Benefiber is a fiber supplement which has recently been reformulated. The old formula was made from partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG), which comes from the seed of the cluster bean and is a form of soluble fiber. The new formula is made from wheat dextrin.
The new product is labeled as gluten-free, although the manufacturers say there may be trace amounts of gluten present in the product at less than 20ppm or parts per million. Different countries have different standards as to what counts as gluten-free, so if you are particularly sensitive to gluten it is worth reading up on the different standards for gluten-free products.
As far as I can tell, some of the Benefiber products are still using the old guar gum formulation (eg: Benefiber chewables with calcium), and some are using the new wheat dextrin formulation (eg: Benefiber powder and caplets). It should be noted that the chewable Benefiber products contain artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol, which can cause gut problems in some people.
Benefiber can help to treat both diarrhea and constipation, adding bulk to the stool for diarrhea sufferers and making stools softer for constipation sufferers. It is available in powder, caplet, or chewable tablet form.
Benefiber side effects
The most common side effect of Benefiber is mild flatulence. Less common side effects are stomach discomfort, diarrhea, nausea and a feeling of fullness in the stomach.
REVIEWS OF BENEFIBER
Review by Kayla
I am 25 years old and I have been suffering from IBS-C for about five years now. You name it, I tried it. Nothing gave me regular bowel movements. I was lucky if I could have a movement once a week. As you can imagine I was bloated, nauseous and just plain miserable 24/7. I truly believed this was my life from here on out. No going out to dinner, no movies, no days at the park. I was always nauseous. It even created anxiety and acid relux which I never had until five years ago. Miserable.
So I decided to try Benefiber. The dose says two teaspoons three times a day but I always start any new supplement slowly. So I put one teaspoon in an eight ounce glass of water. I drank literally a third of the glass in 20 minutes (intentionally slow). Bam. I was in the bathroom. It was a small movement but it was the first in almost two weeks. I'll take anything! No cramps, no nausea, finally some relief. Thank you Benefiber!
Review by Sara
Benefiber works excellently! It is a little pricey but this has fixed my diarrhea after having it for one month continuously. I take two to four servings each day with plenty of water. It dissolves completely and there is no weird taste to it. I never tried cooking with it. The downside is that it can get kind of pricey. There are knock-offs but I don't know how well those work. It does keep me regular 99% of the time excluding something viral. I also get the sticks to take to work.
Review by Bob
I have been using Metamucil but did not completely like the taste, so a neighbor said to try Benefiber. I bought a boxful of the stuff and tried varying dosages but found no effect. It just did not work for me.
Review by Ann
Benefiber causes my stomach to bloat and become so tight. I also get reflux back into my chest and mouth. I get so bloated that my BM will not come out for about four hours after I am awoken in the middle of the night with cramps and pain. I have IBS and severe gastritis and I am allergic to wheat; I think this is what was causing me so much pain and bloating. My doctor put me on Benefiber and it's not working. I have a lot of food allergies.
Review by Randy
Useless product! My problem was diarrhea. My doctor recommended Reguloid (similar to Metamucil). It worked fine, but I wanted something less distasteful. Benefiber is very tolerable with no benefit! Then to add insult to injury a supervisor at Novartis Consumer Health refused to honor their 'satisfaction or money back' guarantee.
Review by Virginia
I have suffered from constipation for as long as I can remember. I am 78. I started taking chewable Benefiber and it was like magic. I went regularly and it was wonderful. Today I tried to find Benefiber, but I went to three stores and no luck. Talk about being disappointed! I did have some flatulence, but given a choice between that and constipation it was surely no contest. So please give me back my Benefiber!
Review by Ramv
I have basically been constipated all my life. I saw all kinds of ads for Benefiber about six months before I decided to try it. It was the best thing that ever happened to me in terms of my daily fiber intake and the fullness I felt with just a quarter teaspoon added to a glass of water or juice. I go for long periods of time without feeling hungry. I feel like I lose pounds as soon as I ingest the product. I feel lighter, calmer, fuller and have a great BM and no bloating.
