Psyllium fiber supplement benefit for constipation, cholesterol levels
February 22 2018 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Psyllium seed husk is a dietary fiber from Plantago ovata that increases stool weight and promotes laxation by its presence in stool and by increasing the moisture content of stool. Psyllium fiber is able to absorb a great deal of fluid in the intestines, allowing for easier transit of food.
Consider another fiber for its health benefit, glucomannan also known as konjac.

Benefit and uses
Psyllium is one of the most widely used fiber supplements because it is reasonably cheap and is better tolerated than others. Consumption does improve glucose levels and insulin response, blood pressure, as well as lipid profile in both animals and humans, thereby reducing metabolic risk factors. Appetite has also been reported to decrease after consumption. Supplementation could be promoted to patients who present metabolic syndrome risk factors, such as high cholesterol, high lipid levels and high glucose levels in the blood. It may also play a role in controlling body weight, body composition, appetite and hypertension.

Psyllium may help with weight loss control. Also see an effective appetite suppressant called Diet Rx with no side effects.
It is a wonderful bulking fiber for constipation. Another benefit is that it reduces fecal incontinence.
Helps maintain healthy cholesterol and blood lipid levels.
In 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of a health claim in the labeling of foods and dietary supplements containing psyllium husk. The health claim states that diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include soluble fiber per day from May reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol.
ay help maintain healthy blood pressure.
Psyllium added to a traditional diet for persons with type II diabetes is safe, well tolerated, and improves glycemic and lipid control.
This fiber product reduces radiation-induced diarrhea.
Could be helpful for hemorrhoids since it softens the stools.

Psyllium fiber is best taken in a dose of 1 to 5 grams with a meal, particularly if the meal has a low fiber content. You can mix half a teaspoon or a teaspoon with a glass of water, once or twice a day. I also recommend drinking a glass of water in the morning when you wake up.

Many psyllium products on the market add sugar. Try to find a product without added sugar.

Psyllium husk has a long history of use in traditional and herbal medicines. It is derived from the seed of the plantago ovata plant. Besides plantago ovata, psyllium is also known as ispaghula and isapgol. Plantago ovata is an annual herb native to Asia, the Mediterranean region, and North Africa. Psyllium is extensively cultivated in India and Pakistan. India provides about 80 percent of the psyllium available in the world market. The United States is the world's largest importer. Psyllium has a long history of use throughout the world. The seed has been used in traditional medicine in the United States, Europe, India, and China. In the U.S., psyllium husk is most often used as a bulk-fiber laxative, in foods or in various fiber supplements. It is a source of both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Psyllium side effects, adverse reactions
Ingesting a large amount of psyllium with little water or fluid can cause constipation and gastrointestinal symptoms.

Am J Gastroenterology. 2013. Clinical data support that psyllium is not fermented in the gut.

Interactions with medications
Do either acacia gum or psyllium interfere with medication absorption?
   It's possible, but without testing each drug in different dosages, it is not easy to give an answer that applies to all medications. To make sure there is no conflict, it is a good idea to take them a couple of hours apart.

Psyllium lowers blood sugar in patients with diabetes
Psyllium decreased serum glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin significantly in diabetic outpatients.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2005.
The beneficial effect of dietary fiber in the management of type II diabetes, has not been totally demonstrated. The purpose of this study was to determine the plasma-lowering effects of 5g twice daily of psyllium husk fiber, as an adjunct to dietary and drug therapy on lipid and glucose levels, in patients with type II diabetes. Forty-nine subjects were included in the study that were given diet counseling before the study and then followed for 8 weeks in the treatment period. Fasting plasma glucose was measured every 2 weeks, and total plasma cholesterol (TC), LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C), HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), triglyceride (TG), and insulin levels were measured every 4 weeks. Glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) was also measured at the beginning and ending of the study. Better gastric tolerance to metformin was recorded in the psyllium group. Fasting plasma glucose, and HbA1c, showed a significant reduction, whereas HDL-C increased significantly following psyllium treatment. LDL / HDL cholesterol ratio was significantly decreased. These results show that 5 grams twice a day for persons with type II diabetes is safe, well tolerated, and improves glycemic control.

