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Psyllium and Psyllium Husk: Health Benefits, Risks, and More

Are you feeling the need for some gastrointestinal relief? Psyllium Husk may be a solution for you. Psyllium Husk comes from psyllium seeds from the plant, Plantago ovata.

The powerful shrub-like herb locks water in the intestines, which loosens stool water, making it easier to have a bowel movement (1). For that reason, Psyllium Husk is in popular laxative products like Metamucil.

It is mainly grown in India, and it is packed with soluble fiber, making it one of the go-to laxative supplements on the market today. Soluble fiber and insoluble fiber are both crucial to support a healthy digestive system.

Eating enough of each is also essential to balance blood sugar and much more (2). There are many differentiators when it comes to the two fiber types. For one example, soluble fiber dissolves in water while insoluble fiber does not.

Health Benefits of Psyllium and Psyllium Husk

Check out the information below to see the health benefits of Psyllium Husk, along with some potential risks. Plus, find out how to tell if it’s right for you as a part of your routine.

1. It May Lower Cholesterol Levels

High cholesterol is an increasing issue in the United States and worldwide. With heart disease as the number one leading cause of death in the United States, many natural treatments are often addressed.

Many studies show that Psyllium Husk may have a positive association with decreasing bad cholesterol levels, also known as LDL (3).

Adding some Psyllium Husk, a leading fiber supplement, to your diet may be a natural alternative and key component to help decrease high cholesterol. Taking this supplement daily combined with dietary intervention can be extremely effective at reducing overall cholesterol levels in some studies (4).

2. It Can Lower Blood Pressure

Dietary fiber in general is immensely important to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. And Psyllium Husk may be beneficial as a supplementary form of fiber as well, especially if you are looking for a natural alternative to blood pressure therapy.

In some studies, it may reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in those who already experience hypertension (5). Also, since Psyllium Husk has very few if any side effects, it may be an important addition to some hypertensive patients prone to experiencing side effects from medication.

For those who are overweight, this fiber supplement can be especially helpful. Maintaining a healthy diet is essential in combination with Psyllium Husk to not only reduce blood pressure temporarily but sustain a healthy pressure for the long term (6).

 

Dietary concerns and supplements should always be discussed with a trusted healthcare professional to make sure your individual needs are met for your lifestyle.

3. It Can Support Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is a crucial element of preventing many common chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and even vision loss. Keeping balanced blood sugar levels can also help you improve your energy and performance.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in America, and Psyllium Husk may be a potential game-changer when it comes to keeping blood sugar levels optimal. The American Diabetes Association recommends at least 25 g of fiber per day for those with diabetes. Since this is a difficult task for many to do, Psyllium Husk comes widely encouraged by many healthcare professionals (7).

For those who are not able to meet their daily fiber goals discussed with their doctor, Psyllium Husk may be a viable option. It can also show a significant reduction in Body Mass Index (BMI), which is essential to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels as well (8, 9).

4. It May Help Fight Infections with Prebiotics

The body’s ability to fight infections depends on many factors, but the prebiotic and probiotic levels in the gut are huge components (10). Psyllium Husk is an excellent source of prebiotic fiber. Prebiotics are necessary to boost the probiotics that reside in your gut or microbiota.

When you are at an unhealthy weight and consuming less fiber, the gut has a harder time producing good bacteria or probiotics, which are necessary to fight infections. Consuming both soluble and insoluble fiber daily is the best way to keep the gut and body happy to fight infections (11).

If you are having a hard time-fighting infection lately and not getting enough fiber, see if Psyllium Husk is right for you.

5. It Can Improve Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower rectum that are extremely common. With more fiber comes better bowel movements and even more manageable hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids become more painful and problematic when you have a diet that is lacking in essential fiber.

Adding Psyllium Husk to your dietary plan can be a powerful addition to managing the occurrence of hemorrhoids, especially when they are enlarged (12).

Any addition of both soluble and insoluble fiber can be beneficial to avoiding pain from hemorrhoids. Always remember to keep a healthy balanced diet most of the time to help prevent pain from hemorrhoids.

6. It May Enhance the Immune System with Gut Support

Because the gel-forming fiber of Psyllium Husk promotes a healthy balanced microbiome in the gut, it can also enhance your immune system even beyond infections. Proper gut support is necessary to keep your immunity high and stay well.

Having an enhanced immune system means you are more able to not only fight infection but you may even be able to ward off many chronic diseases that plague many Americans today.

With an improved immune system and a balanced microbiome, many studies confirm the body has less oxidative stress, which promotes inflammation and leads to disease (13).

7. It May Help Improve Symptoms of Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is a common infection that creates pouches in the intestines that are typically not harmful, but they can be painful and bothersome. Although it varies in how aggressive it is in many individuals, some may experience many complications.

Certain foods can increase the pain associated with Diverticulitis, so dietary intervention can be helpful. Psyllium Husk along with a healthy diet helps to move stool through the intestines more easily to prevent flare-ups, pain, and future problems (14).

Recurrent diverticulitis can be very painful and bothersome, but supplements along with adding healthy lifestyle changes may help to relieve symptoms. There are many treatment options when it comes to Diverticulitis so be sure to speak with your doctor about what works best for you.

How to Take Psyllium Husk

Adding this dietary supplement to your diet can be easy and painless. Depending on what you prefer, see what form works best for you below.

Psyllium Husk is available in a few different ways. You can typically find it in these forms:

  • Husk
  • Granules
  • Capsules
  • Powders

You can easily reap the many health benefits of Psyllium Husk by adding it to the everyday toolbox of recipes or even supplement regimens. Where can you start adding this powerful plant to reap the fiber benefits?

Potential Risks of Psyllium Husk

With anything in excess, there are always some potential risks. Further, some supplements that are said to be healthy do not work for some individuals. If you become more mindful of how foods and supplements affect you, that can help minimize stress and sickness in your life.

There are some side effects to taking Psyllium Husk. If you experience any of the below side effects, speak with your doctor immediately. Some side effects of too much Psyllium Husk include:

  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Itching/Skin Rash
  • Stomach Pain in General/Cramping
  • Difficulty Breathing or Swallowing
  • Constipation (Some supplements can have the opposite effects on individuals)

Psyllium Husk is included in many dietary fiber supplements on the market today, including Metamucil, Fiberall, Serutan, Natural Fiber Therapy, and much more. When you try a new product, always monitor your symptoms.

If you are taking any medication, ask your doctor if Psyllium Husk is ok to add to your daily routine as a supplement.

Conclusion

From balancing blood sugar levels to maintaining healthy blood pressure and even regulating some digestive infections, Psyllium Husk proves to provide a wide range of benefits.

Psyllium Husk can have a wide range of health benefits that may make it worth the extra effort. It’s essential to do what is right for your body. Monitor how supplements and foods interact with your metabolic health and wellbeing overall.