- Promotes good digestion and healthy bowel function.
- Supports a healthy heart, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Bolsters cardiovascular health and helps maintain healthy insulin levels and lipid profiles.
- Helps members maintain a healthy weight and control the appetite.
Today, few get the fiber they need on a daily basis. The recommended amount of fiber is 30 grams a day. It's best to get fiber from a wide range of sources, including legumes, whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables, in addition to dietary supplementation.
Soluble fiber, found in oats and apple pectin, as well as many other foods, traps bile acids and carries cholesterol out of the body. Insoluble fiber, found in wheat and other grains, absorbs water and has a laxative effect. Both soluble and insoluble fiber are part of a healthy diet.
Epidemiologic studies of cardiovascular health in different countries have suggested that dietary fiber likely plays a protective role in the body. Within a similar population, a large intake of fiber is associated with supporting a healthy heart, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Apple pectin and oat bran (both soluble fibers) have been reported to have hypo-cholesterolemic effects in both animals and man, with the effect being proportional to the degree of cholesterol elevation.
Dietary fiber is also thought to bolster cardiovascular health and maintain healthy weight, insulin levels, and lipid profile.
The old adage, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is actually based on scientific evidence. Eating two to three apples a day can actually help support healthy cholesterol levels. Apple pectin, believed to be a primary contributor to healthy cholesterol levels, is a soluble fiber (polysaccharide) obtained from the inner portion of the rind of fruits such as apples (and also plums, grapefruit, etc.). Pectin is found in the cell walls of plant tissue and helps give plants rigidity.
Pectin, which acts as an adsorbent, is also considered helpful for maintaining healthy elimination.
Oat bran is milled from the outer layer of hulled whole oats and is made up of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Oat bran contains oat gum or beta-glucan, a soluble polysaccharide. Oatmeal and oat bran have been considered heart healthy for years, with the FDA permitting claims since the mid-1990's. When the FDA reviewed a petition by the Quaker Oats Company in 1995, they found that studies on oatmeal and oat bran demonstrated significant scientific agreement regarding the beneficial effects. The FDA agreed with most dietary experts that eating oatmeal or oat bran can help maintain cardiovascular health when part of an overall diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Additionally, taking oat bran orally seems to support healthy blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.
The beta-glucan in oat bran may help control appetite by slowing stomach emptying, prolonging the feeling of fullness and stabilizing blood sugar.
Psyllium is from the plantago ovata plant and includes both the seed and the husk. The FDA also allows the following claim for psyllium: Eating soluble fiber from foods such as psyllium as part of a diet low in saturated fat cholesterol may improve heart health. Psyllum is a more concentrated soluble fiber (a whopping 71% soluble fiber with 15% insoluble fiber thrown in) compared to oat bran and apple pectin.
Psyllium is actually not digested, but it absorbs liquid in the intestines, swells, and forms a bulky stool, which is easy to pass. While psyllium is often considered merely a natural laxative, it also has the ability to increase fecal viscosity of loose stools.
- Pectin acts as an adsorbent and bulk-forming agent and can interfere with drug and nutrient absorption.
- Fiber can cause gastrointestinal problems if not introduce slowly. It is recommended that people gradually increase fiber intake and drink plenty of water each day (at least 8 glasses) for maximum comfort.
- Digoxin (Lanoxin), Lovastatin (Mevacor), Tetracycline (Achromycin, Sumycin): Concomitant use of pectin can interfere with the intestinal absorption of these drugs.
- Oat bran can cause reactions in people with gluten allergy, due to its gluten content. Oat bran is contraindicated in individuals with celiac disease due to gluten content.
- Oat bran and psyllium are contraindicated in people with intestinal ulcerations, stenosis, disabling adhesions, cathartic colon or other conditions that may result in intestinal or esophageal obstruction. Use with caution or avoid in people with difficulty chewing or swallowing food, or conditions that decrease small bowel motility.