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Fiber supplements: Safe to take every day?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fiber-supplements/AN00130
- With Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist
Michael F. Picco, M.D.read biographyclose window
Michael F. Picco, M.D.Michael F. Picco, M.D.
Dr. Michael Picco has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999. He is board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology. Dr. Picco is an assistant professor of medicine at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, and a consultant in gastroenterology at Mayo Clinic in Florida.
He has authored numerous publications in the area of gastroenterology, including original research, editorials and textbook chapters. He works with a team of gastroenterologists that takes care of complex gastrointestinal conditions and has a particular interest in diarrheal illnesses and inflammatory bowel diseases (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease). He is also active in medical education in training new gastroenterologist and internists.
"Mayo Clinic's website is an invaluable resource for patients and their families," Dr. Picco said. "Informed patients are better able to participate in their own health care. A patient's participation is vital to the treatment of his or her disease. I hope to assist in helping patients understand their digestive problems and current treatments that are offered. This will allow for better communication between patients, their physicians and other health care professionals."
Dr. Picco serves as a reviewer of new research for several medical journals in the area of gastroenterology and is an active member of the American Gastroenterological Association, American College of Gastroenterology and the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. He serves on numerous committees that address physician training, research and clinical practice in gastroenterology, both at Mayo Clinic and at the national level.
"Patients need to know about their disease, what to expect, the latest treatments and side effects so that they can make informed decisions about their health care. Gastrointestinal disease affects not only patients but also their families. My goal is to assure that our website provides accurate, reliable information and resources for patients. We must always provide the latest, most cutting-edge information to assist patients in dealing with their medical problems," Dr. Picco said.
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Fiber supplements: Safe to take every day?
I find it difficult to eat enough fruits and vegetables. Is there any harm in taking a fiber supplement every day?
from Michael F. Picco, M.D.
There's no evidence that daily use of fiber supplements — such as psyllium (Metamucil, Konsyl, others) or methylcellulose (Citrucel) — is harmful.
Fiber has a number of health benefits, including normalizing bowel function and preventing constipation. It's best to get fiber from food, because supplements don't provide the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that fiber-rich foods do. But fiber supplements can contribute to the recommended daily intake.
Fiber supplements can cause abdominal bloating and gas, at least initially. So if you have intestinal problems, talk to your doctor before adding a fiber supplement to your diet. It's also a good idea to ask your doctor or pharmacist whether fiber supplements interact with any medications you take.
Fiber supplements can decrease the absorption of certain medications, such as aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin) and carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol). Fiber supplements can also reduce blood sugar levels, which may require an adjustment in your medications or insulin if you have diabetes.
If you plan to take fiber supplements, start with small amounts to avoid problems with gas and be sure to drink plenty of fluids every day.Next question
Ground flaxseed: Better than whole?
- Duyff RL. American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. 4th ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons; 2012:63.
- Slavin JL. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Health implications of dietary fiber. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2008;108:1716.
- Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. Aug. 21, 2012.
- Methylcellulose. Lexi-Interact. Lexi-Comp. http://www.uptodate.com/crlsql/interact/frameset.jsp. Accessed Aug. 21, 2012.
- Psyllium. Lexi-Interact. Lexi-Comp. http://www.uptodate.com/crlsql/interact/frameset.jsp. Accessed Aug. 21, 2012.
- Blonde psyllium. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Aug. 21, 2012.
- Wald A. Management of chronic constipation in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 21, 2012.