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The benefits of psyllium husk image showing supplement bottle lying down

The Benefits of Psyllium Husk: What is it and how will it help me?

Psyllium husk and the plant it derives from have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. In recent years, we have seen the substance introduced into health supplements and medicines and it is most commonly used to aid digestive wellbeing.

In this blog, we’ll explain what psyllium husk is, what it can do for your body and give you some great advice on when, how and who can take this supplement.

What is psyllium husk image showing psyllium husk in a wooden bowl

What Is Psyllium Husk?

Psyllium Husk is a type of fibre made from the seed husks of the Plantago ovata plant. Psyllium is a soluble type of fibre and is commonly used in supplements. It can absorb large amounts of water and acts as a bulk forming agent in the body. 

For this reason it is most often used as a dietary supplement to help aid digestion. It can also be found in fortified cereals and other foods as a source of added fibre. Psyllium Husk is also referred to as ispaghula. 

The benefit of psyllium husk image showing husks in a bowl

Benefits Of Psyllium Husk Supplements

There are a wide range of potential health benefits you might experience from taking psyllium husk. The power of psyllium husk comes from its structure as a natural occurring fibre. From digestive support to weight regulation, fibre has a wide range of scientifically proven benefits and psyllium husk is no different. 

Digestive health

The most common reason for taking psyllium husk involves digestive health and it is often taken to help encourage bowel movements. There are however a range of other benefits on your digestive system you might experience from taking a psyllium supplement. 

Constipation

The number one reason people take psyllium husk is for constipation relief. If you suffer from constipation and are looking for a natural product to help ease symptoms then this could be the perfect option for you. The fibre in psyllium has a proven laxative effect and as such can help you shift any blockages and ease symptoms of bloating and fullness in the abdomen.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

If you suffer from IBS you might experience regular bouts of the aforementioned constipation, but you might also suffer from stomach pain and cramps due to increased intestinal inflammation. Psyllium husk can actually help to relieve IBS symptoms by decreasing inflammation, allowing you to experience less swelling, pain and more regular bowel movements. 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

An aggressive, invasive disease, IBD can cause persistent issues with abdominal pain, irregular bowel movements and more. If you’re looking for an extra method of support for these symptoms then psyllium husk might be a great option. Studies have found that paired with IBD medication, psyllium dietary fibre is effective in helping to manage IBD symptoms

Weight Management 

If you’re struggling to lose weight then ingesting a psyllium supplement just before meals could be a great way to aid your weight loss journey. This method is clinically proven to reduce body weight as well as waist circumference and BMI.

Diabetes and High Blood Sugar

If you suffer from type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome, psyllium husk could be a natural product to help you reduce your blood sugar levels. The substance has been shown to lower elevated serum cholesterol and help control hyperglycemia.

High Blood Pressure 

It can be difficult for many people to get their blood pressure under control, and many medications and dietary changes fail to keep blood pressure down. Research into psyllium husk however has found that in supplement form it significantly reduces blood pressure in people who are hypertensive, meaning it might be the perfect option to help steady blood pressure levels.

High Cholesterol

High cholesterol and conditions like hypercholesterolemia can cause serious health problems and are often difficult to manage with just diet changes and exercise alone. Psyllium husk taken twice a day can significantly reduce cholesterol levels and serum total in individuals suffering with higher cholesterol. 

Heart Disease

Heart disease is a dangerous and potentially life threatening condition, and many people take supplements to reduce their chances of developing the disease. Psyllium husk could be one of these brilliant supplements, with research showing it can actually reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Psyllium husk side effects image showing psyllium husk loose supplements

Psyllium Husk Side Effects

Due to the fibrous nature of psyllium husk, the majority of side effects are stomach or digestion related as it is most commonly used as a laxative. Side effects are still rare but you might experience mild issues such as:

  • Stomach or abdominal pain
  • Gas
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Constipation
  • Bloating

The more serious but still very rare side effects come from a potential allergy to psyllium husk. If you experience any of the following after taking this supplement you should contact a doctor immediately. 

  • Swelling of skin and face
  • A rash
  • Hives
  • Itchy skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Swollen tongue, throat or lips
How do I take psyllium husk supplements image showing husks in pile

How Do I Take Psyllium Husk Supplements?

It is important to always take psyllium husk supplements with a large glass or water. Due to the water absorbing nature of the husks, they can swell and turn into a thick consistency, increasing the chances of choking if taken dry. The recommended daily dosage is around 5 -10g of psyllium daily taken with a glass of water but the dosage can vary and be slightly higher or lower than this between brands.

