Five ways soluble fiber improves IBS

Five ways soluble fiber improves IBS

If you’re suffering from IBS, we don’t have to tell you how life-altering it can be. And you’re not alone, the National Institute of Health estimates that somewhere between 10-25% of Americans suffer from this condition. IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, is an extremely common condition that refers to constipation, diarrhea, urgency, bloating, and lower GI discomfort. There are two primary subsets of IBS—IBS-D (diarrhea) and IBS-C (constipation)—but some people experience a combo of both.

While there are many causes or triggers of IBS including infection, food sensitivities, gastrointestinal yeast overgrowth, poor hydration, reduced fat absorption and low-fiber diet, the reality is that many people suffer from these symptoms and never find the cause. Moreover, research shows that IBS sufferers are often advised by their healthcare provider to eat more fiber, but some types of fiber actually make symptoms worse. Insoluble fiber, the type that gives carrots their crunch, is good for you but doesn’t move the needle when it comes to IBS symptoms. In fact, in some cases, it actually exacerbates unwanted symptoms. On the other hand, soluble fibers, like those found in Florasophy, have been shown to reduce symptoms and improve overall digestive health.

While we hope every person gets the medical help they need to find the root cause of their symptoms, Florasophy can improve your symptoms in five powerful ways. It's really important to note that not all soluble fibers are created equally, and I blended Florasophy to yield all the benefits I wanted for my patients while being as gentle on their systems as possible.

1. Lessens gas and bloating

While some highly fermentable fiber like inulin and chicory root quickly increase gas production and bloating, the fibers found in Florasophy have been shown to reduce these unwanted symptoms. By introducing Florasophy slowly, the microbiome adjusts to the increased soluble fiber, leading to better movement through the colon. This movement is called "transit time," and when transit time is optimized (either slowing down or speeding up) the fermentation that leads to gas and bloating improves.

2. Reduces urgency

Those suffering IBS-D know all too well how impactful urgency can be to their quality of life. However, soluble fibers in Florasophy have been shown to greatly reduce urgency. The key is to get enough, and current research indicates this may be upwards of 20-25 grams of soluble fiber from supplementation. Why supplementation? Because the soluble fibers in food are not as powerful for absorbing water and that is the trick to reducing urgency.

3. Regulates diarrhea or constipation

The cool thing about Florasophy is that it can improve both constipation and diarrhea. This is because the soluble fibers in our blends are adaptogenic, meaning they are able to adapt to what your unique body needs. This is because of the way our fiber holds water in the colon. If your poop is loose, it absorbs the extra water. If your poop is hard, it draws extra water in to soften the consistency. The fibers in Florasophy have been shown to improve consistency and out compete a high fiber diet alone. This magic quality is why Florasophy works for virtually everyone!

4. Benefits the microbiome and colon health

Increasing research points to the microbiome as the great regulator of our health. And we know that when that microbiome is out of whack or influenced by infection, the bowels struggle. The way we eat can shift the microbiome significantly and quickly, and the soluble fibers in Florasophy have been shown to feed your healthy microbes, leading to a higher production of short chain fatty acids (SCFA), a molecule that feeds and nourishes the colon wall. This means that not only will you benefit from better bugs, but your colon health will thrive as well.

5. Decreases GI discomfort

Those suffering from IBS experience increased colon muscle contraction, which can lead to pain and cramping. This is now thought to involve the neuroendocrine system within the colon walls. Interestingly, research shows that insoluble (crunchy) fiber and highly fermentable fiber (such as chicory, inulin and FODMAPs) can worsen pain and discomfort. On the other hand, low-fermenting soluble fibers such as those found in Florasophy improve the neuroendocrine response and lead to improvements in these unwanted symptoms.

Finding relief for IBS

Here’s the deal: Increasing soluble fiber has been shown (in over 14 studies) to reduce all of the symptoms of IBS. That said, go slowly. When you’re suffering from IBS, your body will take longer to adjust to increased soluble fiber intake. When starting Florasophy, you may begin with as little as ½ tsp per day and slowly increase over time as your body adjusts. Trust your gut: It will tell you when you’re ready for more.

About Megan Barnett, MS, CNS

Megan Barnett, MSMegan Barnett is a functional medicine practitioner in Portland, Oregon. In her clinical practice, she helps patients identify the root cause of their health problems, then designs individualized and evidence-based approaches to alleviate symptoms and help their bodies heal. She has a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Kansas State University and a Master of Science in Nutrition and Functional Medicine from University of Western States.