If you suffer from digestive distress, your fibre intake has probably been targeted as a cause for your symptoms. Fibre is important to keep us regular, promote steady blood sugar levels, keep us full in between meals, and manage blood cholesterol. However, most people don’t get enough fibre in their day to gain these benefits.
Fibre and Digestion
The type of fibre you add into your diet, and how you increase your intake can have a big part to play in how your body responds and whether or not your symptoms will improve or worsen. Read our article “What’s all the fuss about fibre?” to learn more about how to include fibre in your diet if you have IBS. Increasing fibre intake doesn’t work for everyone, but there seems to be a new contender in the world of fibre supplements that’s turning heads with its impressive list of Health Canada claims specifically related to improving symptoms of IBS.
What is Sunfiber?
Sunfiber is a soluble fibre supplement made from guar gum. Guar gum is a common food additive that is used as a thickener and stabilizer in many products. In this new supplement, it is processed slightly differently, leading to some major benefits as a fibre supplement for those of us with IBS! The guar gum is processed so that the molecules are broken down into about one tenth of their original size, resulting in what is known as partially hydrolyzed guar gum, or PHGG.
Is Guar Gum Safe?
Guar gum is extracted from the beans of the guar plant. Aside from improving the texture of foods like yogurt, coconut milk, and salad dressings, it’s actually been shown to reduce blood cholesterol and have a positive effect on controlling blood sugar levels! There is a large body of evidence to suggest that guar gum is safe to consume and well tolerated by most people.
Photo credit: www.sunfiber.com
Does Sunfiber Work?
Numerous studies support PHGG’s effectiveness in relieving symptoms of IBS. Here are a few key findings that really stand out:
• PHGG was better tolerated and preferred by IBS patients as compared to wheat bran (meaning you’re more likely to keep taking it and continue to see results).
• A five gram daily dose of PGHH has been shown to normalize bowel habits in all three variants of IBS (constipation, diarrhea and mixed).
• PHGG improves gut health by increasing the number of beneficial gut bacteria (Bifidobacterium and lactobacilli probiotic species).
• A six gram daily dose of PHGG for 12 weeks resulted in a significant improvement in bloating and gas in IBS patients as compared to a placebo, and effects lasted 4 weeks after stopping the supplementation.
Health Canada Approved Claims
The following claims have been approved by Health Canada for Sunfiber. A five gram serving of Sunfiber may help:
• Improve bowel regularity in people with IBS
• Relieve constipation and gastrointestinal discomfort in people with IBS
• Reduce the frequency of bowel irregularity and abdominal discomfort in people with IBS, including flatulence, bloating, dyspepsia (indigestion), and altered bowel habits
• Relieve bowel irregularity, bloating, and other gastrointestinal symptoms in people with IBS
Where Can I Buy Sunfiber?
Sunfiber can be purchased at many health food stores, including select Whole Foods and GNC locations. Our best advice is for you to contact your local stores to see if they have the product available. You can also purchase it online through Amazon.
It’s not often that we get excited about specific products and supplements, but with a large body of scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness (specifically with IBS patients!), we couldn’t wait to share it with you! While we have yet to see how it works for clients in our own practice, we are hopeful that it will bring some much needed relief to those suffering with IBS. Be sure to let us know if you decide to give it a try and share your experience in the comments below.
Much love and good eating,
Stephanie and the Team
Want to read more into the research behind partially hydrolyzed guar gum fibre supplements? Here are the references we used:
Yoon S, Chu D, Juneja LR. Chemical and physical properties, safety and application of partially hydrolyzed guar gum as dietary fiber. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2008;42:1-7.
Niv E, Halak A, Tiommny E, Yanai H, Strul H, Naftali T, Vaisman N. Randomized clinical study: Partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG) versus placebo in the treatment of patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Nutrition and Metabolism. 2016;13(10).
Parisis GC, Zilli M, Miana MP, Carrara M, Bottona E, Verdianelli G, et al. High-fiber diet supplementation in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): A multicenter, randomized, open trial comparison between wheat bran diet and partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG). Dig Dis Sci. 2002;47(8):1697-1704.
Giannini EG, Mansi C, Dulbecco P, Savarino V. Role of partially hydrolyzed gar gum in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Nutrition. 2006;22:334-342.