However, I must say that I suffered from nausea for about six weeks when I started using this, but my system is used to it now so I am OK. I still only take half a teaspoon on a daily basis, and I get the rest of my fiber intake from my diet, which includes fruits, cooked/raw veggies, whole grains, dairy products, salads, lots of water, vitamins, and warm drinks like green tea. Overall I am very happy with Benefiber but I do still take small doses as I'm scared that the nausea may come back!
Review by Beth
I have been suffering from IBS for about 30 years. I'm 48 years old. I finally went to my gastroenterologist last Wednesday and he told me to use Benefiber, two teaspoons twice a day. I just have to say that, beginning Friday morning through to this morning, it's been a dream! I use the bathroom once each morning and I'm totally regulated. I can now go places without worrying I'm going to spend an hour or two in the restroom suffering severe constipation and terrible diarrhea. I love you Benefiber - you're my new best friend!
Review by Jamie
I've suffered from IBS for about 20 years. I'm retired now but as a teacher I took more sick days for IBS than for any other reason. A month ago I tried Benefiber to increase the soluble fiber in my diet. The first two weeks were heaven - an easy and complete bowel movement every morning, with no straining, and I was only taking one dose a day instead of the three recommended on the box.
Then I noticed that it was not working as well so I increased the dose gradually, until I was taking three doses a day. I still have not returned to that relief I felt during the first two weeks. I almost feel that it is backfiring. I am very bloated. I do have a bowel movement, but it is incomplete with straining. I watch what I eat and exercise but I have gained weight - when I am bloated that is usually my experience. I am so disappointed! I thought I had found a cure for my constipation/IBS.
Review by Bethany
I was diagnosed with IBS almost 20 years ago. When I was first diagnosed I would almost daily have severe stomach cramps. I found, however, that by monitoring my hydration and fiber intake my IBS was very manageable. Recently I had started taking Benefiber a couple times a week, because my new work schedule wasn't allowing me to get my regular supply of fiber. This last week I began trying to lose weight, so I started taking Benefiber daily. Big mistake! Last night it just like being a kid again, I couldn't walk, I couldn't stand up straight, I couldn't even sit up straight, I was so constipated!
Since the increase in Benefiber was the only real change to my diet (besides cutting out greasy/fatty foods and pop) that's the only thing I can pinpoint it to. So my fiance ran out and bought me Dulcolax last night, and within three or four hours I was able to have a healthy BM. It was preceded by some flatulence, but it was welcome after two hours of not even being able to do that! And I have not noticed any of the cramping others had mentioned in their reviews.
Review by Rose
I am currently 14 and in high school, and I have had diarrhea almost every day for the past year. I've been constantly researching solutions, but I never found one until my mom picked me up a container of Benefiber. I've only been taking it for two weeks, and I no longer have to worry about having diarrhea embarrassingly at a friend's house. I was shocked that Benefiber worked for me, because in their commercials they don't mention IBS at all.
I really think that this is a great product. Everyone deserves a chance at living life away from the bathroom, especially IBS long-time sufferers. I would highly suggest you give the product a chance, it only takes a few days to get into your system, with only occasional and livable gas. I really think Benefiber is a lifesaver, and personally, a delicious treat.
Review by Bruce
Benefiber certainly ended my occasional constipation, but I also got practically all of the possible side effects associated with fiber supplements. At first I didn't realize that it was Benefiber causing my problems because after all it's only a wheat supplement. I encountered:
- trouble swallowing to the point where I thought I had a serious throat problem. My doctor assumed it was acid reflux
- trouble breathing
- red spots appearing on my calves which I assumed to be insect bites since I like wearing shorts
- itching on my skin (legs)
- flatulence to the point where while out I suddenly felt as if I was going to defecate in my pants!
