Jill Levy has been with the Dr. Axe and Ancient Nutrition team for seven years. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Fairfield University, followed by a certification as a Holistic Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Jill takes a “non-diet” approach to health and really enjoys teaching others about mindful eating, intuitive eating and the benefits of eating real foods.
Acacia Fiber's 4 Health Benefits, Including as a Prebiotic
Posted by Ethan Boldt on
Although it might sound like a mystery ingredient, acacia fiber (also called acacia gum or gum arabic) has been used for centuries to support digestive health and for other purposes.
Acacia is still found in a wide range of products today — for example, it’s added to baked goods, skincare and haircare products, and fiber supplements due to its ability to improve the texture of some foods and creams, and also to increase one’s fiber intake. It's also a featured ingredient in Ancient Nutrition's new Vegetarian Collagen Peptides.
What does acacia fiber do when you consume it? One of its key benefits is helping probiotics, which are “good guy bacteria” that live in the gut microbiome, to thrive. This equates to support for healthy digestion and elimination. Additionally, it has the potential to make you feel fuller longer.
What Is Acacia Fiber?
Acacia fiber is a type of soluble prebiotic fiber that comes from the sap of the acacia tree (Acacia senegal/Acacia seyal), which is native to parts of India, Africa and Pakistan. Once the sap is made into powder, it’s high in fiber, with about 7 grams of fiber per tablespoon of acacia.
What makes acacia fiber a good prebiotic? Prebiotics in general are a group of fibers that are non-digestible, meaning once you eat them they won’t be fully broken down inside your gut, but instead will foster the growth and production of beneficial bacteria known as probiotics.
One advantage of acacia fiber compared to other fibers is that acacia tends to be easy to digest. Does acacia fiber cause gas? Not typically, although everyone’s different.
While some fibers and prebiotics can cause occasional gas and bloating, acacia fiber generally doesn’t “ferment” in the gut as quickly as some other fibers, which usually means less occasional bloating and flatulence.
Why is acacia fiber good for you? Here are the main benefits associated with this type of fiber:
1. Acts as a Prebiotic to Support Overall Gut Health
As mentioned above, prebiotics such as acacia gum help your gut microbiota (tiny organisms living inside your gastrointestinal tract) to thrive, since they act as fuel for friendly bacteria.
This is very important, because your gut microbiota plays a huge role not only in digestion, but also in healthy immune system function, nutrient absorption, one’s outlook and much more.
We should all strive to maintain a balanced and diverse gut microbiota, and one way to do this is to consume plenty of prebiotics and probiotics, which work together, from our diets and/or supplements.
You can take acacia fiber as a stand-alone supplement, which will help boost your fiber intake, or you can consume it with other ingredients, such as in probiotic capsules or some of our collagen supplements.
As always, you should consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any new diet or lifestyle regimen, including dietary supplementation.
2. May Help Keep “Things Moving Along”
Adding more soluble fiber to your diet is a smart way to help “keep things moving along,” since it keeps things on track in your GI tract and promotes healthy elimination. Depending on your overall diet and the state of your digestive health, acacia fiber along with certain probiotics may also be beneficial for decreasing occasional bloating, gas and constipation.
Just be sure to consume prebiotics/soluble fiber with plenty of water and liquids, since this helps them do their job best.
3. Can Help Fill You Up And Manage Your Appetite
Consuming more fiber, including both insoluble and soluble fibers, often leads to greater feelings of fullness and satiety, which can help with appetite control and managing your calorie intake.
People who consume the recommended amount of fiber each day (25 to 30 grams or more daily) along with a healthy, calorie-conscious diet are often better able to manage an overall healthy weight.
4. May Also Have Other Bodywide Benefits
Because acacia fiber functions as a thickener, emulsifier and stabilizer, other uses for it include improving the consistency of various beauty products and supplements.
Additionally, this fiber has traditionally been used to help promote overall health, in part because it can support the microbiome health of the skin and mouth (just like it does for the gut).
Acacia vs. Psyllium Husk
Psyllium husk is a popular fiber supplement that is taken in powder form, most often mixed into water or another beverage. While acacia fiber is most commonly consumed as a powder too, it has a finer texture and is more blendable than psyllium husk.
Some people find psyllium to have a gritty mouthfeel and “sawdust”-like texture, although others find it tolerable and useful for feeling full and promoting overall healthy bowel function.
If you’ve tried other fiber supplements, such as psyllium husk, but find that you don’t react well to them, you may want to give acacia gum a try instead. Because it isn’t usually prone to rapid fermentation, acacia is typically gentle on the stomach. Plus it has a neutral taste that makes it versatile and easy to use (see below for some suggestions).
How to Use
Powdered acacia fiber is basically tasteless, allowing you to use it in many ways such as in smoothies, soups, sauces, dressings, healthy desserts and so on.
Acacia is available as a powder or capsule supplement in many health food stores or online. Ideally, opt for acacia products that are non-GMO and made without allergens, added sugar or fillers.
In terms of how much acacia to use, typical recommendations range from up to 10 as well as 10 to 15 grams of acacia powder per day, but most suggest starting lower and building from there. Because each acacia product is a bit different, always read the label’s directions for suggested use as well as its ingredients. This way you understand what you’re consuming and how much to take.
Because it’s a natural fiber and generally well-tolerated, most people can take acacia fiber daily. However, you should consult your healthcare professional first.
Acacia is generally recognized as safe to use as a supplement, but if you’re not accustomed to eating much fiber, start slowly with about 10 grams daily or less and gradually increase your intake, per your healthcare professional’s guidance. Drink plenty of additional water throughout the day, too.
You’ll find acacia fiber in Ancient Nutrition’s Vegetarian Collagen Peptides. It has 10 grams of the Vegetarian Collagen Peptide, Prebiotic and Probiotic Blend made up of acacia gum, fermented eggshell membrane collagen and 2 billion CFU* (*at time of manufacture) of the probiotic Bacillus coagulans.
Our Vegetarian Collagen Peptides (VCP) are made with a proprietary fermented eggshell membrane collagen ingredient, plus acacia fiber and probiotics for additional digestive support. Because collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, perks of adding more to your routine include support for healthy joints, skin and hair.
The collagen found in this formula is sourced exclusively from eggshell membranes derived from sustainably raised chickens in the U.S. It’s also fermented to create a hydrolyzed product that’s easy for the body to absorb and utilize.
VCP features the probiotic strain called Bacillus coagulans, which together with acacia fiber offers benefits such as: help for reducing occasional constipation, gas and bloating; promotion of healthy elimination; and support for healthy microbial balance in the gut.
Simply stir a scoop of VCP powder into water or another beverage such as almond milk or coffee. It easily blends into liquids and recipes including smoothies, oatmeal, pancakes or other baked goods.