WHAT IS PSYLLIUM?
Psyllium is a form of fiber made from the husks of the Plantago ovata plant’s seeds. It sometimes goes by the name ispaghula.
It’s most commonly known as a laxative. However, research shows that taking psyllium is beneficial to many parts of the human body, including the heart and the pancreas.
Being a soluble fiber, psyllium is able to pass through your digestive system without being completely broken down or absorbed.
Instead, it absorbs water and becomes a viscous compound that benefits constipation , diarrhea, blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and weight loss.
Dietary fiber found in psyllium husk can help with the following conditions:
Irritable bowel syndrome
(1) YOUR BATHROOM BUDDY
Psyllium is a bulk-forming laxative. This means it soaks up water in your gut and makes bowel movements much easier. It also helps promote regularity without increasing flatulence. It can be used as a one-off to ease constipation, or it can be added to your diet to help promote regularity and overall digestive health.
Besides keeping your bowel movements regular and managing a chronic condition, psyllium has the ability to soften your stool. This can come in handy with short-term ailments, such as constipation. Used in this way, it can prevent complications of constipation, such as hemorrhoids and anal fissures.
Research has shown that taking soluble fiber can help people manage their cholesterol levels. Proper cholesterol regulation is important for everyone, but vital for people over the age of 50.
One study shows that at least 6 weeks of daily psyllium intake is an effective way for people who are obese or overweight to lower their cholesterol with very few side effects.
If you’ve been told that you need to watch your cholesterol, ask your doctor if adding psyllium to a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet will help you.
High cholesterol is merely one way a bad diet can affect your heart. Numerous studies have shown that fiber like psyllium, taken as part of a healthy diet, can help lower a person’s risk of heart disease. Psyllium can affect your heart by lowering blood pressure, improving lipid levels, and strengthening heart muscle.
Psyllium husk has also been found to be helpful in cases of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. Impressive research has shown that
psyllium was as effective as the prescription drug mesalamine in maintaining remission of ulcerative colitis . The research is promising, but just to be safe you should speak with your doctor first to decide how much fiber is right for your specific situation.
(3)WATCHING YOUR WEIGHT
Maintaining a healthy weight is a concern for many people, especially those with a chronic condition like diabetes. Besides being good for your heart and blood sugar levels, psyllium may help you lose weight.
Because psyllium absorbs liquid in your body, it can help give you a feeling of being full. This can help you control the amount of food you eat. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of taking psyllium if they have suggested you lose weight
People with diabetes are constantly watching their diet to maintain a healthy balance of insulin and blood sugar (glucose). Some research has suggested that fibers like psyllium can help people maintain a healthy glycemic balance.
One study found that taking 5 grams of psyllium twice a day can help patients with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar. Another study of men with type 2 diabetes found similar results, but stressed that psyllium therapy should be tailored to the individual.
Follow the directions on packaging, and remember that a key component of psyllium’s work in your lower intestine is its ability to soak up liquid.
Since the fiber in psyllium husk absorbs water, make sure to drink enough water when taking psyllium husk so your digestive tract is optimally hydrated. Sometimes consuming too much fiber without enough water can cause digestive discomfort, so water intake along with fiber intake is key. Wondering if you can consume too much fiber? In general, having too much fiber is not a major concern. Your body will definitely tell you if you are overdoing it in the form of feeling full or having gas and/or bloating.
Without drinking enough liquid, psyllium husk powder can possibly swell in the throat, causing blockage or choking. Always make sure to have enough liquid with your psyllium husk as well as additional water afterward if needed. Avoid use of psyllium husk if you ever had esophageal narrowing or any other swallowing difficulties. Do not take psyllium husk products if you have any bowel obstructions or spasms.
HOW TO TAKE IT
Children should get fiber from their diet. Give a child psyllium supplements only under a doctor's supervision.
If you use a commercial product that contains psyllium, follow the package directions.
If you are not used to taking psyllium, it is best to begin with a low dose (such as 1/2 tsp. in an 8 oz. glass of water once a day), then gradually increase the dose as needed.
Your health care provider may recommend higher doses of psyllium to treat certain conditions. You can take psyllium first thing in the morning or before bedtime