Manufacturers produce pills that contain fibre. They claim that the pills provide the same benefits as dietary fibre. However, natural fibre is a complex of a whole variety of substances. No one knows the combinations that are the most beneficial, so the supplements may be unbalanced or incomplete. Fibre tends to reduce the absorption of some minerals (e.g. iron). Most sources of dietary fibre are rich in minerals and vitamins, which compensates for this reduction. Fibre supplements are usually lacking in nutrients. Some of the early fibre supplements available in the UK contained high concentrations of guar gum. This swells in the stomach, reducing feelings of hunger, but it may also swell and block the intestine or even air passages in the throat. The British government has now banned the sale in the UK of all fibre supplements with more than 15 per cent guar gum.
Subjects: Medicine and Health.