Irritable Bowel Syndrome/fiber and ibs


I recently switched from Heather's Tummy Fiber because I lost my job and money was tight. So,I purchased a fiber suppliment at my local Walmart and the active ingredient is Dextrin. My IBS symptoms are almost worse and talk about constipation! What can you tell me about Dextrin>?

Hi Suzanne- I'm so sorry you lost your job - I hope you find something wonderful soon.

Dextrin is a by-product of other manufacturing, from various products (wheat, corn, etc.). It is basically an ingredient used by some fiber packagers because it is as cheap as possible. Since the ingredients on your container don't even specify the type of dextrin they may be switching between varieties and sources based on what is the least expensive option, regardless of whether it is the most effective for IBS symptoms.

Unfortunately, I don't think it's going to work as well for IBS as the Tummy Fiber, which is a "whole food" pure soluble fiber that is certified organic, minimally processed, not a by-product, and a prebiotic. The prebiotic effect can really help IBS gas and bloating. And the Tummy Fiber has a good gastrointestinal tolerance - I don't know about dextrin.

If something is certified organic you know it is free of pesticides and herbicides, and since people with IBS have hyper-reactive guts it's a good idea to avoid or at least minimize those.

What's the amount of soluble fiber in grams per dose size of dextrin? You want to be sure you compare apples to apples here. The Tummy Fiber has 2 grams soluble fiber per level teaspoon, or 6 grams per level tablespoon. It is typically the most economical fiber on the market in terms of cost per gram, because it's really concentrated.

You can also get 50% off your first purchase of Tummy Fiber from a local store - the US store finder is here

And you can order the bulk kit of 3 pouches together for a discount from the site here

And you can order the economical refill pouches directly from Amazon with free shipping here

It doesn't sound like dextrin is going to be a good fit for you. You might try and go back to the Tummy Fiber with one of the options above. And see if your insurance will cover the Tummy Fiber as an OTC remedy if you have a doctor prescribe it for you. At the least, you should be able to use a flex account to cover it, if you have that option.

Also make sure you get enough soluble fiber, and carefully incorporate insoluble fiber, from foods. Check here and here for those lists.

Hope this helps.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Heather Van Vorous


I can address questions regarding diet, cooking, recipes, and non-pharmaceutical supplements (soluble fiber, herbal, probiotics, etc.) for IBS. I can supply information sources about diagnostic guidelines, symptoms, and the medical pathology of IBS, but I cannot give a diagnosis or analyze test results a patient has obtained. I would prefer not to answer questions about prescription drugs and diagnostic tests. PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME YOUR SYMPTOMS AND THEN ASK ME TO DIAGNOSE YOU!


I'm the founder and CEO of, an organization dedicated to serving people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. My goal is to offer education, support, and help that allows people with IBS to successfully manage their symptoms through lifestyle modifications.

I'm the author of Eating for IBS, the only explicit dietary guide and cookbook for people with bowel disorders. Eating for IBS then led to my second book, The First Year: IBS, a comprehensive view of the disorder and every way to successfully manage it. Together, these works have become the two best-selling, best-reviewed IBS books in America.

My writing has led to an ongoing Canadian clinical research study of the groundbreaking dietary guidelines for Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Eating for IBS; this work also led to my inclusion in the 4th edition of Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare. Today's Dietitian has featured my IBS dietary guidelines, and my work has reached gastroenterologists and internists. I'm the author of "Heather's IBS Newsletter", which is free to subscribers and is published twice monthly. As a result, I've become recognized as the foremost patient-expert on IBS in America. I've personally had IBS since age 9.

I now teach classes on managing IBS through lifestyle modifications, I developed the Heather's Tummy Care line of organic medical foods for the dietary management of IBS, and I'm planning to work with corporate HR departments to offer employee IBS education programs. I host Heather Cooks!, the Seattle television cooking show for good digestive health, which is now available on DVD and also on the HelpForIBS YouTube Channel.

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M.A. 1996
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