Psyllium husk is a soluble fiber derived from the husks of the psyllium seed. Psyllium husk may also be called psyllium fiber.
Psyllium is the common name for several members of the genus Psyllium, the seeds of which are used commercially to produce mucilage. Psyllium is primarily used as dietary fiber to relieve symptoms of constipation and mild diarrhea, and occasionally as a food thickener. Allergy to psyllium is common among workers who are regularly exposed to psyllium.
The plant from which the seeds are extracted tolerates dry and cool climates and is grown mainly in northern India.
Digestive health and constipation
Psyllium is a bulk laxative. This means it absorbs water from the intestines, making bowel movements easier and helping to promote regularity without increasing flatulence. It provides one-time constipation relief or can be added to your diet to help promote regularity and overall digestive health.
Irregular bowel movements are all too familiar to people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn's disease. Research results on psyllium's effectiveness in treating these conditions remain mixed.
Psyllium is a prebiotic – a substance required for the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Healthy beneficial flora in the digestive system is essential for healthy immune function. Your body is better able to fight infection, reduce inflammation, and maintain healthy tissues and cells.
In addition to maintaining bowel regularity and managing chronic disease, psyllium can soften stools, provided you drink enough water. This can come in handy for short-term ailments such as constipation. Used in this way, it can prevent complications of constipation, such as hemorrhoids and anal fissures.
Preliminary research suggests that psyllium may help relieve painful symptoms associated with these conditions. Since there's no real scientific consensus, talk to your doctor to see if psyllium can help you.
Research shows that taking soluble fiber can help people control their cholesterol levels. Proper cholesterol regulation is important for everyone, but it's crucial for people over 50.
For obese or overweight people, taking psyllium daily for at least six weeks is an effective way to lower cholesterol with few side effects, a study shows.
If you have been told to watch your cholesterol, ask your doctor whether adding psyllium to a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet might help you.
Numerous studies show that fibers like psyllium can help reduce a person's risk of heart disease when used as part of a healthy diet. Psyllium can affect your heart by lowering blood pressure, improving blood lipid levels, and strengthening the heart muscle.
Look at your weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is a concern for many people, especially those with chronic diseases such as diabetes. In addition to being good for your heart and blood sugar levels, psyllium can also help you lose weight.
Because psyllium absorbs fluid in your body, it can help you feel full. This can help you control the amount of food you eat. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of taking psyllium if they recommend you lose weight.
Helps regulate blood sugar levels and aids in the treatment of type 2 diabetes
Fiber supplements have been shown to reduce post-meal insulin and blood sugar levels. Psyllium husk fiber is particularly effective in this regard because it gels and swells in the digestive tract, slowing the digestion of food.
A meta-analysis of 35 randomized controlled clinical studies found that taking psyllium husk before meals was highly effective for people with type 2 diabetes. More specifically, they showed significant improvements in both fasting blood glucose concentrations and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) after multiple weeks of supplementation.
Subjects with prediabetes also experienced improvements, albeit modest ones. No significant hypoglycemic effects were observed in subjects without blood glucose-related problems.
Although there are no studies on the effects of carbohydrate restriction and psyllium husk on type 2 diabetes, it is likely that this combination only enhances the effect of each combination on improving blood sugar regulation.
Making weight loss easier to achieve and maintain
Not only can its gelling properties help manage type 2 diabetes, but psyllium can also help control appetite and improve weight loss.
Studies in healthy subjects found that psyllium husk supplements reduced hunger and appetite and increased their feelings of fullness compared to placebo. This effect can help us feel full from fewer calories, eat less food throughout the day, and lose weight without fighting hunger.
Some studies show that the appetite-reducing properties of psyllium help lower BMI, increase fat loss, and reduce calorie intake throughout the day. However, other studies have found no significant effect on weight loss.
These conflicting results reflect the complexity of changing body composition and the importance of finding an approach that works for each individual.
It's also worth noting that the combination of low-carb foods (already very filling) and psyllium husk supplements has yet to be tested. Adding psyllium husk to your low-carb or keto diet will likely only increase its weight loss potential.
Psyllium seed dosage
The exact dosage of psyllium depends on the product you use. Dosage requirements may also vary depending on the purpose for which you are taking psyllium. Typically, you can take this product one to three times daily with a full glass of water.
Some studies show that consuming 7.9 grams of psyllium (plus or minus 3.6 grams) per day with probiotics is a safe and effective way to treat Crohn's disease. However, other results suggest that soluble fibers like psyllium can worsen symptoms in some people.
One study found that taking 5 grams of psyllium twice daily can help people with type 2 diabetes control blood sugar. Another study from people with type 2 diabetes found similar results, but emphasized that psyllium therapy should be tailored to the individual.
Follow all product instructions carefully. Do not take more than the recommended dose of this medication unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
Possible side effects
Because psyllium increases intestinal volume and has a laxative effect, this substance may have unwanted side effects. If you're unfamiliar with psyllium or take more than the recommended amount each day, you may be especially susceptible to side effects.
Some possible side effects include:
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Loose stool
- More frequent bowel movements
- Nausea and Vomiting
If you have a similar allergic reaction to psyllium, call your doctor immediately. Although rare, risk trusted sources may include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Skin rash
- Swelling, especially around the face and throat
Is psyllium husk powder ketone? High carb and keto friendly
From a macronutrient perspective, psyllium husk powder is primarily composed of carbohydrates. However, most of these carbohydrates come in the form of dietary fiber, which provides us with many health benefits without compromising ketosis. To help illustrate what I mean, here's the nutritional breakdown for one tablespoon (about 9 grams) of psyllium husk powder:
|7 grams (including 6 grams soluble fiber and 1 gram insoluble fiber)
This is part of the reason why psyllium husk powder is often used as a fiber supplement and ingredient in recipes on the keto diet. That being said, not all plantain-based products are created the same way. Before we get to this popular keto staple, it's crucial that we know how to find the right one.
Whole Psyllium Husk, Psyllium Husk Powder and Psyllium Seed Powder - what is the difference?
Psyllium is typically processed into one of three forms: whole psyllium husk, psyllium husk powder, and psyllium seed powder. Although each supplement comes from the same raw seeds, they contain different amounts of soluble fiber, which changes the properties of the product.
For example, a supplement labeled "100% Whole Psyllium Husk" would consist solely of psyllium husks without any further processing. The husks are small granular particles that contain about 70% soluble fiber.
However, when the whole crusts are used in recipes, they add an unpleasant grainy texture. This is when psyllium husk powder can help.
By grinding the whole husk into a fine powder, we can make it less grainy and pack twice the soluble fiber (and possibly more health benefits) into each serving.
Due to its enhanced fiber content and superior texture, psyllium husk powder (also known as whole psyllium husk powder) is the most widely used psyllium product as a dietary supplement and gluten-free A quality, keto-friendly cooking staple.
This is not to be confused with plantain seed powder, which is made from the husks and seeds ground up. This form of psyllium has a lower soluble fiber content and does not provide the same health benefits or properties as psyllium husk powder.
Generally speaking, 100% psyllium husk powder is the most commonly used form of psyllium. The active ingredient in many brands of fiber supplements (like Metamucil), it's been studied extensively and plays a vital role in making perfect keto baked goods, including cookies and bread. It's best to avoid other psyllium products unless specifically called for in the formula or prescribed by your healthcare provider.