When I was little, part of my nighttime ritual was watching my dad stir his Metamucil, the spoon clinking loudly against the glass. I could count on hearing this every night, and it was sort of comforting because it meant that Dad was getting ready for bed and therefore I would soon be, too. Despite the affection felt towards this particular ritual of his, my sister and I used to make fun of him, calling it his “sand,” and he would humor us and remind us that it’s good for you. We laughed because it seemed too silly, and – yuck! – we would never drink that!
Now, this “sand” has become a part of my own nighttime ritual.
From April until July of 2010, I was in the hospital for treatment. Each night before bed, the nurses would distribute Metamucil to the patients. A lot of us were pretty stopped up, our digestive tracks no longer working properly after years of abuse, and these nightly supplements (as well as Colace in the mornings) helped move things along.
Anyway, we were given Metamucil each night, and I remember laughing to myself remembering Dad’s “sand,” and also being a little nervous because one of the nurses told us it would gel in our stomachs if we don’t stir it well or drink it fast enough, so I chugged it and that was somehow worse. But, alas - my Metamucil habit was born.
I know it sounds kind of strange that I’m talking openly – almost fondly – about something that is most commonly known as a laxative (I said it! You all were thinking it!). But the truth is, taking a fiber supplement has been really helpful, especially in terms of easing the symptoms of the various complications from my eating disorder.
Also, there are so many benefits to taking a fiber supplement that go beyond your digestive health. From Yahoo! Health:
- Helps lower blood cholesterol levels. Fiber supplements, especially those with soluble fiber, can reduce your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol. Soluble fiber can also reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
- Helps prevent heart disease. Fiber supplements have been linked to lowering the risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Part of this is because they can help lower blood cholesterol levels as mentioned above, and fiber has also been linked with reducing metabolic syndrome.
- Slows down digestion. Fiber supplements tend to make a person feel fuller and food harder to digest, so it moves through the system slower. This makes a person feel fuller longer and is a much healthier way of eating.
- May help reduce the risk of colon cancer. Fiber supplements’ ability to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer has mixed evidence. It is true, however, that a healthier digestive system can lower the risk for colon cancer. Getting the recommended amount of fiber in your daily diet will keep your digestive tract healthy.
- Type 2 diabetes. Fiber supplements, especially those with soluble fiber, can slow down the absorption of sugar in the body. For people with diabetes, this can help improve blood sugar levels. To reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, eat a diet high in both soluble and insoluble fiber.
(Click to read the full list of Top 10 Benefits of Taking a Fiber Supplement)
And there you have it – evidence to support my unabashed appreciation of psyllium, a.k.a. Metamucil. It gets things going, and helps keep your body clear and hearty, too. When I take it, I feel like I am restoring parts of my body, moving one step closer to becoming healthier. Baby steps, right? :)
What do you think? Have you ever taken fiber supplements? Do you think they’re useful, or not?
(As always, you should talk to your doctor before starting up any new supplement regimen!)