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Sunfiber (Partially Hydrolyzed Guar Gum PHGG): The Best Prebiotic for Digestive Problems

sunfiber partially hydrolyzed guar gum PHGG

Sunfiber (partially hydrolyzed guar gum or PHGG) is one of the most well-tolerated prebiotics on the market and is especially useful for those dealing with symptoms like bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea. Learn more about how Sunfiber might be helpful for you in this article.

As someone who works almost exclusively with clients with digestive problems, I get really excited about prebiotics (a substance that feeds healthy gut bacteria) that are well-tolerated even by those with issues like bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.

I’m a huge fan of pretty much all prebiotics as they can all be useful for those with imbalanced gut bacteria — much like probiotics being strain-specific in their effects, each prebiotic has a slightly different effect on the beneficial bacteria colonies that live in your gut.

But the problem with many prebiotics is that they’re not particularly well-tolerated by those with digestive problems…and as you can imagine, these are often the people that need them most!

Some prebiotics cause digestive problems, especially when taken in high doses right away. The most common digestive side effect when taking prebiotics is bloating.

The Well-Tolerated Prebiotic Fiber

Sunfiber is very unique in that sense; unlike most other prebiotic fibers, it is actually very well-tolerated by most people with digestive issues. 

It’s a prebiotic I’ve used for years in my practice with much success because of how well it’s tolerated.

In fact, it’s my go-to prebiotic choice because of this — I know that it’s very unlikely that a client won’t respond well to it. Sadly, this isn’t the case with many other prebiotic choices on the market.

So let’s dig into why Sunfiber is an excellent choice for a prebiotic and how it is especially helpful for those dealing with digestive complaints.

The Scientific Evidence

Now, just because a prebiotic is well-tolerated by those with digestive issues doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s effective. That’s where looking at the research comes in handy — we want to see that taking Sunfiber provides a benefit, of course!

Partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG) is very unique in that the scientific evidence supports its use in a range of digestive issues, including reducing constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and more.

Sunfiber Reduces Constipation

Sunfiber (partially hydrolyzed guar gum) has been used in many studies to reduce constipation and increase bowel movement frequency. In addition to this, research shows that PHGG consumption improves stool consistency, changing it from hard to normal.

Consuming Sunfiber also seems to reduce the need for the use of laxatives and enemas, taking their use from 2 to <0.1 and 7-8 to 1-3, respectively.

Partially hydrolyzed guar gum at 5g/day increases colonic transit time (essentially the speed at which your digestive system moves food through it) by about 12 hours in constipated patients, and by about 22 hours in those with slow transit time. 

Interestingly, these benefits occurred when using a wide range of dosages of Sunfiber within these studies. Dosages from 5g/day to 36g/day were used, all with significant benefits to constipation.

This means that even at dosages as low as 5g/day, you may notice improvements in bowel movement frequency, abdominal pain related to constipation, and stool consistency.

Sunfiber Reduces Diarrhea

Acute instances of diarrhea can be disruptive and sometimes dangerous.

Sunfiber significantly reduces the incidence of diarrhea as well as the frequency of diarrhea in those with health issues that make them more prone to this condition.

In a study of healthy adults made to have diarrhea (by giving them a hefty dose of sugar alcohols), 10g of Sunfiber strongly reduced the incidence of diarrhea by a cumulative 82%.

It seems that a higher relative dose of partially hydrolyzed guar gum is beneficial for diarrhea — these studies used doses from 5g all the way up to 28g/day with good effect. 

Given the evidence, I suggest around 10g/day for those dealing with diarrhea.

Sunfiber Improves IBS Symptoms

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition that can lower your quality of life significantly. It also happens to be where Sunfiber really shines.

Sunfiber (partially hydrolyzed guar gum) has been shown to significantly improve a host of IBS symptoms, including:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Bowel habits
  • Flatulence (gas)
  • Abdominal spasm
  • Quality of life

In addition to this, Sunfiber decreases the concentration of methane in stool. This may be particularly helpful for those dealing with methane dominant SIBO.

The dosages used in these studies ranged from 5-10g/day, but even at the lower dosage partially hydrolyzed guar gum was highly effective in reducing IBS symptoms.

