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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.

Top 100 High Polyphenol Foods: The Best Foods for a Healthy Microbiome

polyphenols foods

One of the best things you can do for better gut health is to eat a diverse diet full of high polyphenol foods.

If you’re a pretty healthy eater and consume lots of plant matter, you might be surprised to learn that you’re already eating quite a bit of high polyphenol foods. Even so, you can always strategically increase your polyphenol intake for even more health benefits.

In this article, we’ll discuss the high polyphenol diet: what it is, how to implement it, and the massive benefits you can expect once you implement this easy, delicious diet.

Let’s jump in!

What are Polyphenols?

Polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, are naturally-occurring compounds found in plants that benefit the human body in a myriad of ways. (1) Polyphenols include things like the flavanols in chocolate, anthocyanins elderberry and currants, stillbenes in wine, and lignans in flaxseed.

Polyphenols may improve microbial balance in the gut microbiome, regulate blood sugar, and improve your heart health, among other benefits.

You’ve probably heard the term “antioxidant” before, but perhaps not “polyphenol.” While polyphenols are an important sub-category of antioxidants, they haven’t received the attention that antioxidants have gotten in the last few years in the health sphere.

Newer research now shows that polyphenols do something quite incredible: they act as a prebiotic (a substance that fuels beneficial bacteria in your gut) for the microbiome. In return, your gut bacteria transform polyphenols into health-promoting metabolites that you’re then able to absorb into the body.

Polyphenols contribute the wide array of colors you see in your food: the red in the skin of your apple, the blue in your blueberries, and the green in your matcha. These beautiful colors indicate the presence of polyphenols in your food — therefore, the more color you can include in your diet, the more polyphenols you’ll get!

Eating foods high in polyphenols and a diet with a wide array of different polyphenols (i.e. different colors) helps the bacteria in your gut become more diverse. It is thought that microbial diversity in the gut microbiome is very important, as lower diversity is seen in health conditions such as IBD, metabolic syndrome, and allergic disease, among others. (2, 3, 4)

Polyphenol Benefits

So how exactly do polyphenols benefit your body?

Polyphenols make it through the entire digestive process mostly intact, making it down to the large intestine. Here, polyphenols serve as “food” for the healthy flora in your microbiome, while your bacteria “process” the polyphenols and transform them into beneficial metabolites that you can then absorb into the bloodstream. (5) Because of this, polyphenols classify as prebiotics.

Here’s what the research has to say about the benefits of polyphenols:

  • Increases counts of Akkermansia muciniphila, a beneficial species of bacteria. (6) Akkermansia spp. counts have been found to be low in people with health conditions like diabetes, metabolic syndrome, IBD, autism, and more. (7) This bacteria is crucial for the integrity of the gut barrier (i.e. is important in preventing “leaky gut”). (8)
  • May help to prevent age-related cognitive decline. (9) This particular study looked specifically at the impact of berry polyphenols. Berry polyphenols also seem to protect against neurodegenerative disorders, as well. (10)
  • May have anti-cancer effects. A number of polyphenols have been shown to have anti-cancer effects. (11) Tea polyphenols, in particular, can do a lot to help prevent UVB-induced skin cancer. (12)
  • May delay or prevent the development of metabolic syndrome. Intakes of polyphenols have been inversely associated with metabolic syndrome (meaning, the more polyphenols you consume, the less likely you are to have metabolic syndrome). (13) In addition to this, consuming polyphenols has been shown to delay or prevent the development of metabolic syndrome and improve markers such as body weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and lipid metabolism. (14) It is thought that these beneficial effects may be due in part to the proliferation of Akkermansia spp. in relation to polyphenol intake.

Because polyphenols act as prebiotics, they help to prevent imbalanced gut bacteria or dysbiosis.

Foods High in Polyphenols

Given the benefits of polyphenols, you’ll want to incorporate as many high polyphenol foods as possible into your diet.

Luckily, researchers have analyzed many of the foods we have access to in order to determine which foods have the highest concentration of polyphenols per serving. (15)

Below are the top 100 high polyphenol foods, separated by category, and in order of polyphenols per serving within each category.

