Q&A with Gastroenterologist Dr. Roshini Raj: Going Number Two, Fiber Supplements, & More

5 min read

Q&A with Gastroenterologist Dr. Roshini Raj: Going Number Two, Fiber Supplements, & More

Posted Jun 27, 2024 Updated Jun 27, 2024

We’re thrilled to bring you a special Q&A with gut health guru Dr. Roshini Raj, a board-certified gastroenterologist renowned for her expertise in digestive health. Alongside impressive credentials, including degrees from Harvard College and NYU School of Medicine, Dr. Raj co-founded YayDay, a digestive super supplement. She’s also the visionary behind TULA Skincare, a probiotic-based skincare line launched in 2015 and available at major retailers like Ulta Beauty, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and more.

In our conversation with Dr. Raj, we cover various topics essential for maintaining optimal digestive health, including the intricacies of bowel movements, the role of fiber, the benefits of supplements, and much more. Join us as we dive into the world of digestive health with Dr. Raj: 

Let’s talk Gastroenterology

First, what the heck is a gastroenterologist?! Great question. We started our conversation with Dr. Raj by asking just that—and why someone might book an appointment with one. 

What is a Gastroenterologist? 

Dr. Raj: A gastroenterologist is a doctor specializing in diagnosing, treating, and managing conditions related to the digestive system. This includes the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which encompasses the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon), rectum, and anus, as well as the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and bile ducts.

Why would someone be referred to a Gastroenterologist? 

Dr. Raj: If you’re having persistent symptoms of a digestive disorder—anything from acid reflux to bloating to bowel irregularity or abdominal pain—your primary care doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist. Even if you feel fine, everyone should see a gastroenterologist at age 45 (at the latest) to schedule a colonoscopy for colon cancer screening.

Digestive Health

Next up, we asked Dr. Raj a few questions about digestive health, including bloating, IBS, and the gut-brain connection. 

What does it mean if you’re experiencing digestive issues like constipation or bloating? 

Dr. Raj: Constipation and bloating symptoms suggest that your digestive tract is not moving contents (gas and stool) smoothly. Many factors, including medications or non-GI diseases like hypothyroidism, can cause this. However, these symptoms are often related to inadequate fiber intake and/or an imbalanced gut microbiome. 

How common are IBS and other gastrointestinal diseases? 

Dr. Raj: GI symptoms are extremely common. One NIH survey of over 70,000 people revealed that over 60% reported at least one digestive symptom in the past week. The American Gastroenterology Association estimates that 60-70 million Americans are experiencing digestive diseases that affect their quality of life. IBS, in particular, is thought to affect 10-15% of the U.S. population

What’s the connection between gut health and mental health? 

Dr. Raj: There is a constant two-way conversation going on between our gut and our brain, with nerves, hormones, and neurotransmitters traveling between the two. In fact, your gut is often called the second brain. So, if an imbalanced microbiome throws off your gut health, this can cause mood changes, including low mood and anxiety. Similarly, if you are undergoing stress or depression, this can affect the balance of your microbiome as well as your bowel movements. 

Therefore,​​ to stay mentally and physically healthy, you must​​ address both your first and second brain. Managing stress with better sleep and techniques like deep breathing and meditation can help keep your gut microbiome healthy. Nourishing your microbiome with fiber and probiotic-rich foods will also help manage stress and anxiety. YayDay tackles both sides of the gut-mind connection with magnesium for calming and sleep and prebiotic fiber to help feed the healthy gut microbes. 

(Pst… OLIPOP here! You can get 15% off your YayDay order with the promo code OLIPOP15. But act now because this code is only available now through July 31, 2024.)

Going Number Two

Next up, we had to ask about everyone’s favorite topic: poop. How often should you go, and what is healthy? Don’t worry; we asked Dr. Raj a few questions we know you’re curious about… 

How often should you poop?

Dr. Raj: The frequency of bowel movements can vary from person to person. Anywhere from 2-3 times a day to 3 times a week is generally considered normal. What is more important than the actual frequency is how you feel. If you are not experiencing bloating, straining, abdominal pain, or urgent or painful bowel movements, your frequency is likely fine!

What is a “healthy” poop? 

Dr. Raj: A brown, formed, firm (but not hard) stool shaped like a sausage that sinks to the bottom of the toilet is considered a healthy stool. It should pass without straining, pain, or bleeding. Of course, what you eat can affect your stool's size, color, and consistency, so a day of different-looking stool is usually not a cause for concern. However, if you’re experiencing persistent change, you should discuss this with your doctor.

Why do I poop so much? 

Dr. Raj: Frequent bowel movements can be due to dietary factors like lactose intolerance or diseases like celiac disease or Crohn’s. It could also be due to stress, IBS, infections, or medication side effects. 

Fiber & Fiber Supplements

We talk about fiber a lot here at OLIPOP… you could say we’re borderline obsessed. So, it’s no surprise that we decided to dive into a few fiber-related questions with Dr. Raj next…

How much fiber do you need? 

Dr. Raj: For adults up to age 50, it’s recommended that women consume 25 grams and men consume 38 grams of fiber. After 50, the numbers drop to 21 grams and 30 grams respectively. 

How much fiber is too much? 

Dr. Raj: Fiber is generally safe, even in large amounts. But if you experience bloating and abdominal pain, you may need to slow down or reduce your fiber intake. Very large doses of fiber can lead to intestinal blockages, but this is super rare. 

Should I take a fiber supplement? 

Dr. Raj: Over 90% of Americans do not consume the recommended amount of fiber in their diet, so for many people, it makes sense to take a fiber supplement. Even with a concerted effort, it’s not easy to get 25-30 grams of fiber daily in the diet, so a supplement can offer a consistent source of fiber. 

(Pst… OLIPOP here! We can also help you add more fiber to your diet!) 

When is the best time to take a fiber supplement? 

Dr. Raj: The best time to take a fiber supplement is the time that you will remember to take it—and when it doesn’t interfere with other medications or your lifestyle. We created YayDay to be taken at night so you have time to digest the fiber overnight and then have a satisfying morning bowel movement. The magnesium in YayDay helps ensure a great night's sleep, which we know also plays a crucial role in gut health. 

Q&A with a Gastroenterologist: The Takeaway

In recent years, we’ve learned more and more just how vital gut health is to overall health and mental health. That’s why caring for your gut and the gut-mind axis is so important! So pay attention to your bowel movements, digestion, and sleep, and never feel shy about discussing these topics—these are universal experiences that should be understood, optimized, and celebrated. 

And a huge thanks to Dr. Raj for sharing the ins and outs (see what we did there?) of gastroenterology, going number two, fiber, supplements, and more. Head to YayDay to learn more about how her digestive super supplement can help you sleep better, poop better, and live better. 

If you're curious to give YayDay a try, take 15% off your order with the promo code OLIPOP15. But act fast because this code is only live through July 31, 2024. 

Cheat Sheet
  • Dr. Roshini Raj is a board-certified gastroenterologist and the co-founder of YayDay, a digestive super supplement.
  • A gastroenterologist is a doctor specializing in conditions related to the digestive system. If you're experiencing GI distress, they're a good person to see.
  • GI symptoms are super common, over 60% of people report at least one digestive symptom in a given week.
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