Effects of psyllium on glucose and serum lipid responses in men with type 2 diabetes and hypercholesterolemia.
Am J Clin Nutr. 1999.
Anderson JW. University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA.
This study examined the effects of administering psyllium to men with type 2 diabetes. The objective was to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of psyllium husk fiber used adjunctively to a traditional diet for diabetes in the treatment of men with type 2 diabetes and mild-to-moderate hypercholesterolemia. After a 2-wk dietary stabilization phase, 34 men with type 2 diabetes and mild-to-moderate hypercholesterolemia were randomly assigned to receive 5.1 g psyllium or cellulose placebo twice daily for 8 wk. Serum lipid and glycemic indexes were evaluated biweekly on an outpatient basis and at weeks 0 and 8 in a metabolic ward. In the metabolic ward, the psyllium group showed significant improvements in glucose and lipid values compared with the placebo group. Serum total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations were 8.9% and 13.0% lower, respectively, in the psyllium than in the placebo group. All-day and postlunch postprandial glucose concentrations were 11.0% and 19% lower in the psyllium than in the placebo group. Both products were well tolerated, with no serious adverse events related to treatment reported in either group. The addition of psyllium to a traditional diet for persons with diabetes is safe, is well tolerated, and improves glycemic and lipid control in men with type 2 diabetes and hypercholesterolemia.

Metabolic syndrome
Obes Rev. 2012. Effects of psyllium on metabolic syndrome risk factors. High-fibre intake has been shown to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome (MS), cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The review of the literature supports the notion that the consumption of psyllium provides benefits to many components of the MS. Psyllium supplementation does improve glucose levels and insulin response, blood pressure, as well as lipid profile in both animals and humans, thereby reducing metabolic risk factors. Appetite has also been reported to decrease after the consumption of psyllium in most studies. Collectively, psyllium supplementation could be promoted to patients who present MS risk factors, such as hypercholesterolaemia, hypertriglyceridaemia and hyperglycaemia. It may also play a role in controlling body weight, body composition, appetite and hypertension, but further investigation is still required.

Clinical data support that psyllium is not fermented in the gut. J.Am J Gastroenterol. 2013 Sep.

Long-term cholesterol-lowering effects of psyllium as an adjunct to diet therapy in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2000.
Anderson JW,. University of Kentucky and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Lexington, KY
Hypercholesterolemia is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease and nutrition management is the initial therapeutic approach. This multicenter study evaluated the long-term effectiveness of psyllium husk fiber as an adjunct to diet in the treatment of persons with primary hypercholesterolemia. Men and women with hypercholesterolemia were recruited. After following an American Heart Association Step I diet for 8 wk (dietary adaptation phase), eligible subjects with serum LDL-cholesterol concentrations between 3.36 and 4.91 mmol/L were randomly assigned to receive either 5 g psyllium or a cellulose placebo twice daily for 26 wk while continuing diet therapy. Serum total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations were 4.7% and 6.7% lower in the psyllium group than in the placebo group after 24-26 wk. Other outcome measures did not differ significantly between groups.: Treatment with 5 g psyllium twice daily produces significant net reductions in serum total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations in men and women with primary hypercholesterolemia. Psyllium therapy is an effective adjunct to diet therapy and may provide an alternative to drug therapy for some patients.

