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Difference Between Metamucil and Probiotics

Both Metamucil and probiotics are good for digestive health. Metamucil is a fiber supplement; this brand name is also an over-the-counter laxative to treat constipation. In comparison, probiotics are live helpful bacteria and yeasts that are good for the gut. The following discussions delve into their differences. 

What is Metamucil? 

Metamucil is a fiber supplement made from psyllium (a shrub-like herb called Plantago ovata and sometimes called ispaghula). 

Uses:

It is used to treat occasional constipation; high cholesterol when combined with proper diet; and other related purposes (Multum, 2020). It is advertised as helpful in maintaining blood sugar levels, heart health, and electrolytes absorption. Also, Metamucil’s soluble fiber may promote weight loss as it curbs hunger and slows down digestion (Procter & Gamble, 2020).

Dosage: 

Adults are generally recommended to take one dose in 8 ounces of liquid. Children, 6 to 11 years old, are recommended to take half a dose in 8 ounces of liquid (Your Health Remedy, 2018). 

Ingredients: 

This brand is advertised to have 100% natural psyllium husk (Procter & Gamble, 2020). Metamucil has 70% soluble fiber and 30 % insoluble fiber. Specifically, the product “Smooth Texture Sugar-Free Unflavored Metamucil Powder” has sodium, calcium, citric acid, potassium, and maltodextrin (Drugs.com, 2020). Metamucil’s other flavors (i.e., orange flavor) and versions (i.e., course milled, capsules, etc.) contain inactive ingredients such as artificial orange flavor, sucrose, Yellow 6, and natural citric acid (Your Health Remedy, 2018). 

Side Effects: 

The side effects may include stomach pain, difficulty swallowing, skin rash, vomiting, itching, nausea, and difficulty breathing (Your Health Remedy, 2018). 

Price: 

The following are the prices of some of the Metamucil products in Amazon (as of December 12, 2021) 

ProductPrice
Metamucil Sugar-Free Fiber Supplement, 180 Servings, 4-in-1 Psyllium Husk Powder, Orange Smooth Sugar Free$25.44 
Metamucil Premium Blend, Natural Psyllium Husk Powder Fiber Supplement, Plant Based, Sugar-Free with Stevia, 4-in-1 Fiber$34.67
Metamucil Orange Sugar Free Smooth Texture Powder$57.95
Metamucil Fiber Thins, Psyllium Husk Fiber Supplement, Digestive Health Support and Satisfy Hunger, Apple Crisp Flavored$47.96
Metamucil Fiber Therapy for Regularity, Fiber Supplement, 340 Capsules$63.99

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics (from the Latin preposition “pro” which means “for” and the Greek word “biotic” which means life) are live helpful bacteria and yeasts that are good for the gut (Felson, 2020). 

Benefits 

The health-boosting spectrum of probiotics include the following (Aponte, et al., 2020): 

  • Helpful in alleviating lactose intolerance

The consumption of Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. Bulgaricus in yogurt has been shown to be helpful in alleviating lactose intolerance. 

  • Helpful in alleviating gastrointestinal tract disorders 
  • The use of Leuconostoc cremoris and BacillusBifidobacteriumLactobacillusLactococcusSaccharomyces, or Streptococcus spp. (individually or in combination) was found out to have a protective effect in treating antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
  • Probiotics showed a statistically significant efficacy in preventing traveler’s diarrhea. 
  • Probiotics has been found out to improve the health of the gastro-intestinal tract and the immune system; they are recommended to help people with inflammatory bowel diseases and Helicobacter pylori infection. 
  • May decrease the risk or duration of respiratory tract infections 
  • A study showed that yogurt added with Lactobaciillus paracasei N1115 can mitigate respiratory tract infections by increasing T cells. 

Moreover, probiotics have been studied to be helpful in alleviating other conditions such as urinary tract infections, chronic kidney diseases, bacterial vaginosis, androgenetic alopecia, dental carries, osteoporosis, hand, foot, and mouth disease, immunity disorders, and metabolic disorders. 

