sweeteners known as sugar alcohols (i.e. xylitol or erythritol), which have been shown to promote gas and diarrhea.

Prebiotic fibers: Gummy products also usually contain inulin (chicory root fiber) or polydextrose fiber. Other fiber supplements may also contain prebiotic fibers as main ingredients, though there is limited evidence for their benefits for regularity, and they may cause bloating and abdominal pain. Aside from inulin, other examples include galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and beta glucans. Inulin is the most studied prebiotic and has some evidence for increasing stool frequency and beneficial gut bacteria, though with associated gas and bloating. If you have IBS or are already gassy, you may want to avoid prebiotic fibers until more data emerges for their use. 

Gluten: Some fiber sources may contain gluten and are unsafe for celiac disease. 

Probiotics: A number of fiber supplements include probiotics (specific strains of beneficial bacteria). However, there is not enough evidence that shows they are beneficial to help with pooping issues.

Interaction with medications: Fiber supplements may interfere with the body’s absorption of certain medications. It’s recommended that you take fiber 2-4 hours apart from medication, though always consult a healthcare provider about preexisting conditions and prescription regimens. Fiber supplements may interfere with:

  • tricyclic antidepressants (Amitriptyline, Doxepin, Imipramine)
  • diabetes medications (glyburide and metformin)
  • carbamazepine
  • cholesterol-lowering medications (Colestipol and cholestyramine)

If you take digoxin or lithium, you should avoid fiber supplements. Fiber can impact blood sugar levels so you should monitor your glycemic response if you have diabetes. 

Fiber Dosage

Fiber needs vary based on your age, pre-existing conditions, diet pattern, and overall digestive health. General dietary guidelines recommend about 25 to 34 grams of fiber per day from food sources. The adequate intake of dietary fiber is 14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed. Recommended dietary fiber goals by age and sex assigned at birth (based on Dietary Reference Intakes for total calories) are as follows:

· 2 to 3 years: 14 grams (Males and Females)

· 4 to 8 Years: Females - 17g, Males - 20g

· 9 to 13 Years: Females - 22g Males - 25g

· 14 to 18 Years: Females - 25g, Males - 31g,

· 19 to 30 Years: Females - 28g, Males - 34g,

· 31 to 50 Years: Females – 25g, Males – 31g

· 51+ Years: Females - 22g, Males - 28g

The guidelines for dietary fiber were developed based on whole food sources, not supplements. The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advises consuming fiber from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains to meet the recommended daily amount, though there are no set fiber amounts to prevent or treat gastrointestinal symptoms. In fact, fiber recommendations arose from a specific association between a high‐fiber diet and reduced risk for heart disease, not digestive disorders.

While individual fiber sources found in supplements have not been proven to provide the same benefits associated with a fiber-rich diet, they can still offer some help for pooping difficulties.  The amount of a fiber supplement needed to improve your bowel habit will depend on the product, your diet, fluid intake, and individual response. Supplemental fiber should always be added in slowly and per directions of a healthcare provider.

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and which dosage to take.

Too Much Fiber or Not Enough Fluids

While there is no Tolerable Upper Intake Level for fiber (the maximum daily amount that can be safely consumed), concentrated doses can cause constipation, gas, or bloating if you add it too quickly or without enough fluids.

Fiber supplements require adequate fluids. Most fiber supplements recommend 8 ounces of water with a standard dose, though individual product directions may vary. Inadequate fluid intake can cause the supplement to swell and lead to choking, blockages, or stool impaction, as well as gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and constipation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do fiber supplements cause gas?

    Fibers vary in their degree of fermentability, which is their digestion by our gut bacteria. As bacteria feed on fiber, they produce gas. Fiber types that are more fermentable, and more gassy, include inulin (chicory root fiber), guar gum, and polydextrose. Fibers with lower fermentability include flaxseed, psyllium, methylcellulose, and polycarbophil.

    However, even the least fermentable fibers can produce some gas or bloating at first. Laura Frado, MD, gastroenterologist at New York Gastroenterology Associates, always reminds her patients, "it may take some time for your body to adjust to the fiber load, but the gas usually improves over time by starting the dose low and slowly increasing."

    Flavored fiber supplements, such as gummies, may contain additional ingredients that promote gas production, so if you have IBS or you are prone to these symptoms, you may want to avoid these products. 

  • When is the best time to take fiber supplements?

    There is no single best time to take fiber, as it depends on your routine. Consider taking fiber five to eight hours before your usual bowel movement, since it takes time to reach the colon.

    If you usually poop in the morning (as is common us due to a higher level of a hormone called cortisol), fiber is likely best timed later at night. If you are typically going in the afternoon, fiber may work better for you if taken in the morning. If you have urgent diarrhea multiple times a day, it may be best to spread out the fiber dose.

    Finding the best time may take experimentation, but consider your typical pattern and ensure at least 8 ounces of liquid whenever you take it. 

  • What is the best supplement for constipation versus diarrhea?

    If you have constipation, insoluble fiber products with large, coarse particles can stimulate the colon walls and lead to increased water production to help improve regularity. Examples include ground flaxseed and coarse wheat bran.

    Soluble fiber, such as psyllium husk, is also helpful for managing constipation due to its softening and bulking property. Calcium polycarbophil, an insoluble fiber that mimics the action of soluble fiber, has also been shown to significantly improve constipation.

    If you are prone to diarrhea, soluble fiber has demonstrated dual benefits for its ability to absorb excess water and slow transit time. Products that can help with diarrhea management include psyllium husk and methylcellulose. Calcium polycarbophil has also been shown to be an effective tool for diarrhea since it adds soft bulk to a stool.

  • Do fiber supplements make you poop?

    The majority of fiber supplements aim to treat constipation and help you poop. Insoluble-rich fiber sources, such as ground flaxseed and coarse wheat bran, have a demonstrated laxative effect by stimulating the colon, while bulking agents such as psyllium and polycarbophil work to retain water in the stool.

    However, if going more is not your goal, a soluble fiber supplement can still offer a great benefit for regularity without causing excessive pooping. Its dynamic ability to absorb water means that it can both soften dried out poop and absorb excess liquid to prevent diarrhea.


  • Do fiber supplements cause constipation?

    Fiber-related constipation can come from too much or too rapid intake, or from inadequate water. Gradual incorporation and fluids are key! Some fiber supplements also decrease poop moisture, which can lead to constipation. Products including wheat dextrin and finely ground wheat bran have been shown to have this effect.

    If you have constipation or dry, hard to pass stools, a fiber supplement with a good water-holding capacity, such as psyllium, polycarbophil, or methylcellulose may be a good fit. If you are very backed up, you may benefit from clearing stool with a laxative course before adding fiber.

Why Trust Verywell Health

Suzie Finkel, MS, RD, CDN is a Registered Dietitian specializing in the nutritional management of digestive problems. She holds a master’s degree in nutrition from Columbia University and has trained in numerous clinical gastroenterology settings. As a GI dietitian, she provides evidence-based nutrition services for an array of conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), constipation, and diarrhea. She utilizes fiber therapy often to help her patients improve their symptoms. Her goal is to demystify nutrition (mis)information and facilitate digestive comfort.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading

By Suzie Finkel MS RD CDN
She serves as a staff dietitian at a premier gastroenterology practice.Suzie is the founder of Well Digested Nutrition, a virtual nutrition education and consulting service.She completed clinical training at the Mount Sinai Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center and research at the Columbia University Celiac Disease Center in New York City.