After I researched Benefiber online I realized that it was probably the Benefiber since I think all fiber supplements can have the same side effects. I have gone back to drinking a lot of water and it feels really good to be able to breathe properly again.
Review by Mike
I have suffered from IBS for 25 years. I am currently 47 and I was told by my doctor for years that there is really nothing that could help except for changing my diet, stress level and exercise. I have pretty much become a recluse at home because I'm afraid to go out in public and have a diarrhea attack come on. Almost everything I eat goes right through me so it's hard to plan to do things when you are afraid you might not be able to find a restroom quick enough.
I finally asked my doctor to refer me to a specialist. I met with one last week and he is going to do a colonoscopy next week, but in the meantime he suggested I try Benefiber. Well after just a few days on the powder, I can tell a huge difference. This stuff works and works well. Now I can plan on doing things with my life instead of just sitting at home waiting for an IBS attack. Thanks Benefiber!
Review by Denise
I have been suffering from IBS/bile salt diarrhea for over 30 years. My symptoms became very severe a few months ago. I couldn't leave the house due to chronic diarrhea, pains, and blood and mucous in my stool. I had a colonoscopy which thankfully came out good and my doctor told me to try Benefiber. I had a sample in my closet and gave it a try.
It has been a miracle for me. I now have the freedom of leaving the house without the fear of not finding a bathroom. I also take some calcium pills with vitamin D. This actually makes me have a normal bowel movement. I started out slow, one teaspoon twice a day, and I now take one tablespoon twice a day. Benefiber is a lifesaver!
Review by Danielle
I am 23 and have I suffered from IBS for two years. I have tried everything on the shelf just about and nothing worked. I recently bought Benefiber and it changed my life. I am no longer afraid to go out in public just in case of an IBS attack. Thank you Benefiber.
Review by Lynn
I've been suffering from IBS for over 15 years now and I'm only 28! Doctors tell you the same things over and over - change your diet, exercise, reduce your stress...and when you do these things your IBS symptoms don't change, it can be very frustrating.
I've been on Paxil for the last four years to help with my symptoms and it worked great for a while, but in the last few months my symptoms have flared up again and have been absolutely horrible - pain, bloating, and alternating between constipation and diarrhea. I started to avoid public places like restaurants and theaters in case I didn't feel well when I got there.
I tried Benefiber four days ago and I noticed a huge difference after only one day! I've been able to have a BM every day for the last three days, and I don't feel like I still have to go afterwards. The only side effect so far is a little bit of gas and bloating, but I'll take that over stomach pain any day! I'm sure this will go away after a couple days of use anyway. I hope this continues to work for me, I feel normal again!
Review by Jim
I loved the original chewables. The sugar-free do not work at all. My daughter has exactly the same problem. I have to find another product. Did anyone ever test this stuff? It is very frustrating. I had finally found something that worked and they took it off the market.
Review by Cyndi
I have had mild IBS for over 10 years. During the last two months it has been horrible. The nausea, gas, bloating, headache, constipation with urgent tiny fluid-like stools, and passing of mucus with gas has made my life a nightmare. I picked up Benefiber at Walgreens three days ago and decided to try it. In the past I could never stick to a fiber drink because of the horrible taste. It's only been three days and my bloating, gas, and nausea have improved almost 50%. I am having less mucus with gas and I can finally eat. I take two teaspoons with each meal. Thanks Benefiber.
Review by Lori
I found a nurse practitioner who suggested I take the powder form of Benefiber. It was working well until I got pregnant again. Even though the powder form has no flavor it made me extremely nauseous. I started taking the chewable tablets and I love them. They are so great and work just as well.
Review by Martin
Since they changed the formula I can no longer use Benefiber. I have IBS and celiac, and Benefiber contains wheat dextrin which is a new ingredient in the product - when it first came out it did not have wheat dextrin in it. I cannot have wheat as it contains gluten. I have not been able to find a reasonable substitute.
