Prebiotic, No FODMAPS, Gluten Free
Improves Bowel Stability
Heather's Tummy Fiber Organic Acacia senegal for IBS is a medical food for the dietary management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms. It is 100% acacia senegal powder, the highest grade available, and a whole foods fiber.
Acacia senegal is a natural plant water-soluble fiber that has been harvested for millenia in Africa; its recorded dietary use dates back to the Egyptian pharaohs. It is a natural, pure, organic, 100% soluble dietary fiber powder produced from the gum of the acacia senegal tree. Clinical studies have shown that soluble fiber, as part of the diet: helps soothe and regulate bowel motility; relieves IBS abdominal pain and cramping by stabilizing intestinal contractions; alleviates both diarrhea and constipation.
Heather's Tummy Fiber also: is a prebiotic that increases good gut flora; has excellent gastrointestinal tolerance; and slows down colonic fermentation, which in turn decreases gas and bloating. Heather's Tummy Fiber is completely safe and healthy for daily, lifelong use, is safe for use in children, and has no GI irritants or stimulants.
Soluble fiber will not compromise normal bowel function at all once it gets your IBS symptoms under control - it will simply keep things in that normal state. A soluble fiber supplement is meant to keep your GI tract running smoothly, comfortably, and pain-free on a day-to-day basis, now and forever. Heather's Tummy Fiber is is NOT a drug, it is NOT a laxative, it is NOT an anti-diarrheal medication. It is simply an organic, prebiotic soluble fiber supplement with absolutely nothing else added, and it normalizes bowel function naturally in the same manner as soluble fiber foods. It is considered a medical food for the dietary management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms.
Heather's Tummy Fiber Acacia Frequently Asked Questions
"How does Tummy Fiber work to prevent pain, constipation, AND diarrhea?"
The "soluble" in soluble fiber means that it dissolves in water (though it is not digested). This allows it to absorb excess liquid in the colon, preventing diarrhea by forming a thick gel and adding a great deal of bulk as it passes intact through the gut. This gel (as opposed to a watery liquid) also keeps the GI muscles stretched gently around a full colon, giving those muscles something to easily "grip" during peristaltic contractions, thus preventing the rapid transit time and explosive bowel movements of diarrhea as well.
By the same token, the full gel-filled colon (as opposed to a colon tightly clenched around dry, hard, impacted stools) provides the same "grip" during the muscle waves of constipation sufferers, allowing for an easier and faster transit time, and the passage of the thick wet gel also effectively relieves constipation by softening and pushing through impacted fecal matter. If you can mentally picture your colon as a tube that is squeezing through matter via regular waves of contractions, it's easy to see how a colon filled with soluble fiber gel is beneficial for both sides of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome coin.
As a glorious bonus, normalizing the contractions of the colon triggered by your gastrocolic reflex (from too fast or too slow speeds), prevents the violent and irregular spasms that result in the lower abdominal cramping pain that cripples so many Irritable Bowel Syndrome patients.
Best of all, Heather's Tummy Fiber Supplement can be taken daily forever with no harmful side effects or risk of addiction. In fact, soluble fiber has health benefits far beyond managing IBS, as it's been shown to lower LDL ("bad") blood cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, and minimize colon cancer risks. Soluble fiber also slows the absorption of fats and carbohydrates into the bloodstream, which improves glycemic control and helps prevent the formation of free radicals. In addition, it is helpful for diabetics.
Clinical studies have also shown that Heather's Tummy Fiber Supplement has some special benefits, and advantages over other types of soluble fiber supplements. In the large intestine, Acacia senegal fiber stimulates the development of bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria, leading to the production of large amounts of short chain fatty acids which play numerous beneficial roles in the physiology of the human body. In addition, consumption of Acacia senegal fiber at dose levels lower than 15 grams/day caused none of the gastro-intestinal symptoms seen with other soluble fiber supplements (gas, bloating, cramps).
"How much should I take? How often? When?"
If you're not currently taking a soluble fiber supplement, begin with a low dose of Acacia (try 1/2 level teaspoon twice daily) and gradually increase. This means a level measuring/baking teaspoon - not a teaspoon that you'd use to stir a drink or eat soup. A utensil teaspoon is much larger than a measuring teaspoon. And a level teaspoon is about half of a fully rounded teaspoon. So you can inadvertently start at a much higher dose than intended if you're not using a level measuring teaspoon. As you gradually
increase your dose, you can get to a maximum level of about five tablespoons a day total (divided doses are preferable). This means a measuring/baking tablespoon. You do not HAVE to get to the maximum dose, and if you stabilize at a lower dose please feel free to stay there. Take your time as you increase your dose - slow and steady is much, much better than racing to a higher dose before your gut is used to the increase in fiber.
