Acacia fiber is made up of 95 percent soluble fiber, which it has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. It works by slowing the release of glucose in the bloodstream and lowering cholesterol. Anyone with bowel irregularity can benefit from acacia fiber, not just because of its soluble fiber content, but also because it’s a rich source of prebiotics–the “food” that feeds beneficial bacteria in the gut. Acacia fiber is best taken as a daily drink mixed with liquid, and it can even be used to improve weight loss efforts.
Acacia fiber, also known as gum arabic and acacia gum, comes from the sap of the Acacia Senegal tree. It’s taken in powder form and mixed with liquid, such as water, juice or smoothies, and drank for its health benefits. It’s high in fiber and prebiotics, which make it amazing for giving your digestive tract a healthy boost. Additionally, it can lower cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation and improve weight loss efforts.
Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber
There are two types of dietary fiber, including soluble and insoluble fiber, and you need a balance of both to maintain healthy digestion. Acacia fiber is a source of soluble fiber, which mixes with water to form a gel in the gut. It’s also found in apples, nuts, seeds, beans and more. Without enough insoluble fiber, which is found in vegetables and grains like brown rice and whole wheat, the gel formed by soluble fiber becomes too heavy and causes constipation. Soluble fiber helps lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes, while insoluble fiber can help reduce your appetite and prevent or treat constipation .
Due to its high content of soluble fiber, as well as prebiotics, acacia fiber delivers many impressive health benefits.
1. Excellent Source of Prebiotics
A balanced gut microbiome contains an abundance of beneficial bacteria called probiotics, which balance out the bad bacteria, help digest food and assimilate nutrients. Too much antibiotics, antibacterial cleaners, fluoride from water, chemicals in processed foods and other aspects of modern lifestyle can reduce the number of probiotics in your gut.
Prebiotics are food for good bacteria and are found in high numbers in acacia fiber. By eating acacia fiber, you’re feeding the probiotics in your gut, allowing them to flourish in greater numbers. According to a study, one dose of acacia fiber a day for one month increases populations of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli significantly. This can lead to a noticeable improvement in bowel regularity and digestive health .
2. Prevents and Relieves Constipation and Diarrhea
Acacia doesn’t work as a laxative, but it will help keep you regular if you take it every day. Interestingly, it also prevents diarrhea through the same action. The soluble fiber in acacia fiber soaks up water while moving along your digestive tract, causing stool to bulk up and guard against diarrhea and constipation .
3. Helps with Weight Loss
Acacia fiber helps curb cravings and reduce your appetite by helping you feel full longer. It counters blood sugar spikes caused by refined sugars, which leave you hungry for more. It does this by slowing the absorption of glucose in the bloodstream, preventing quick influxes of insulin known to cause weight gain. Because it absorbs water in your intestinal tract, acacia fiber slows the digestion process, helping you feel fuller for longer.
By promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, it can improve nutrient absorption and allow you to get more out of what you eat. By promoting fullness and better nutrient assimilation, acacia fiber makes it easier to cut calories and lose weight. This was tested in a 6-week trial involving 60 overweight women. Those who took acacia fiber lowered their body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage by more than 2 percent . Another study on the benefits of acacia fiber for weight loss found that it lowered calorie intake for 3 hours following consumption and increased feelings of fullness .
4. Reduces High Cholesterol Levels
As a rich source of soluble fiber, acacia is shown to lower high levels of LDL cholesterol, which is the most dangerous type. Too much LDL cholesterol increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and atherosclerosis by clogging up and hardening the arteries. In a study on patients with hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), 30 milligrams of acacia fiber per day for four weeks lowered both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides compared to a placebo group .
5. May Improve Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
By regulating the bowels and reducing both diarrhea and constipation, acacia fiber may help people suffering from IBS. In a study on patients with IBS, yogurt enriched with acacia fiber and probiotics significantly reduced symptoms when taken twice daily for two months .
6. Helps Lower Oxidative Stress and Inflammation
Acacia fiber supplementation can also help protect you from chronic diseases linked to oxidative stress and inflammation. It’s a source of antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals–the unstable molecules capable of damaging cells and DNA. This protective ability of antioxidants can even help prevent cancer, as well as protect the brain from cognitive decline. According to research, the antioxidants in acacia fiber have an anti-inflammatory effect. In a study on rats induced with kidney failure, acacia fiber effectively reduced oxidative stress, inflammation and DNA damage. More research is needed, but this early study may suggest that acacia fiber can prevent or improve chronic kidney disease .
Acacia Fiber Supplementation Tips
Taking too much acacia fiber at once can cause serious problems, such as severe constipation. When you first start taking acacia fiber, you want to begin with a smaller dose and work your way up to the recommendation on the product label, or to the amount needed to keep your bowels regular. Because soluble fiber needs to mix with water to move through the bowels, be sure to increase your intake of fluids when you start taking this supplement. During the first week or so of supplementation, side effects can include nausea, diarrhea and bloating.