All of the following reviews refer to the old guar gum Benefiber formulation
Review by Deanna
I have suffered from IBS since my early 20s. I am now 39. I have always taken Levsin and Librax for flare-ups. I also used another over-the-counter orange fiber drink. The last flare-up I had was two weeks ago. It was awful. I get cramps, lower back pain, diarrhea, and digestive difficulties.
This time I bought Benefiber. It is so easy to just throw some in my coffee or soda. I don't have to watch absolutely everything I eat, wondering if my bowels will like it. It is a must for my ailment. I had a friend see me pull it from my purse and put some in my diet Pepsi. She couldn't believe it. I am tapering off the meds until the next episode, but I will stay faithful to Benefiber. It is an awesome invention/discovery.
Review by Susan
I suffer from IBS which was intensified after chemo. I was to the place where I was afraid to leave the house. I changed doctors, and found one who listened to me. He told me to start taking Benefiber. I said 'I have constant diarrhea and you are prescribing fiber?' He told me it helps everyone! Well, I thought 'I'll try anything', and to my surprise it works wonders! I've recommended it to others who had the opposite problem. It was a Godsend, and I keep plenty on hand.
Review by Arthur
I suffered from almost daily gas and bloating. Frequent diarrhea, sometimes extremely urgent. I didn't make it to the toilet once. I very rarely have constipation (one or two times per year for a brief period). I have been taking Benefiber, one tablespoon in the morning, one at night-time, for just a few days in powdered form. I also changed my diet to include other sources of soluble fiber. So far, I am very pleased with how I feel. I can eat a meal without feeling like I'm going to explode afterwards. It really seems to be helping.
Review by Catherine
I have had IBS for about two years. Constipation, gas and bloating are my main symptoms. I have tried different fiber supplements and found that most of them only made me worse. Benefiber did work well for constipation but it made me extremely gassy due to the fact that it has maltodextrin in it and I am intolerant to it. But it definitely made stools very soft and it did not cramp me like some other fiber supplements did.
Review by Ruth
I have been a chronic sufferer of IBS for years. Trying Benefiber was an act of desperation in a long quest for relief. I was resorting to almost daily manual evacuations, frequent enemas and harsh laxatives. I tried so many things so many times but it would only work for a week or so. No food of any kind helped and I was likely taking too much fiber.
I discovered Benefiber on my grocery store shelf and started it last month. I'm going into my sixth week now and I can't believe I'm still 'going'! With the exception of three interventions this month I can honestly say it's the best I've been for years. My current dosage is one tablespoon a in the morning and one in the afternoon. Forgive me if I'm still a little skeptical about this apparent co-operation from my innards...
Review by Kristen
I am 37 years old and have suffered with IBS for 20 years. I have had mostly chronic diarrhea brought on by simple daily stress, like driving to work...I've had little or no constipation issues. One day my friend told me to try these tablets. After losing 10lbs last summer due to having no ability to hold any food in, (everything went right through me) I thought I'd try it.
I have taken two chewable tablets before bed for the last year. Almost instantly I began to feel better. Today I don't consider even having IBS anymore. I am truly 'regular'. If you are reading this and considering trying it for IBS, please do! It may change your life.
Review by Jennifer
I have been using both the chewable tablets and the powder form of Benefiber with great success. I have been a sufferer of chronic constipation for the past 25 years and I finally have found relief. I use the tablets when I travel, as they are a bit more expensive but more portable, but I add two tablespoons to my hot tea every morning and it works perfectly!
Review by Ann
The thing that helped me the most was Benefiber Orange Chewable fiber Tablets. For some reason the Benefiber in the granules didn't seem to help me that much but then again I didn't give the granules a fair trial run because the tablets worked so well for me, I stuck with them.
It's a pain to try to remember to take these fiber tablets, but the pain of IBS as you all well know, is a hundred times worse! The tablets may be a bit pricey... but again, it is SO worth it!
Do you suffer from IBS? Have you tried Benefiber? Please contact Sophie to send in your review.