Raise your Acacia fiber dosage level by 1/2 - 1 teaspoon at a time, every few days or every week, until your bowel function has stabilized. Diarrhea and spasms should resolve in just a few days, especially as you increase your fiber dose; constipation, particularly if it has been chronic and severe, may take several weeks. Try to gradually increase your Heather's Tummy Fiber until you're taking 15-25 grams daily (this is about 2-4 level tablespoons); if you stabilize at a lower dose, simply stay there. It's always best to divide your daily dosage of Acacia into two or three doses (or even four), as the whole point of taking a soluble fiber supplement is to keep your gut filled with soluble fiber at all times. This will help to prevent bowel dysfunction and abdominal pain in the first place, and with IBS it's always better to keep yourself stable and head off problems, instead of trying to resolve attacks once they've begun.
I find it most helpful to take Acacia on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning and again before meals. It provides a great soluble fiber supplement "buffer" for meals that follow, and it's a terrific way to get and keep myself stable as soon as I roll out of bed. It also gives a good safety margin when I've gone too long without eating, or when I know I'll be eating a meal that is too high in fat or insoluble fiber for digestive safety. This is most often a factor with restaurant meals, so I make a habit of taking Acacia right before I leave the house to go out to eat. If mornings are your worst time of day as they are mine, taking a fiber supplement dose just before you go to bed at night can help head off problems when you arise.
Though Heather's Tummy Fiber has the benefits of all soluble fiber supplements in terms of helping to normalize bowel function and motility, clinical studies have shown that it also increases good gut flora. This is why Acacia will actively help reduce bloating and gas, whereas other types of fiber supplements (particularly psyllium, inulin, and for some folks guar gum as well) can worsen these symptoms. The prebiotic effect of Acacia senegal (this simply means that it supports the growth of probiotics - beneficial bacteria - in your gut) can show very quickly or can take several weeks of daily use. In essence, the Acacia supplement is building up the beneficial flora in your GI tract to a healthy level, and how quickly you see results from this can depend on the state of your gut flora in the first place.
The active benefits from Heather's Tummy Fiber supplement in terms of a reduction in gas and bloating are separate from the fact that this fiber supplement is less likely to cause
gas and bloating in the first place. This aspect of Acacia senegal is termed its "gastrointestinal tolerance" - Acacia fiber actually slows down colonic fermentation, which decreases gas and bloating. This means that on top of the fact that you should see a reduction in gas and bloating once the prebiotic effect is in full swing, you also should not
see any increase in gas or bloating when you start the fiber supplement in the first place.
"Does Acacia senegal work as well for constipation as for diarrhea?"
Yes, it does - but Acacia is not
a laxative or drug. Acacia can work wonders for constipation, but it not an overnight solution. It makes a great deal of difference how
you take Acacia, and it's well worth the time and effort to do it right.
First of all, these are the best ways to NOT get the results you want:
* Try Acacia at a low dose for just a few days, then give up because there's no change.
* Go from zero to the maximum dose in one week flat, then give up because it's not working and now you're all bloated and gassy as well.
* Start taking Acacia at the same time you suddenly stop taking laxatives, enemas, or colon cleanses you've been using regularly, then give up because your constipation is suddenly worse, not better.
The cardinal rule with Acacia is to start at a low dose (for Acacia, just 1/2 a level measuring teaspoon, twice daily), and increase gradually
. Constipation seems to require a much higher daily dose than diarrhea, and it can take several weeks, or even a few months, to slowly work your way up to the maximum daily dose. Acacia is not a laxative, and it will not give "overnight relief", so taking a low dose for a few days will not alleviate your symptoms. What it will do is begin to acclimate your gut to a higher daily dose of fiber, and this is the goal. Don't give up as soon as you start - just realize that using Acacia is a slow, steady process. You will see improvements along the way.
It's tempting to think that if you need to reach the maximum dose to see the best results, you can just force your body to adjust to a high dose as fast as possible. After all, if your constipation will resolve on an Acacia dose of, say, 25 grams a day, and it might typically take someone, say, 8 weeks to reach that dose, you'll be way ahead of the game if you race your way up to that dose in your very first week - right? Nope - wrong.
By definition, if you have IBS, you do not have a normally functioning gut. No matter how your IBS symptoms manifest (constipation or diarrhea, bloating or pain) your GI tract - and specifically, your gastrocolic reflex - is hyper-reactive to normal stimuli. Your goal should always be to keep your gastrocolic reflex stable so you can soothe and regulate your gut function.
Suddenly overloading your bowel with a fiber dose that is possibly ten times what you were taking before you started Acacia will do nothing but give you bloating and gas, as your GI tract struggles to deal with all of this unexpected fiber. Fiber is, after all, an undigestible carbohydrate, and your body needs to work to process it through your digestive tract.
Asking your gut to go from no soluble fiber supplement to a maximum daily dose too quickly is like trying to become a marathon runner by sprinting as hard and as fast as you can without rest. It won't work, you'll be frustrated, and you'll give up. Instead, go slowly, increase your dose gradually, and give your body the time and gentle approach it needs to adjust to the Acacia increase. You can't beat your colon into submission with IBS, you need to kindly, patiently, and consistently coax it into normal motility. Acacia can help do this for you if you give it a fair chance.