Therefore, if you suffer from IBS, just taking 5g/day of Sunfiber may help improve your symptoms.

Many of these studies had participants taking Sunfiber for at least 3 weeks, so make sure to give it some time to start working! You’ll need to take Sunfiber daily for at least this amount of time to start noticing a difference.

Sunfiber is Prebiotic

Partially hydrolyzed guar gum (Sunfiber) is a prebiotic, meaning that it increases the number of healthy bacteria in your gut microbiome.

Research shows that Sunfiber increases counts of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus species — two of the main beneficial bacteria present in your gut.

In addition to this, Sunfiber is highly fermentable. This means that your bacteria can “eat” Sunfiber, and when they do, they produce highly beneficial compounds called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).

Short-chain fatty acids fuel the cells of your digestive tract, keeping your gut (and your body as a whole) healthy.

I recommend taking at least 6g of Sunfiber per day if you’re specifically looking for prebiotic effects.

Taking Partially Hydrolyzed Guar Gum (PHGG)

As you can see, Sunfiber may be a great choice for you if you suffer from digestive issues and want help reducing your symptoms.

The dosage you may want to take ranges a bit, but in general I would recommend at least 6g/day because that is the point at which Sunfiber becomes prebiotic (meaning that we see significant increases in the counts of beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome).

From there, we see dosages go up to 36g/day in some of these studies — clearly, you can take quite a lot of it and notice benefits!

However, it is clear from this research that a high dosage like that may not be necessary for symptom improvement.

In general, I recommend keeping your intake anywhere from 6g to 20g/day.

As mentioned above, it’s also important to be consistent with taking partially hydrolyzed guar gum in order to notice the benefits. I typically tell my clients to expect to notice symptom improvement within a few weeks of taking Sunfiber daily.

Gut Power: An Easy Source of Sunfiber

Sunfiber is one of my favorite prebiotic fibers out there, so when I wanted to create a prebiotic & probiotic drink mix, I knew I wanted to include Sunfiber in it.

Gut Power Matcha is a blend of prebiotics (Sunfiber partially hydrolyzed guar gum), probiotics (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086), and organic matcha green tea from Japan.

In just one scoop, you get not only a delicious cup of matcha but also 6g of Sunfiber and 1 billion CFUs of our probiotic strain.

It’s truly the easiest, tastiest way to support your gut health!

Want to try it for yourself? Click here to order.

The Bottom Line:

Sunfiber is a well-tolerated prebiotic fiber with a lot of evidence supporting its use in those with digestive complaints. Partially hydrolyzed guar gum has been shown to significantly improve symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, flatulence (gas), abdominal pain, and more.

For an easy way to incorporate Sunfiber on a daily basis, try Gut Power Matcha, which includes 6g of Sunfiber per serving.

Resources

This article is a summary of an excellent review article: 

Rao, Theertham Pradyumna, and Giuseppina Quartarone. “Role of guar fiber in improving digestive health and function.” Nutrition (2018). Link to article.

4 replies
      • jasmine
        jasmine says:

        HI kelsey, I was taking a phgg prebiotic, but then heard a podcast episode which recommended galactomune (also a prebiotic), wondering what the differences are and if you’d recommend one over the other? I finished my round with Sibo antibiotics (rifaximin and neomycin) and am looking for gut healing, which is how I found the podcast. I just ran out of the phgg and was wondering if there are better alternatives or if I should keep at it…

        Reply
        • Kelsey Kinney MS, RD
          Kelsey Kinney MS, RD says:

          Hey Jasmine, thanks for your comment and question. I love pretty much all prebiotics and they all act somewhat differently for different people and on the microbiome itself. PHGG is wonderful and is typically the most well-tolerated option for someone with GI issues, so I use that quite often. I like Bimuno as well (contains GOS like Galactomune). So I’d say you’re good to stick with PHGG (especially if you’re worried about tolerance of other prebiotics), but you can try out some others as well! You can also take more than 1, which is what I sometimes have clients do if they’re really low on lots of different beneficial bugs in their gut. Hope that helps 🙂

          Reply

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