Dosage 

The optimal dose of probiotics depends on the product, strain, and condition. For instance, it was observed that taking Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG 1 to 2 x 1010 colony forming units (CFU) per day reduced antibiotic-associated diarrhea risk in children by 71%. Moreover, clinical trials showed that a daily dose of at least 1010 CFU Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is most effective in treating infectious diarrhea (National Institutes of Health, 2020). Although there is no general dosing recommendation, the common dosage for adults is 5 billion to 10 billion CFU daily (Harvard Health Publishing, 2021). 

Common Kinds and Sources of Probiotics

Many probiotics are naturally living in the body, they are also found in fermented products such as yogurt, some cheeses, and pickled vegetables. The common species are Bifidobacteria (usually used in food and supplements), Lactobacillus (naturally found in the mouth, small intestine, and vagina). The common strains include B. animalis, B.breve, B. lactis, B. longum, L. acidophilus, and L. reuteri (Hecht, 2017). 

Risk/ Side Effects  

One theoretical risk is that a person can get sick from probiotics if his immune system has been weakened by illness or medication (Harvard Health, 2019). Though probiotics are generally safe, the side effects may include bloating, headaches, and increase histamine levels (Julson, 2017). 

Price 

The following are the prices of some of the probiotics supplements in Amazon (as of December 12, 2021) 

ProductPrice
Renew Life Probiotics 30 billion CFU Guaranteed, 12 Strains, For Men & Women, Shelf Stable, Gluten Dairy & Soy Free$16.73
100 billion CFU 13 Strains, Raw Probiotics with Vitamin C & Zinc for Immune Support, Gut & Digestive Health$34.99
Bronson Probiotic 50 billion CFU + Prebiotic with Apple Polyphenols & Pineapple Fruit Extract for Women & Men Non-GMO$19.99
NewRhythm Probiotics 50 billion CFU 20 Strains, Veggie Capsules, Targeted Release Technology, Stomach Acid Resistant$16.99 
NOW Supplements, Probiotic-10, 25 billion, with 10 Probiotic Strains, Dairy, Soy and Gluten Free, Strain Verified, Veg Capsules$26.38

Difference between Metamucil and Probiotics

Definition 

Metamucil is a fiber supplement made from psyllium while probiotics are live helpful bacteria and yeasts that are good for the gut. 

Uses/Benefits 

Metamucil is used to treat occasional constipation; high cholesterol when combined with proper diet; and other related purposes (Multum, 2020). It is advertised as helpful in maintaining blood sugar levels, heart health, and electrolytes absorption. Also, Metamucil’s soluble fiber may promote weight loss as it curbs hunger and slows down digestion (Procter & Gamble, 2020). In comparison, the health-boosting spectrum of probiotics include alleviating lactose intolerance, gastrointestinal tract disorders, respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, chronic kidney diseases, bacterial vaginosis, androgenetic alopecia, dental carries, osteoporosis, hand, foot, and mouth disease, immunity disorders, and metabolic disorders (Aponte, et al., 2020). 

Dosage 

Adults are generally recommended to take one dose in 8 ounces of liquid. Children, 6 to 11 years old, are recommended to take half a dose in 8 ounces of liquid (Your Health Remedy, 2018). Regarding the optimal dose of probiotics, it depends on the product, strain, and condition. For instance, it was observed that taking Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG 1 to 2 x 1010 colony forming units (CFU) per day reduced antibiotic-associated diarrhea risk in children by 71%. Moreover, clinical trials showed that a daily dose of at least 1010 CFU Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is most effective in treating infectious diarrhea (National Institutes of Health, 2020). Although there is no general dosing recommendation, the common dosage for adults is 5 billion to 10 billion CFU daily (Harvard Health Publishing, 2021). 

Ingredients/ Sources 

Metamucil is advertised to have 100% natural psyllium husk (Procter & Gamble, 2020). It has 70% soluble fiber and 30 % insoluble fiber. In comparison, many probiotics are naturally living in the body, they are also found in fermented products such as yogurt, some cheeses, and pickled vegetables. The common species are Bifidobacteria (usually used in food and supplements), Lactobacillus (naturally found in the mouth, small intestine, and vagina). The common strains include B. animalis, B. breve, B. lactis, B. longum, L. acidophilus, and L. reuteri (Hecht, 2017). 

