Acacia Fiber vs Psyllium Fiber – Which Is Better For Constipation

Acacia Fiber

Acacia fiber, also known as acacia gum, has been used as a digestive treatment by native cultures for centuries. It is made from the sap of the Acacia Senegal tree which mostly grows in Africa and some parts of Pakistan and India.

The most popular form of acacia fiber is a powder which you can mix into smoothies, soups, water, and shakes, without altering the texture. Also, it has a neutral taste.

Health Benefits

Weight Loss

An estimated 2.2 billion people are obese or overweight around the world. People who are obese or overweight have a much greater risk of developing serious health problems, such as:

  • joint and bone disease;
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus;
  • heart disease.

According to a study issued in the Nutrition Journal, healthy study participants who took an acacia supplement daily experienced a substantial reduction in body fat percentage and body mass index (BMI) at the end of the six week study period.

Lower LDL Cholesterolblood pressure

Too much LDL cholesterol for the cells to use can lead to coronary heart disease – a major cause of illness and death. Some of the symptoms of CHD include:

  • dizziness;
  • chest pain;
  • excessive sweating;
  • heaviness;
  • shortness of breath;
  • tightness;
  • pain in the shoulders or arms;
  • squeezing;
  • burning.

During a 1993 study done at the Shaklee Health Sciences Department, San Francisco, 16 females and 13 males were given 2 different water-soluble dietary fiber supplements with one containing acacia gum.

After one month of consuming 5 grams three times a day, there was a decrease of 14 percent in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and 10 percent in plasma total cholesterol in people who were assigned the water-soluble dietary fiber supplements containing acacia gum.

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitusd

Diabetes Mellitus affects your body’s capacity to use or produce insulin, a hormone which allows your body to turn sugar (glucose) into energy.

Acacia gum reduces the post-prandial glycemic response when replacing sugars in drinks and food, according to the European Food Safety Authority.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS is a long-term gastrointestinal disorder. Some of the most common signs include:

  • nausea;
  • abdominal cramping or pain which is commonly relieved by passing feces or wind;
  • mucus present in the stools;
  • a sensation that the bowels are not completely emptied after passing a motion;
  • abdominal bloating;
  • alternating constipation and diarrhea.

Yogurt enriched with acacia fiber and the probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis may help keep irritable bowel syndrome symptoms in check, as per a 2012 study issued in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.

Side Effects

Common side effects of acacia fiber include – bloating, gas, and loose stools. Also, it has been found to interact with the efficacy of some prescription medications.

Moreover, if you are allergic to dust, you may experience asthma attacks when you first start taking the supplement.

Psyllium Fiber

It is a soluble fiber that is derived from the seeds of Plantago ovata, an herb which mainly grows in India.

Psyllium fiber is the main ingredient in numerous OTC laxatives, such as:

Image credit – https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamiesrabbits/3972470581

 

Health Benefits

Constipation Relief

Constipation is a condition in which suferrers have infrequent bowel movements or find it hard to empty their bowels. There are several things which contribute to constipation, including:

  • depression;
  • not eating enough fiber, like – vegetables, fruits, and cereals;
  • anxiety;
  • a change in your lifestyle or routine, like a change in your eating habits;
  • not drinking enough fluids;
  • side effects of certain prescription or over-the-counter medications;
  • ignoring the urge to pass stools.

According to a 1998 study done by the Procter & Gamble Company, Ohio, taking 5g two times per day for 14 days notably increased the total number of bowel movements and the weight and water content of stools, in 170 people with chronic constipation.

In addition, by increasing stool water content, psyllium has been found to be superior to docusate sodium (a medicine that belongs to the family of drugs known as stool softeners) for softening stools.

Diabetes

Taking 5g of psyllium twice per day can help people with type 2 diabetes mellitus control their blood glucose, as per a 2005 study.

In addition, a 2016 study published in the Nutrition Journal established that individuals with diabetes mellitus who took 10 g of psyllium fiber a day for two months had a lower BMI compared to people who ate their normal diet.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is caused by reduced absorption of fluid from the intestine, increased secretion of fluid into the intestine, or rapid passage of stool through the intestine.

Symptoms associated with diarrhea include:

  • an urgent need to have a bowel movement;
  • loose, watery stools;
  • nausea;
  • abdominal cramps;
  • bloating;
  • blood in the stool;
  • fever;
  • abdominal pain.

Psyllium husk improved the consistency of the stool and increased stool transit time in people with diarrhea, as per a 1973 study.

Crohn’s Diseased

It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. Common symptoms of CD include:

  • feeling a frequent need for bowel movements;
  • diarrhea;
  • feeling as if your bowels aren’t empty after a bowel movement;
  • abdominal cramps;
  • weight loss;
  • blood in your stool;
  • a loss of appetite;
  • fatigue;
  • a fever.

Some studies concluded that consuming 8g of psyllium a day mixed with probiotics is an effective and safe method to treat Crohn’s disease.

Dosage

The benefits seen in most studies are associated with intakes of 5 to 20g a day.

Tip

As with any dietary fiber supplements, start out slowly to give your body time to adjust, and then increase accordingly.

Bottom Line – Acacia Fiber vs Psyllium Fiber

Acacia fiber is made from the sap of a tree which is indigenous to Africa. The sap is a storehouse of soluble fiber.

Psyllium is a medicinal plant which originates from India. It is mostly soluble fiber and is commonly used as a bulk-forming laxative.

In conclusion, both supplements are predominantly soluble fibers that help to draw and keep water in your large intestine. This makes your stool softer and easier to pass.

According to a 2012 study, psyllium husk, acacia fiber, and fructose can help relieve your constipation.

Note

To maximize the health benefits of dietary fiber, it is essential to consume a variety of fibers in order to benefit from their positive health effects.