Fiber Supplements for Your Kids

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Do you wish things were more regular in your household? Many parents search for a fiber supplement to help keep little tummies moving smoothly along. But in a sea of countless supplements, it can be confusing to choose one.

Sub-par regulations and a lack of FDA oversight on supplements are other reasons parents want to be educated. Since fiber is such an important part of the diet (for kids and adults alike), it helps to learn more about fiber supplement options.

Fiber 101

According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 95% of children and adults do not consume enough fiber, with children often failing to meet even half of the Institute of Medicine's recommended daily intake for fiber. That’s a shame, since a diet high in fiber can help control hunger, keep blood sugar levels stable, and assist with maintaining a healthy weight.

Fiber is found in carbohydrate-rich foods and there are two main types. Soluble fiber dissolves in water. It helps promote regularity and supports healthy bacteria in the intestine. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, but it does help things move through the digestive system more quickly.

Many foods contain both types of fiber, but the foods highest in soluble fiber include oats, berries, nuts, and beans. Insoluble fiber is found in the skins of fruit, whole wheat products, brown rice, and some vegetables.

Food First

Parents should always aim for a food first approach to kids’ day-to-day digestive health. Ideally, a balance of both soluble and insoluble fiber from a variety of foods will help kids feel their best. Supplements may help bridge a gap under special circumstances, but healthy food and beverage picks should be the focus.

Regular meals and snacks, fiber-rich foods, and proper hydration are the best practices for optimal digestive health and for healthy bodies all around.

Fiber Supplements Made for Adults

Rumors have swirled about the potential dangers of kids taking laxatives designed for adults—even when recommended by a doctor. But some research shows that products such as Miralax that use polyethylene glycol (which is not fiber) are safe and effective for kids.

Metamucil and other products using psyllium husk may help relieve constipation but should be taken under a doctor’s supervision on a case-by-case basis. Since there has been little or testing of these products on children, there is a good reason to be conservative. Overall, the lack of data may be a reason for some parents to put a greater emphasis on dietary methods to relieve constipation.

Popular Supplements for Kids

Instead of giving kids a smaller dose of a fiber supplement for adults, consider products made for kids. Supplements like these are specifically designed for children, but that doesn’t mean every child needs to take one.

Take inventory of your child’s daily fiber intake from foods and then check with your pediatrician to see if a fiber supplement is warranted. These contain various forms of supplemental fiber, but similar ingredients are used for adding color and flavor. Many also contain coconut oil, a potential allergen risk for some children, so be sure to check the label.

Nature Made Kid's First Fiber

These fruity chews contain 4 grams of soluble fiber per serving and are sweetened with monk fruit. Nature Made is generally a well-respected brand and is widely available.

SmartyPants Kids Complete and Fiber

This chewable option is a multivitamin, omega-3 fish oil and fiber product in one. More isn’t always better when choosing a supplement, so be sure to assess whether your child needs an extra dose of these nutrients before considering this brand. These gummies come in three flavors and offer 4 grams of soluble fiber per serving. A serving is 4 gummies and a 120-count bottle sells for about $18.95.

L’il Critters Fiber Gummy Bears

These gummies contain 3 grams of soluble fiber from polydextrose. These chews also contain 5 calories per serving because they are artificially sweetened with sucralose. As the product's website clearly indicates, these are not for use as a laxative. These critters are very affordable—a 90-count bottle sells for less than $9.

Fiber Advance Gummies For Kids

There are three grams of chewable chicory root fiber in these gummies. They are sweetened with monk fruit and also contain some coconut oil.

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Article Sources
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  1. Quagliani D, Felt-Gunderson P. Closing America's fiber intake gap: Communication strategies from a Food and Fiber Summit. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2017;11(1):80-85. doi:10.1177/1559827615588079

  2. U.S Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020.

  3. Dziechciarz P, Horvath A, Szajewska H. Polyethylene glycol 4000 for treatment of functional constipation in children. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2015;60(1):65-8. doi:10.1097/mpg.0000000000000543

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