The use of psyllium as a nutritional fiber has been recorded by medical practitioners since at least the 10th century.
Its many uses can be found in Arabic and Persian medicinal books.
It comes from the seeds of the Plantago ovata and goes by some names, including Dietary Fiber, Indian Plantago, Englishmen’s Foot, and Blond Plantago.
The most common use for psyllium husk is as a laxative due to it being a soluble form of fiber.
It can easily pass through the human digestive system without being absorbed or completely broken down.
The fiber readily absorbs water and in doing so turns into a viscous compound that can be used as a natural treatment.
Conditions many people use psyllium husk for include constipation, blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, diarrhea, cholesterol levels.
More recently others have found it has benefits when used as a dietary aid to help with weight loss.
- 1 Who Should Use Psyllium Husk Powder?
- 2 What is Psyllium Husk Powder?
- 3 Nutritional Value of Psyllium Husk Powder
- 4 Benefits of Consuming Psyllium Husk Powder
- 5 Best Psyllium Husk Powders for Weight Loss
- 6 The Last Ounce
Who Should Use Psyllium Husk Powder?
Current research shows that most people tolerate using psyllium husk as a nutritional supplement quite well.
The average recommended dosage of 5 to 10 grams taken three times daily has not been linked to any serious side effects.
Some individuals have reported they have experienced minor gas, bloating, and cramping.
You should also be aware that the use of psyllium husk can slow down the absorption of certain medications.
Among these are antidepressants, tricyclics, cholesterol lowering medications, diabetes medications, digoxin, and lithium.
If you are on any type of medication, or have any serious health issues, you should always contact and consult your doctor before taking psyllium husk.
What is Psyllium Husk Powder?
Psyllium powder is made from the fiber found on the outside of the seeds of the Plantago ovata.
It’s quite amazing that a single plant can produce as many as 15,000 seeds.
When used as a dietary supplement, the husk may be ground into granules or powder for convenience. Also popular for people on the go is capsule form, making the product easier to swallow.
More recently, psyllium can also be found in some fortified breakfast cereals and certain baked goods.
Psyllium is also the main active ingredient in many dietary fiber products that are commonly used to help relieve constipation.
Among the most common of these are:
- Maalox Daily Fiber Therapy
It is the mucilage in the plant that reacts with water and other liquids found in the stomach and intestines.
This compound swells and becomes a viscous gel-like substance that is able to pass through the digestive system without being completely dissolved in the small intestines.
Because of this, psyllium husk has been found to help or assist with a number of medical conditions.
Many people have also found that because it swells in the stomach, it can help them to control their appetite, making them feel less hungry.
Nutritional Value of Psyllium Husk Powder
Besides a high level of dietary fiber, psyllium has very little in the way of nutritional value.
However, it is low in fat and calories.
According to research, a single tablespoon of psyllium husk powder contains:
- 20 Calories
- 2 g Protein
- 10 mg Sodium
- 5 g Dietary Fiber
This low amount of sodium ranks psyllium as a low-sodium food by the Food and Drug Administration.
Because psyllium has 5 grams of dietary fiber in a tablespoon, a single serving can provide you with 13 to 20 percent of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber.
Research has shown that the average adult should be consuming between 25 and 38 grams of fiber daily.
Benefits of Consuming Psyllium Husk Powder
Psyllium husk powder has a number of benefits and uses especially when it comes to stomach and digestive ailments.
Here are the most common of those:
Psyllium swells as it absorbs water and in doing so helps to add bulk to your stool.
In turn, this increase in size and water content makes it easier for your intestines to move the stool along, improving bowel movement regularity.
Although it might seem odd that a substance that can help to relieve constipation can also help with diarrhea, psyllium does both.
Since this dietary fiber absorbs water and increases the size, thickness, and weight of the stool, this will help to slow down the speed at which it passes through the intestines.
Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
Adding a fiber supplement to your diet has been found in medical studies to help control your body’s glycemic response after eating a meal. In turn, the fiber helps to reduce blood sugar and insulin levels naturally. Here again, because psyllium husk fibers turn into a gel-like substance when they come into contact with water the fiber helps to slow down the digestive process and regulate your blood sugar levels.