Psyllium is superior to docusate sodium for treatment of chronic constipation.
Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1998.
Stool softening is a physician's first step in the management of chronic constipation. To compare stool softening (stool water content) and laxative efficacy of psyllium hydrophilic mucilloid vs. docusate sodium. The multi-site, randomized, double-blind, parallel-design study of 170 subjects with chronic idiopathic constipation involved a 2-week baseline (placebo) phase followed by 2 weeks of treatment. The treatment phase compared psyllium (5 g b.d.) plus docusate placebo to docusate sodium (100 mg twice daily) plus psyllium placebo. Stools were collected and assessed. Compared to baseline, psyllium increased stool water content vs. docusate. Psyllium also increased stool water weight , total stool output, and O'Brien rank-type score combining objective measures of constipation. Bowel movement (BM) frequency was significantly greater for psyllium (3.5 BM/week) vs. docusate (2.9 BM/week) in treatment week 2, with no significant difference between treatment groups in treatment week 1. Psyllium is superior to docusate sodium for softening stools by increasing stool water content, and has greater overall laxative efficacy in subjects with chronic idiopathic constipation.

Effect of psyllium fiber on gastric emptying, hunger feeling and food intake in normal volunteers: a double blind study.
Eur J Clin Nutr. 1998.

To assess whether soluble psyllium fiber, could, at an acceptable dose (7.4 g), delay gastric emptying of a low-calorie meal, and reduce hunger feeling and energy intake, without requiring intimate mixing with the meal. A double blind randomized cross over study with 14 normal volunteers, to evaluate the effect of this dose of psyllium fiber on postprandial serum glucose, triglycerides and insulin levels, and on gastric fullness, hunger feeling and food intake. Gastric emptying was measured using a standard double-radiolabeled 450 kcal meal and feelings by visual analogic scales. The postprandial serum glucose, triglycerides and insulin levels were also determined. No delay in the gastric emptying of the solid and liquid phases of the meal was observed with psyllium fiber. After the meal, hunger feelings and energy intake were significantly lower during the psyllium fiber session than during the placebo session (13% and 17% lower respectively. Postprandial increase in serum glucose, triglycerides and insulin levels was less with psyllium than with placebo. Psyllium fiber reduces hunger feelings and energy intake in normal volunteers at reasonable dose and without requiring mixing with the meal. It does not act by slowing down the gastric emptying of hydrosoluble nutrients, but by increase in the time allowed for intestinal absorption, as suggested by the flattening of the postprandial serum glucose, insulin and triglycerides curves.

Dietary fiber supplements such as psyllium husk continue to sell steadily in the United States and abroad. With national brands such as Metamucil, the product category has a strong awareness among the baby boomer generation as a supplement which can enhance their lifestyle dramatically. Additionally, dietary fiber catch bile acids and ultimately results in cholesterol removal in conjunction with the replacement of bile acids; resulting in a 4-8 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol. Some psyllium products have added sugar, you may with to choose brands that have little or no sugar or artificial dyes or preservatives.

Psyllium supplement does not affect C reactive protein levels
Dr. Dana E. King and colleagues at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston assigned 162 overweight or obese adults without heart disease to take psyllium supplements (7 or 14 grams daily) or no supplements. Their objective was to see whether daily fiber supplementation would lower blood levels of C-reactive protein or CRP and other markers of inflammation. After 3 months, the results showed changes in CRP levels or the other markers of inflammation were no different between the group that got psyllium fiber supplements and the no-supplement comparison group. Annals of Family Medicine, March/April 2008.
   Comments: Psyllium may provide benefits that are not necessarily related to changes in c reactive protein levels.

What form do you recommend, the husk powder or the seed?
   Overall, I prefer the seed, but the psyllium husk powder is also wonderful as an easy to use powder in capsule form or just poured into a glass of water.

Can psyllium husk powder be put in a fruit shake?
   I don't see why not. You can also make your own ice cream by using cocoa powder, water, vanillin, stevia or another sweetener, half and half or cream, and a little bit of psyllium powder and the freeze it.

Q. What is plantago psyllium ?
   A. Psyllium is the common name used for several members of the plant genus Plantago whose seeds are used commercially for the production of mucilage. The genus Plantago contains over 200 species. Plantago ovata and psyllium are produced commercially in many countries.

Q. I was informed by a friend that he heard Dr. Weil mention on television that taking psyllium at the same time as taking your vitamins (with food) will prevent the absorption of those vitamins and minerals. I have since stop taking it for this reason.
   A. Psyllium may or may not reduce absorption by a little, but most people who take vitamins are taking such high doses that it becomes practically irrelevant. I personally take it once a day with a meal and don't worry about these matters of vitamin absorption.