If you've been regularly using laxatives, or artificially increasing colon motility through other means (enemas, colon cleanses, harsh stimulant herbs such as senna, cascara, aloe) the odds are pretty good that your bowel is dependent on them. If you suddenly stop using them, bowel motility might shut down and your constipation will seriously worsen. This would be the case even if you didn't add Acacia at the same time.
It is definitely possible to transition from a laxative or other unnatural methods of alleviating constipation to Acacia. But, you can't simply switch from one to the other in a single day and expect equivalent results. What you can do is keep taking your usual dose of laxatives while you begin your Acacia and start to gradually increase your Acacia dose. When you've been able to reach a fairly high daily dose (say, 2-3 tablespoons) you can start to gradually decrease your laxative.
Keep increasing the Acacia and continue decreasing your laxative, taking each step slowly and carefully. This is not likely to be a fast process, but the slower and steadier you go the more likely it is to have a highly successful result. I've heard from numerous people who transitioned off of laxatives, senna, enemas, and even prescription constipation drugs and onto a soluble fiber supplement, with terrific results. But it took anywhere from one to six months, depending on how long their bowels had been dependent on the laxatives. Good things can be well worth the wait, and this is one of those situations where patience is truly a virtue. IBS is a lifelong problem for most people, so giving yourself a few months to make a tremendous improvement is not really taking too much time in the grand scheme of things.
"Is Acacia high carb? Will it make me gain weight? Can I take it if I'm diabetic?"
For folks who are worried about weight gain, glycemic control, diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or their carbohydrate intake, Heather's Tummy Fiber is a great way to get the benefits of soluble fiber without any carbohydrates or calories. The FDA has declared water-soluble gums such as Acacia to be a good source of soluble dietary fiber, which by definition means that they are not digested in the human gut. However, the FDA has also mandated that the caloric value of gums be declared as a carbohydrate with 4 calories per gram. The FDA is currently being petitioned by scientists on the Calorie Control Council to change this mandate, as it has been established that gums do not contribute calories as carbohydrates do, since gums are not completely metabolized in the body. In plain English, this simply means that though FDA labeling requires all dietary soluble fiber supplements, including Acacia, to list a calorie content, in reality there are virtually no calories in Heather's Tummy Fiber at all.
The net result of this is that with the Acacia fiber supplement you are getting all of the benefits of soluble fiber without any carbohydrates or calories. For diabetes and other diseases, there are terrific advantages to a diet high in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber slows the rate of carbohydrate absorption (this gives an advantage to taking Heather's Tummy Fiber right before a meal), and improves regulation of blood sugar. Soluble fiber also decreases LDL ("bad") blood cholesterol levels, and therefore reduces the risk of heart disease, which is a serious risk for diabetics. PCOS patients can also benefit from soluble fiber, as it helps to stabilize their blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of food sugars into the bloodstream, decreasing the load on their pancreas.
"What does it mean that Heather's Tummy Fiber is certified organic?"
Heather's Tummy Fiber Acacia Senegal is certified organic and therefore uses:
* no pesticides
* no fertilizer
* no herbicides
* no GMO (genetically modified organisms)
* no preservatives
* no additives
* no irradiation
* no animal testing
Organic certification guarantees that Acacia is harvested with:
* good ecology - enriched soil, less soil erosion
* harvested through farming which respects the environment
* traceability of each batch demonstrated from the orchard to the customer
* organic certified farming/harvesting by ECOCERT
* organic certified manufacturing and packaging by Quality Assurance International
* USDA organic certified
"Certified organic" refers to agricultural products that have been grown and processed according to strict uniform standards, verified annually by independent state or private organizations. These organizations' certifying seals are your guarantee that Heather's Tummy Care products have been third-party certified organic.
Heather's Tummy Fiber is certified organic right from the origin by our supplier's certifying agency, Ecocert International. One of their agents personally goes into the Acacia orchards (which are located in the Dourbali region of Chad, in Africa) to certify each harvesting area. After harvest, the incoming bags of raw Acacia are assigned their "organic" identification, which follows the Acacia through the entire packing and shipping process. This organic traceability is carried directly from the plant to our customers by our certifying agency, Quality Assurance International. Heather's Tummy Fiber is also USDA organic certified.
"What does raw acacia look like? How is it processed into Tummy Fiber?"
Heather's Tummy Fiber is the certified organic, all natural gum of the acacia senegal
tree. Raw acacia gum is collected much like maple syrup, though the gum is more a solid than a liquid. The gum forms as gold or amber colored, crystal-like pieces; these pieces are what the acacia gum looks like when it is collected from the outside of the tree. The gum is then dissolved in water, filtered, and the liquid is sprayed onto very large heated surfaces to sterilize the fiber and so the water can evaporate. What's left after the water evaporates is the fine, white powder that is Heather's Tummy Fiber.
There are no chemicals used in processing the acacia, and every step from the orchards to the processing to our packaging facility is certified organic. Because this is a natural gum with nothing added, and not a synthetic product that is highly processed, the grain size and color of the finished powder can vary slightly from lot to lot, and even within a single lot. These natural variations are normal and to be expected.