Pros: No water necessary, lower price than other supplements
Cons: Gritty after-taste
In this review, I intend to give an summary of the product and also provide some basic science necessary to understand why this product is necessary (and better understand your doctor).
Product background, review and results
Fiber Choice is a fiber supplement that relieves many common ailments, but more importantly, may be an effective prophylaxis against some deadly illnesses. The product costs about 10 dollars for 90 pills, and can be found at your local grocery store. It is usually pretty easy to find a 2 dollar off coupon to help lower the cost. The average dose is 2 tablets per day, when used as a supplement. I would not recommend this product for relief of an acute attack of constipation or diarrhea, but I do recommend it to prevent these conditions (barring any abnormal stressors; i.e. infections, etc ). The product gives about 4g of fiber per 2 supplements, which is 16% of recommended daily value. Fiberchoice.com offers some interesting facts.
The usability of Fiber Choice is very high. The tablets can be carried in a purse or in a pocket with the small lipstick sized carrier available. The taste of the product mimics that of a vitamin C chewable, however, this product is sweeter (approximately twice as sweet due to fructan, the soluble fiber in the tablet). This statement applies to the Regular tablets, not the unsweetened variety available. The tablet can leave a gritty taste in your teeth if your mouth is dry, but usually this feeling goes away in a couple of minutes. Therefore, it is not necessary to have a glass of water handy when taking this product. This product has no true side effects, but may cause gas in some individuals. I believe that this gas is relatively minor, and minute compared to the positives provided by Fiber Choice supplements.
This product will help to keep you regular. In fact, a healthy diet with an adequate amount of fiber will always keep you regular. This effect will take a few days, of course. This is why I would not recommend it for an acute case of constipation. However, the acute case of constipation or diarrhea* would have been avoided altogether with an adequate amount of fiber. In other words, this product has much more efficacy as a preventative, than a rapid cure. There is a more important reason to use this product, that is to prevent the plethora of colonic disease which plague Americans. Fiber Choice (or any other source of fiber) will give you a better resistance to the onset of these diseases. The reason to buy Fiber Choice is to give you a nice alternative to carrying a bowl of cereal around in your pocket.
*It is counter intuitive to think that a laxative would be useful to provide relief from diarrhea. However, this is a bulk-forming laxative (not osmotic), meaning that it will add bulk to the stool. This effect helps to relieve diarrhea. This product relieves constipation by increasing the motility in the intestine due to a larger stool size. Hemorrhoids can effectively be reduced (if not too severe) with a bulk forming laxative because the stool is softer and does not irritate the lining of the rectum as it passes through.
Basic science information
Brief review of GI anatomy
When a piece of food is eaten, it first passes from the mouth into the esophagus down to the lower esophageal sphincter (LES)*. A sphincter is like a muscular valve in the body that allows for contraction and relaxation. When the LES relaxes, food passes into the stomach and then into the small intestine after passing through another sphincter (pyloric sphincter). In the stomach, acid is added to the food along with enzymes that help breakdown the food. The ingested food then takes a long winding trip through the small intestine and passes into the colon through the cecum. In the small intestine, the food is further degraded and nutrients are absorbed. The food is passed through the colon and out the body through the rectum. The colon acts to absorb much of the water and forms stool from the food.
*The LES can be weak which allows food and acid to reflux back into the esophagus. This is what your doctor is talking about when he/she says you have gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).
When the food is in the colon (and small intestine) bacteria are working to break it down. In the process, evil molecules (free radicals) can form which get into the lining of your colon and cause trouble (destroy and mutate DNA in the cells). The cells of the lining have many Police officers (DNA repair enzymes) to prevent damage, but they are not always 100% effective. Infrequently, a cell will turn to the dark side because of the evil molecules and become a cancerous cell. This is increasingly common in Western society because our diets tend to contain foods (fats) that allow for a greater number of evil molecules to form. Fiber Choice acts to reduce the time allowed for evil molecules to form. With food spending less time in the colon, it is possible reduce the risk for cancer to form. This is why I strongly recommend that adults take a fiber supplement, and Fiber Choice is a good pick because of some of its nice advantages.
I would love to hear comments, especially if you think that the science portion of this review is too hard to understand (sometimes I get carried away :) ).