Most Americans don't get anywhere near the recommended amount of 20 to 35 grams per day of fiber. Taking a fiber supplement, like Benefiber, can help improve your fiber intake and lower your risk for constipation. Although the wheat dextrin that makes up Benefiber is generally regarded as safe, if you don't use this product properly, you could experience some unpleasant side effects.
Gastrointestinal Side Effects
Gastrointestinal side effects can sometimes occur with the use of Benefiber or other fiber supplements, including upset stomach, a full feeling, gastrointestinal pain, flatulence, nausea, diarrhea, gas and bloating. These symptoms tend to occur within a few hours of taking Benefiber. Unlike psyllium-based fiber supplements, Benefiber doesn't expand in water, so it doesn't pose a risk of choking.
Allergy and Intolerance Issues
Although Benefiber contains under 20 parts per million of gluten, allowing it to be labeled gluten-free, these small amounts can be a concern for some people. If you have celiac disease, you should avoid taking Benefiber. Some versions of Benefiber contain lactose and should be avoided by those who have a milk allergy or an intolerance to lactose. Likewise, if you feel that aspartame bothers you, read the labels of the different Benefiber varieties, as some contain this artificial sweetener.
Potential Medication Interactions
Fiber supplements can interact with some medications, interfering with their effectiveness. If you take anti-depressants, diabetes medications, cholesterol-lowering medications, the seizure medication carbamazepine, lithium or digoxin, speak with your doctor before taking fiber supplements. In some cases, taking Benefiber two to four hours before or after your medication can limit the risk for interaction.
Minimizing Side Effects
Taking a few simple steps can help you minimize the gastrointestinal side effects that sometimes occur when taking fiber supplements. First, be sure to drink a full glass of water or other noncarbonated beverage each time you take your supplement, and get plenty of water throughout the day. Your body needs more water as you consume more fiber. Second, increase your fiber intake gradually so your body has time to adjust. Start with the minimum dose once a day, and gradually increase your intake, making sure not to exceed the maximum recommended intake for your Benefiber supplement.
- Photo Credit Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images
Is Phenylalanine Bad for You?
Phenylalanine is an alpha essential amino acid, meaning that it must be taken in through the diet to get enough. It is...
Difference Between Wheat Dextrin and Psyllium Husk
Adding more fiber to your diet can help lower your risk of heart disease and constipation and may help with weight loss...
Side Effects of Metamucil
Metamucil is a fiber laxative used to treat constipation. As with almost every medicinal drug, Metamucil has some side effects that the...
What Is the Difference Between Miralax & Metamucil?
Over-the-counter remedies for constipation vary in content and in the way they work. Two well-known products--Metamucil and Miralax--can relieve symptoms of constipation...
Inulin Vs. Psyllium Fiber
Countless studies have proven that adding dietary fiber helps prevent a number of serious chronic illnesses. Inulin and psyllium are two popular...
What Is Benefiber Used for?
A fiber intake of 20 to 35 grams a day is recommended by the American Diabetic Association. Most people don't eat this...
How to Treat Diarrhea
Diarrhea is characterized by excess water in the stool and can be quite debilitating. The cause may vary from tainted food or...
How to Use Benefiber in Baking
Benefiber is a fiber supplement that has wheat dextrin, a component that dissolves easily into liquids or foods to help you get...
Benefiber Active Ingredients
Benefiber is a nutritional supplement that is taste and sugar-free, and is made of 100 percent natural fiber. It can be dissolved...
Metamucil for Weight Loss
Most Americans don't get nearly enough fiber, which is unfortunate, because a high-fiber diet may improve bowel health, stabilize energy levels and...