If you’re looking for the best psyllium supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Psyllium Supplements Guide.
Top 10 Psyllium Supplements
|#1||NOW Foods Psyllium Husk||More Info|
|#2||Organic India Whole Husk Psyllium||More Info|
|#3||Metamucil Daily Fiber Supplement 100% Natural Psyllium||More Info|
|#4||Sunergetic Best Psyllium Husk Capsules||More Info|
|#5||Viva Labs Organic Psyllium Husk||More Info|
|#6||Yerba Prima Psyllium Husks||More Info|
|#7||Bulksupplements Pure Psyllium Husk Powder||More Info|
|#8||Jiva USDA ORGANIC Whole Husk Psyllium||More Info|
|#9||NutriONN Psyllium Husk Capsules||More Info|
|#10||Pure Naturals Psyllium Husk||More Info|
Psyllium seed is a soluble fiber grown primarily in India. It is often referred to as psyllium husk or psyllium powder.
It has been taken for centuries as a bulking laxative. It increases the quantity and moisture content of the stool, easing its passage.
What is Psyllium?
Psyllium, or Plantago ovata, is a perennial shrub-like plant able to grow in dry and cooler climates. It is most common to India, which is the primary exporter and cultivator of psyllium. It is also grown in Russia and Pakistan. In India and some other countries, it is known as ispaghula. There are over 250 species; however, only a handful are used for medicinal purposes.
The small seeds of the plant are used to make the psyllium supplement. They pass through the digestive tract without being fully digested or broken down. Psyllium absorbs water and becomes a thick, gel-like substance. It is taken as a laxative; however, that is its secondary effect. Its primary mechanism is to increase fecal size. That, in turn, causes the stool to pass through the system more easily.
Psyllium does not stimulate the bowel as is the case with many laxatives. It acts in a purely mechanical fashion. For that reason, the body does not become dependent on psyllium and it can be stopped at any time. It is safe to take on a daily basis. It does not treat the underlying cause of constipation, which may be the result of diet, lifestyle, medications or other factors. It does, however, supply the body with extra fiber and mucilage properties. This can be beneficial for those with chronic constipation or those with an isolated event.
Benefits of Psyllium
Psyllium’s primary use is as a dietary fiber supplement. It is commonly used to treat constipation but can be helpful for mild diarrhea as well. The primary reason that psyllium is beneficial for constipation, is its mucilage content. Mucilage is a clear gelling agent found in plants. In psyllium, it is found in the seed’s coating. By weight, psyllium’s mucilage content is roughly 25 percent of the seed’s structure. Mucilage is hydrophilic, meaning water loving.
It draws extra water into the intestines thereby softening the stool. The mucilage gel can increase in size by 10 times or more when it absorbs water. On average the psyllium appears to absorb 2 to 3 grams of water per gram of psyllium.
Due to its properties as a dietary fiber, it has shown some positive effects in reducing blood cholesterol levels. It can also help with weight loss, blood pressure and maintaining blood sugar levels.
The gel mucilage content of psyllium seems to slow glucose absorption in the small intestine. It can thereby potentially help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Psyllium does not seem to have a lasting effect on blood glucose levels once stopped.
Most studies show a positive correlation between increased psyllium husk and decreased blood cholesterol levels. The fats and bile acids in the digestive tract bind to the psyllium and are then passed through the body unabsorbed via defecation. The body then must create more bile acids to replace what was lost. New bile acids are formed using cholesterol stored in the body. This action is what causes the decrease in blood cholesterol levels. This action is common with other soluble fibers, but most notably with psyllium. Most results seem to be dose and time dependent. Higher doses and longer supplementation times results in a greater decrease in blood cholesterol levels.
Psyllium can increase feelings of satiety and could be used as an appetite suppressant. Consuming psyllium before a meal may reduce the amount of food eaten and will increase the length of satiation after food. Studies have shown mixed results as to the overall calories eaten in a given day when using psyllium. It may be an aid to maintaining a healthy diet and weight. Eating larger amounts of fiber, particularly psyllium, can help promote healthy weight loss levels.
Psyllium seems to show some benefit in irritable bowel syndrome. Due to IBS causing both diarrhea and constipation, psyllium can be helpful as it counteracts the effects of both. It is best to speak with your doctor before using psyllium if you have IBS. There are mixed results with Crohn’s disease as well. Some users reported improvement while others felt it aggravated their condition.
Are There any Side Effects?
In general, psyllium is considered safe. It is advisable to increase your consumption of water while taking psyllium. It is necessary to mix it with sufficient amounts of water as it swells and can cause choking or block the throat. It also can create issues in the intestines if insufficient water is consumed. Overall increased water is the main concern when using psyllium fiber to ensure optimal digestive hydration.
It may cause cramping and gas in some individuals. All soluble fibers can cause gas. However, psyllium has been shown to cause less gas than most fibers. This is due to the fact that it is a poorly fermentable fiber. Many fibers are fermentable. One side effect of the fermentation process in the gut is increased flatulence. Fermentable fibers can also increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which psyllium won’t do.
So, psyllium will not impact healthy gut flora in a positive way, but it typically does not cause excess gas. There are some individuals that report having less gas when they take psyllium regularly. The psyllium seems to absorb gas as well as water, which is then passed with the stool.
It can impede the absorption of other vitamins or minerals. Typically, it is recommended to wait for at least one to two hours before taking other medications or supplements to not impede absorption. It is not recommended to take psyllium if you have or have had a bowel obstruction.
There have been a few cases of allergic reaction, but it is not common. Those with asthma have shown to be sensitive to psyllium dust. This is primarily the case with medical personnel or those who would have a greater exposure to breathing the dust.
How to Take Psyllium
Psyllium is most often found in husk and powder form. The powder is simply the husks ground to a finer consistency. It can be taken in capsule form, although many capsules will need to be taken to achieve the required dose. It is added to muffins and cereals to add more fiber to the foods. Many common constipation powders contain psyllium.
It is always best to speak with a physician before taking any supplements. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The typical dose ranges from half a teaspoon to one tablespoon three times a day mixed in a full 8-ounce glass of water. Once mixed with water, it will expand and become thick. More water can be added if it is too thick to drink.
It is recommended to start with one serving per day and work up to three servings if needed. Many people see results with one serving per day and do not need to increase. Psyllium can be taken daily if needed. Always mix the psyllium completely before drinking it and increase the daily consumption of water.
Drinking at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day is recommended for those taking psyllium.
What to Look for in a Good Psyllium Product
For best results, pure psyllium is often preferred. Some fiber blends are a mix of psyllium and other fibers like flax or oat bran. There are also some flavored products on the market. There is nothing wrong with buying a flavored psyllium fiber supplement or one that is a blend of several fiber types.
However, avoid those with sugar or artificial additives or fillers. There is organic and conventional psyllium available. So, if you prefer organic products, there is that option.