I find it difficult to eat enough fruits and vegetables. Is there any harm in taking a fiber supplement every day?

Answer 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. If you have intestinal problems, such as a history of a bowel blockage or Crohn's disease, 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, carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, others) and others. 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 minimize problems with gas. Also be sure to drink plenty of fluids every day.

Oct. 25, 2018 See more Expert Answers

See also

  1. Add flax to your baking
  2. Are you getting enough calcium?
  3. Calcium: Building better bones
  4. Calcium
  5. Calcium supplements for men
  6. Timing calcium supplements
  7. Can low vitamin D cause high blood pressure?
  8. Can vitamins help prevent a heart attack?
  9. Can zinc supplements help treat hidradenitis suppurativa?
  10. Dietary supplements: Skip megadoses
  11. Vitamin C and mood
  12. Eye vitamins: Can they prevent or treat glaucoma?
  13. Flaxseed best when ground
  14. Flaxseed for breakfast?
  15. Ground flaxseed
  16. Heartburn medicines and B-12 deficiency
  17. Herbal supplements
  18. Integrative medicine: Different techniques, one goal
  19. Kratom and pregnancy: Not a safe mix
  20. Multivitamins for kids
  21. Nutrition: Does it come in a pill?
  22. Nutrition know-how: Why whole food counts
  23. Percent Daily Value
  24. Prebiotics, probiotics and your health
  25. Prenatal vitamins
  26. Magnesium supplements
  27. Nutritional supplements
  28. Are dietary supplements right for you?
  29. Bromelain
  30. Calories and nutrients to fuel sports performance
  31. Curcumin
  32. Dietary supplements: What to know before you buy
  33. Is your dietary supplement safe?
  34. Melatonin
  35. Smart practices for healthy living
  36. Tips for staying supplement savvy
  37. What are omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil?
  38. What are probiotics?
  39. What are multivitamin/mineral dietary supplements?
  40. What is Boswellia?
  41. What is ginger?
  42. What is whey protein?
  43. Vitamin C megadoses
  44. Vitamin C: An essential nutrient
  45. Vitamin D and MS: Any connection?
  46. Vitamin D: Can it prevent Alzheimer's & dementia?
  47. Vitamin D deficiency
  48. Vitamin D: Essential with calcium
  49. Vitamin D for babies
  50. Vitamin D toxicity
  51. Vitamins for MS: Do supplements make a difference?
  52. What does a 'seal of approval' mean?
  53. Wheatgrass