Fiber Supplements For Kids: Are They Necessary?

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

Sub par regulations and lack of FDA oversight on supplements are other reason parents want to be educated. Check out these picks for fiber supplements designed specifically for children and learn why fiber is such an important part of the diet.

Fiber 101

According to the National Fiber Council, kids are only eating half (or even less) of the amount of fiber they should each day, and that’s a shame since diet high in fiber can help control hunger, keep blood sugar levels stable, and assist with maintaining a healthy weight.

Fiber can be found in carbohydrate rich foods and there are two main types. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and helps contribute to healthy and well-formed “number 2s.” Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and regular doses help things move through the digestive system more quickly.

Many foods contain both types of fiber but foods highest in soluble fiber include oats, berries, nuts, and beans. Insoluble fiber can be found in the skins of fruit, whole wheat products, brown rice, and some vegetables. Depending on presentation, all of these may or may not end up being kid-friendly, so how do you help your kids meet their fiber requirements?

Food First

Parents should always aim for a food first approach for 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.

Should Kids Take Fiber Supplements Made for Adults?

Rumors have swirled about the potential dangers of kids taking fiber products designed for adults – even when recommended by a doctor. There is some evidence that Miralax and other products containing polyethylene glycol could pose long-term neurological and behavioral harm to children. More research is currently underway at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, funded by the FDA.

Metamucil and other products using psyllium husk may also help relieve constipation, but should be taken under a doctor’s supervision on a case-by-case basis and not as regular practice to promote regular digestion. Since there has been little or testing of these products on children, there is good reason to be conservative. Overall, 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 looking to give kids a smaller dose of a fiber supplement for adults, check out these 4 products that are kid couture.

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. A 90-count bottle sells online for an average of $26.95.

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 or not your child needs an extra dose of these nutrients before considering this brand.

These gummies come in 3 flavors and offer 4 grams of soluble fiber per serving. A serving is 4 gummies and 120-count bottle sells for about $18.95.

L’il Critters Fiber Gummy Bears
These l’il bears 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 $9.00 online.

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. A 60-count bottle sells for $13.00.

Sources:

National Fiber Council. Adding Fiber to Lunchboxes.

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