Side Effects 

Metamucil’s side effects may include stomach pain, difficulty swallowing, skin rash, vomiting, itching, nausea, and difficulty breathing (Your Health Remedy, 2018). As for probiotics, one theoretical risk is that a person can get sick if his immune system has been weakened by illness or medication (Harvard Health, 2019). Though probiotics are generally safe, the side effects may include bloating, headaches, and increase histamine levels (Julson, 2017). 

Metamucil vs Probiotics 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 

Can Metamucil and probiotics be taken together?

The usual answer is yes. When taken together, fiber and probiotics should not cause problems since they can complement each other. Some manufacturers are even combining probiotics with fiber (Grey, 2021).

 Does Metamucil help gut bacteria?

Yes, the soluble fiber can feed the good bacteria in our intestines (Johnson, 2018). 

Do probiotics help you poop better?

Researchers found that probiotics increased the frequency of weekly bowel movements and helped soften stools (Corliss, 2019). 

Do probiotics help with fiber?

Yes, probiotics and fiber are a powerful duo. Soluble fibers can serve as fuel source for probiotics (Floradapt, 2021). 

Summary 

  • Metamucil is a fiber supplement made from psyllium while probiotics are live helpful bacteria and yeasts that are good for the gut.
  • Metamucil is used to treat occasional constipation; high cholesterol when combined with proper diet; and other related purposes (Multum, 2020) while the health-boosting spectrum of probiotics include alleviating lactose intolerance, gastrointestinal tract disorders, respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, and chronic kidney diseases (Aponte, et al., 2020).
  • Metamucil is advertised to have 100% natural psyllium husk (Procter & Gamble, 2020). It has 70% soluble fiber and 30 % insoluble fiber. In comparison, many probiotics are naturally living in the body, they are also found in fermented products (Hecht, 2017). 


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References :


[0]Amazon (2021). Metamucil. https://www.amazon.com/metamucil/s?k=metamucil

[1]Amazon (2021). Probiotics. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=probiotic&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

[2]Aponte, M., Murru, N., & Shoukat, M. (2020). Therapeutic, prophylactic, and functional use of probiotics: A current perspective. Microbiology. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2020.562048/full

[3]Corliss, J. (2019). Probiotics may ease constipation. Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/probiotics-may-ease-constipation-201408217377

[4]Drugs.com (2020). Metamucil smooth texture powder, sugar-free, regular flavor. https://www.drugs.com/drp/metamucil-smooth-texture-powder-sugar-free-regular-flavor.html#:~:text=Each%20dose%20of%20Metamucil%20capsules,for%20all%20versions%20and%20flavors

[5]Felson, S. (2020). What are probiotics? WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/what-are-probiotics

[6]Floradapt (2021). Probiotics and fiber. https://www.floradapt.com/probiotics/probiotics-vs-fiber-supplements-together/

[7]Grey, C. (2021) Can you take probiotics and fiber in the same day? Livestrong.com https://www.livestrong.com/article/517554-can-one-take-probiotics-and-fiber-during-the-same-day/

[8]Harvard Health Publishing (2019). Should you take probiotics? https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-take-probiotics

[9]Hecht, M., (2017). What are the most common types of probiotics? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/types-of-probiotics

[10]Julson, E. (2017). 5 possible side effects of probiotics. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/probiotics-side-effects

[11]Johnson, J. (2018). Benefiber vs. Metamucil. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322538

[12]Multum, C. (2020). Metamucil. Drugs.Com. https://www.drugs.com/mtm/metamucil.html

[13]Procter & Gamble (2020). Metamucil. https://www.metamucil.com/en-us/articles/Fiber-101/benefits-of-metamucil-fiber-supplement

[14]National Institutes of Health. (2020). Probiotics. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Probiotics-HealthProfessional/

[15]Your Health Remedy (2018). Konsyl vs Metamucil- comparison of side effects and benefits. https://www.yourhealthremedy.com/nutrients/konsyl-vs-metamucil/

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