Q. Can psyllium be used by dogs or cats?
   A. I don't see any harm that would occur if tiny amounts are used, but it would be very difficult to find a way for a cat or dog to ingest it, and it would be difficult to encourage water consumption since that would be required.

Q. It is my understanding that at least in the case of cats it is necessary for their stools to be a consistency which humans would probably associate with constipation. This is because the anal glands need to be adequately compressed to allow secretion of the substance contained in the glands. If this process does not happen the opening in the glands can become clogged. I have witnessed my vet evacuating a clogged anal gland in my cat. There was approximately a tablespoon of the black viscous substance backed up in her gland. The purpose of this substance is to add a “scent” or marking mechanism to the stool that is unique to that particular cat. Because of this I don’t think that adding additional fiber to a cat’s diet is advisable unless done so at the instruction of your vet. I have heard of people giving their cats fiber supplements when the animals get older and have bad arthritis in order to make the task of having a bowel movement easier on their pet. You may want to change the wording of your statement that you don’t see any harm in giving a dog or cat psyllium. I realize you use the word “tiny” but people have a way of forgetting the adjective. A better answer might be that they should get their vet’s ok before adding any supplement to their pet’s diet.

Q. Hi I take several vitamins now - I want to take psyllium but how much is too much?
   A. Psyllium is usually used at half a teaspoon once to three times a day with a glass of water each time.

Q. Psyllium or fish oil with garlic combination seems to be an alternative to statin, e.g. simvastatin, which have negative effects on brain function, or muscles. My query is as follows: would psyllium or the fish oil combo have any negative effects on someone with kidney damage, who has to obviously limit protein intake and has possibly follow a low phosphorous diet? Niacin was also an option to lowering cholesterol.
   A. Psyllium is a very safe fiber supplement. Fish oils are safe too, at a dose of 1 to 3 softgels a day.

Q. Can psyllium supplement be used the same day as Cascara-Sagrada bark extract?
   A. Yes, it can be used the same day as cascara supplements, but use cascara as infrequently as possible.

Q. I love the website. I would like to add more fiber to my diet and try to do this largely through healthy, natural food sources. My doctor mentioned psyllium powder as an option. I find I tolerate the taste and preparation without difficulty. It makes my toilet habits a lot cleaner. My main concern is that after a few days (2, or 3) of even very light psyllium powder intake (i.e., the low end or less of whatever is recommended as daily starting dose), I begin to exhibit some mild but irritating symptoms of allergic sensitivity. These are principally of a hay-fever type: itchy nose, stuffy nose, sneezy, itchy eyes to some extent. I’ve experimented going on psyllium about 6 or 8 times spread out over a few years and it seems to provoke the same response as quickly after starting it each time. The symptoms resolve once I discontinue the it. Is this sensitivity likely to dissipate over time? is there another supplement you recommend which is like psyllium powder for its cholesterol-lowering effect and the way it make the toilet routine an all-around easier and cleaner experience?
   A. I like whole flax seeds and chia seeds as alternatives.

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Buy Psyllium Husk Capsules, 500 mg Capsules - Now Foods





Buy Psyllium Husk

Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 2 Capsules
Servings Per Container: 90
  Amount Per Serving % Daily Value
Calories 5  
Total Carbohydrate 1.2 g <1%*
Dietary Fiber 1.0 g 4%*
Psyllium Husk Powder (Plantago asiatica) (Seed) 1.4 g (1,400 mg)
Apple Pectin 100 mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
† Daily Value not established.
††Fiber is not digested, therefore this product has no caloric effect.

As a dietary supplement, take 1 to 3 capsules with an 8 ounce glass of water, once or twice a day with meals.

Servings Per Container: 90
Serving Size: 2 capsules
Calories 5
Total Carbohydrates 1.2 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g 
Psyllium Husk Powder (Plantago asiatica) seed 1 g