This amount is often divided into several capsules throughout the day due to the limited capacity of capsule shells. Our Fitimin psyllium supplements are dosed at 2 capsules per day and this provides you with 1400mg of psyllium husk.

You should always follow the instructions on the bottle of each brand you buy to ensure you’re taking the right dose.

It’s also important that you don’t take two different types of supplement containing psyllium husk to make sure you’re not exceeding your daily dosage. Remember that the more you take, the more likely you are to have negative side effects.

How often can I take psyllium husk image showing pills and alarm clock

How Often Can I Take Psyllium Husk?

Psyllium husk is a natural product and not a formulated medication and as such there are no set guidelines on how much or how little you should take. However, there are suggestions regarding dosage, with the general rule for psyllium husk being to follow instructions outlined by each brand and avoid taking excess amounts.

The fibre inside of psyllium makes it a natural laxative. As such, you should always err on the side of caution and avoid taking too much if you want to avoid side effects like diarrhoea and stomach cramps. It’s also important to stay very hydrated when taking psyllium because the substance absorbs water.

How long should I take psyllium husk for image showing person holding bowl of supplements

How Long Should I Take Psyllium Husk Supplements For?

As it stands, there is no evidence to suggest that taking psyllium fibre supplements long term has any negative side effects. For people who may not be able to get the right fibre they need from their foods or are looking to benefit from the effects of psyllium husk, then taking the supplements long term may prove useful. 

Remember that dosage recommendations and instructions for use are different in psyllium supplements compared to that of medicated psyllium powder. It is safe to take psyllium husk supplements as part of your daily regiment in the long term, but always be mindful of changes to your body and if side effects occur then consult your doctor.

Who shouldn't take psyllium husk supplements image shoiwng woman holding stomach

Who Shouldn’t Take Psyllium Husk Supplements?

Psyllium husk is in general safe and tolerated by most individuals, however there are a small percentage of people who should avoid taking the substance including:

  • Individuals with a history bowel or intestinal obstruction
  • Those with esophageal stricture or issues swallowing
  • Sufferers of rectal bleeding

Anyone with these issues should avoid psyllium and those with issues swallowing are exposed to the potential risk of choking in the rare chance the husks expand in your throat. 

The bulk laxative nature of psyllium means it forms a bulkier stool that is easier to pass. However, those with bowel obstruction issues may find that this causes issues with them passing stool and so you should consult your healthcare provider before taking it or avoid it altogether.

 

As with all vitamins, supplements and medications you should always consult your doctor before taking psyllium husk if you are:

  • Pregnant
  • Breastfeeding
  • Allergic to any medications, particularly fibre or laxative medications
  • Have weak bowel or digestive muscles
  • Have any digestive diseases or syndromes.

It’s possible that psyllium can have an effect on how other medications are broken down in the body so you should always consult a doctor on whether this supplement is suitable for you.

What makes a good psyllium husk supplement image showing person holding up supplement bottle

What Makes A Good Psyllium Husk Supplement?

If you’re looking to start taking psyllium husk it’s important to choose the right product that will help maximise the available benefits. A good psyllium husk supplement should have a high fibre content and contain high quality ingredients. 

You should also avoid supplements that add other vitamins and minerals because although these might be beneficial in themselves, they take away from the psyllium contents in the capsule and this means you’re not getting the highest dose available.

Our Fitimins Psyllium Husk capsules are a great option if you’re looking for a high quality supplement. They have the highest level of bioavailable nutrients and contain the highest purity extracts, meaning you’re getting as much pure psyllium husk as you can inside each capsule. 

We’ve also made our capsules themselves as inclusive as we can so that as many people as possible can benefit from the effects of psyllium husk. Our capsules are vegetarian, vegan and halal and only contain one additional sugar binding ingredient.

Is psyllium husk right for me image showing supplement bottle in the dark

Is Psyllium Husk Right For Me?

Psyllium husk has a brilliant range of potential benefits and is commonly sold as a health supplement as well as regularly prescribed by doctors as a laxative. A mass of scientific evidence demonstrates the positive effects psyllium has on the body, and as such it could be the perfect supplement for you if you’re looking for an alternative to mainstream medications.

Just like anything that enters your body, there is always a small chance of side effects and it is always important to consult a healthcare professional before taking psyllium husk, especially if you’re unsure of the effects or any interactions it may have with other substances.

By now you should be an expert on psyllium husk but if you’re still unsure we’ve got an extensive health guide for you to browse. If you’re ready to go ahead and start your supplement journey, take a look at our amazing supplement range.

If you’re still not sure which supplement to go for, take our specially designed quiz and find out which supplements are best for you based on your health goals.