If you suffer from IBS, you might have a tricky relationship with fiber. While other people rave about how it helps them with gas, constipation, diarrhea, and tons of other digestive issues, it just gives you stomach aches, painful bloating, and embarrassing levels of gas. But then sometimes it… actually helps? 🥴 The truth is, while some types of fiber have a negative effect on people with IBS, there’s one specific type of fiber that can actually benefit IBS symptoms—and it can be found in psyllium husk.
We know what you’re thinking: “Types of fiber?” 🤔 Yup, fiber can be categorized in many different ways. There’s short-chain and long-chain fiber, which refers to its molecular structure. Some fiber ferments in the gut while others don’t; they’re referred to as fermentable and non-fermentable fiber, respectively. There’s soluble fiber, which dissolves in water, and insoluble fiber, which doesn’t. Soluble fiber can also be categorized as viscous (gel-forming) or non-viscous, with different levels of viscosity (gel-forming-ness—let’s pretend it’s a word).
...while some types of fiber have a negative effect on people with IBS, there’s one specific type of fiber that can actually benefit IBS symptoms—and it can be found in psyllium husk.
Still with us? 😅 Great. As we were saying, there’s one specific type of fiber that benefits people with IBS, based on all of these classifications: long-chain, intermediate viscous, soluble, and moderately fermentable dietary fiber. This is the type that creates minimal gas while working in the gut, and has been proven to improve symptoms of IBS, specifically the types that come with constipation and diarrhea.
You can’t exactly walk into a grocery store and find a shelf with Long-Chain, Intermediate Viscous, Soluble, and Moderately Fermentable Dietary Fiber, though. Fortunately, you can find it in psyllium husk. That’s “silly-um” husk—it’s a type of fiber made from the seeds of a plant called Plantago ovata. Due to its special gelling properties, it’s often used as a fiber supplement to help regulate digestion and bowel movements.
So, if IBS has been interrupting your life, psyllium husk fiber may be the answer. Just talk to your doctor first to confirm that it’s right for you, and to help create a full, specialized diet for your symptoms. 👍