TBH, I Always Thought Fiber Was Just for Digestion—But It’s the Beauty Benefits That Hooked Me

Put simply, 2020 has not been good to my gut. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say my out-of-whack digestion has led me to many doctor's appointments, a newfound hobby of panic-Googling symptoms, and a passion for anything that's going to help, umm, sort things out.

Unsurprisingly, I decided to take a fiber supplement. What is surprising, though, is that fiber has way more benefits than I knew about—and they go beyond gut-friendly ones to full-blown glowy-skin territory.

According to Michelle Iannacchino, RDN, founder of The Everly Health, the connection makes a ton of sense. "Our skin is often a direct reflection of what’s going on in our gut and how well our digestion is functioning," she explains.

But to understand how this works, first a little lesson on fiber: Fiber can come in both soluble and insoluble forms, which is a science-y of saying dissolvable (can be absorbed by your body) and not dissolvable (is excreted by your body)—and some fibers can also be prebiotics. "Prebiotic fibers are food sources that feed and balance our gut bacteria, keeping our digestion strong and healthy," says Iannacchino.

To kick off my personal fiber journey, I opted for a supplement that checked off both the soluble and prebiotic boxes (aka, jackpot):  Bellway; Next Generation Fiber. The star ingredient? Psyllium husk. "Psyllium husk is a soluble fiber and can be fantastic for moving things along in the digestive tract to help with constipation and uncomfortable bowel movements," says Iannacchino.

So in the name of "moving things along," I started sipping a glass each morning (you stir a scoop or two into eight ounces of cool water, and drink immediately)—and it quickly became my favorite feel-good sidekick for more than the digestion boost.

Keep scrolling to learn more about the digestion and beauty benefits of fiber, according to an RD.

The beauty scoop

While supporting the good bacteria in your gut is important, there's also friendly bacteria on your skin that contributes to your overall glow—and that's where fiber can make an assist. "Prebiotic fibers have been shown to help maintain the pH of our skin and balance out our skin microbiota," says Iannacchino.

For even bigger beauty impact, Bellway combines fiber with collagen (hello, beauty-world darling) in Bellway; Beauty Super Fiber + Collagen, which is also formulated with hydrating hyaluronic acid and comes in strawberry lemonade and matcha lemon flavors (yum).

"Collagen has gotten some great press over the last couple of years and for good reason," Iannacchino says. "One of the reasons being that it’s extremely versatile and our bodies use it for a variety of different functions. Some of the biggest benefits of taking collagen include improving the appearance of hair, skin, and nails, supporting bone formation, growth, and repair, aiding in joint pain, and helping to heal leaky gut."

The benefits keep coming

Okay, so all of that is enough for me to keep sipping each morning—but I also just dig the way it makes me feel. My personal fave is Bellway; Next Generation Fiber Lemon Lime (it tastes like a refreshing glass of lemonade, but minus all the sugar), which has a much smoother texture than I expected. At the risk of TMI, it doesn't make me bloated or gassy at all—which can’t be said of every fiber supplement out there.

And meanwhile, says Iannacchino, fiber is doing some pretty important jobs. "It’s been known to help with managing diabetes, improving cholesterol, and helping with weight loss," she says of psyllium husk in particular.

Oh, and it can provide an anti-inflammatory boost. "Strengthening our gut is one of the most powerful things we can do to help with inflammation," she says, adding that "in order to help manage, decrease, and eliminate the inflammation in our bodies, it’s crucial that we work to balance our gut bacteria and work to improve digestion. Fiber is one of the key components in working to repair the gut as it helps support proper bowel movements in flushing out toxic waste that our bodies need to eliminate."

While you're probably getting major "fiber can do anything" vibes at this point, there's one thing to remember, says Iannacchino:  When increasing your fiber intake, you need to drink more water for it to be properly absorbed. Considering the beauty boost of staying properly hydrated—along with my new fiber routine—I say, bottoms up.

Photo: Bellway; Next Generation Fiber

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