High Polyphenol Fruits:

Fruit:Serving Size (g):Polyphenol Content Per Serving (mg):
Black elderberry1451956
Black chokeberry1451595
Blackcurrant1451092
Highbush blueberry145806
Lowbush blueberry145395
Sweet cherry145394
Strawberry166390
Blackberry144374
Plum85320
Red raspberry144310
Pure apple juice248168
Apple110149
Pure pomegranate juice15099
Black grape5491
Pure grapefruit juice15079
Pure blood orange juice15471
Prune3262
Redcurrant14462
Peach9959
Green grape5448
Pure pummelo juice15427
Nectarine9925
Pear13823
Apricot6522
Quince10019
Bilberry1457.4
Pure lemon juice156.3
Banana972.5
Pomegranate1001.1

High Polyphenol Vegetables:

Vegetable:Serving Size (g):Polyphenol Content Per Serving (mg):
Globe artichoke heads168436
Black olive1585
Spinach5970
Green olive1552
Red onion3050
Potato12836
Shallot3236
Red chicory1433
Broccoli7233
Green chicory1423
Yellow onion3022
Asparagus6522
Extra virgin olive oil1610
Carrot547.6
Red lettuce245.4
Green bean604.8
Curly endive143.4
Cauliflower382.7
Rapeseed oil162.5
Pumpkin602.5
Endive (escarole)142.5
Tomato502.1
Green lettuce241.9
White onion301.6
Sweet green pepper200.9

Nuts, Seeds, Grains, and Legumes High in Polyphenols:

Food:Serving Size (g):Polyphenol Content Per Serving (mg):
Flaxseed meal20306
Chestnut19230
Whole grain rye bread120146
Hazelnut28138
Soy yogurt125105
Soy flour2093
Pecan nut1569
Soy, tempeh4059
Soy tofu13054
Black bean3552
White bean3544
Roasted soybean1537
Soy meat4029
Whole grain rye flour2029
Almond1019
Whole grain wheat flour2014
Soybean sprout609.3
Soy cheese404.9
Peanuts, roasted dehulled402.6
Pasta602.5
Refined oat flour201.6
Refined wheat flour201.2

Other Foods High in Polyphenols:

Food:Serving Size (g):Polyphenol Content Per Serving (mg):
Coffee, filtered190408
Dark chocolate17283
Black tea195197
Green tea195173
Red wine125126
Cocoa powder3103
Milk chocolate3275
Chocolate beverage with milk18739
Soy milk18734
Beer57422
White wine12513
Rose wine12512
Dark beer57410

How to Eat a High Polyphenol Diet

For the most diverse, healthy microbiome, your diet should be as high in polyphenols as possible.

Here’s how to easily eat a high polyphenol diet.

Eat More High Polyphenol Foods

One of the easiest ways to get more polyphenols in your diet, of course, is to incorporate more of the high polyphenol foods on the lists above into your eating habits.

For example, if you normally eat two eggs and a smoothie for breakfast, you could choose particularly high polyphenol fruits and vegetables to add to your smoothie (and maybe even some flaxseed meal, too!) and spice up your eggs with some herbs. Drink a cup of tea or coffee on top of that and you’ve got a nice high polyphenol meal!

Instead of having some ice cream for dessert after dinner, you could instead choose a few pieces of dark chocolate to amp up your polyphenol intake.

Wherever you can, choose high polyphenol foods to incorporate into your diet and you’re bound to eat more polyphenols than you were before.

Eat at Least 40 Different Plant Foods Each Week

Gut researcher and educator Jason Hawrelak of ProbioticAdvisor.com recommends trying to eat at least 40 different plant foods each week, and I tend to agree with this advice.

When doing this, note that a purple carrot counts as a different food than an orange carrot when counting your plant foods each week. Your different herbs and spices count separately, too!

So instead of eating white potatoes each night for dinner, you’re better off eating white potatoes some nights, but also incorporating sweet potatoes, japanese potatoes, purple potatoes, etc to help you more easily reach your 40 different plant foods each week.

The easy rule of thumb to remember is: the more diverse the colors (polyphenols) in your food, the more diverse your microbiome!

Change Up Your 40 Plant Foods Each Week for Maximum Diversity

If you want to go above and beyond and really maximize your microbial diversity, you can change up your 40 plant foods each week as much as possible.

While it would be great to have an entirely different set of 40 plant foods each week, for most people that will be quite difficult. Instead, just try to change as many foods as you can from week to week!

By doing this, you help to encourage microbial diversity in your gut. This is because each different polyphenol helps to encourage the growth of different beneficial bacteria in the gut.

The Bottom Line

Polyphenols give the wide array of colors we see in our food and act as prebiotics in the gut to feed your beneficial bacteria. The more high polyphenol foods you can incorporate into your diet, the more diverse your microbiome becomes. Microbial diversity in the gut is associated with better health outcomes.