Reduced Cholesterol Levels
Psyllium has been shown to be able to bind itself to bile acids and fats and in doing so helps your body to eliminate them via excretion. As your body loses bile acids in this manner, your liver must use up more cholesterol in order to replace it. The result is a lower LDL (the bad type) cholesterol level.
Improved Heart Health
Medical research has found that adding water-soluble fibers to your diet can be very healthy for your heart. Dietary fiber has been found to reduce blood pressure and blood triglyceride levels (important for diabetics), which in turn can help to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Psyllium Husk Powder and Weight Loss
Today psyllium husk powder has become a very popular ingredient in the diets of those who are trying to lose weight. To be sure, there are any number of products on the market today that claim to be the latest thing in weight loss, most of them, however, are more myth than they are a reality. The good news is that the use of psyllium husk powder to aid with weight loss is well-grounded in undeniable science.
We all know that fiber is a very important part of our diet and one that we should have no problem consuming the recommended daily amount. However, the reality is that thanks to an increasingly steady diet of pre-packaged and fast foods, the vast majority of us don’t even come close to hitting the numbers.
There are two ways psyllium has been found to help weight loss.
As an Appetite Suppressant
If you have ever taken any type of fiber supplement, you probably already know that it makes you feel fuller faster. Since psyllium husk fibers can absorb a lot of water without breaking down, it forms a viscous gel instead.
This substance helps to fill your stomach and make you feel more satisfied even though you are eating less food.
More importantly, this full feeling will last for a longer time than if you had eaten a low fiber meal or not consumed some form of fiber supplement before eating. The end result is that you should no longer feel the need to snack between meals, which is why adding psyllium husk powder to your diet is an easy, affordable way to help you to cut down on your calorie intake and lose those extra pounds.
The formation of a gel-like substance when psyllium comes into contact with water helps to slow down the digestive process, allowing sugars to be absorbed into the body more slowly.
This helps to prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. It is these spikes that have been found to cause the body to store higher levels of fat and cause you to gain weight.
Best Psyllium Husk Powders for Weight Loss
If you plan to add a psyllium husk powder to your weight loss program, you need to be sure that the one you choose is of the finest possible quality. Here are five of the top-rated psyllium husk powders currently available.
Now Psyllium Husk Powder
NOW Psyllium husk powder is made from the whole husk and is vegetarian. While many classify this powder as a laxative, it can also be used by those who are trying to lose weight because it contains a very high level of mucilage. Recommended serving size is 2 tablespoons which are approximately 10 grams. There are about 34 servings in each bottle. While Now psyllium husk is sold as a powder, it is, in fact, whole husks that are small enough to be considered a granular type of powder. You can, of course, grind it in a coffee grinder if you need or prefer a finer powder.
Highlights: Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by 356 customers
|Vegetarian||More of a granule than a powder|
|No fillers||Very grainy when mixed with water|
|High mucilage content||Some complaints about the flavor|
Source Naturals Psyllium Husk Powder
At 4.4 out of 5 stars with over 200 reviews, this is one of the top psyllium husk powders available.
It is a low-calorie source of dietary fiber and should be taken once a day to help maintain your digestive health and to aid in weight loss. The recommended dosage is a single rounded teaspoon (5 grams) mixed into an 8-oz. glass of water.
Unlike the NOW product, this one has already been ground into a fine powder and will dissolve more easily. It is fully vegetarian and contains no gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, soy, yeast or corn. It also does not contain salt, sugar, starch, preservatives, artificial colors, fragrances, or flavorings.
Highlights: Comes in a four-pack of 12-ounce bottles for added convenience
|Vegetarian||Turns into a gel quickly|
|Very fine powder||Gel can be hard to swallow|
|No artificial ingredients||Unpleasant taste|
Natural Nutra Whole Psyllium Husk Powder
Coming in at 4.6 out of 5 stars, this psyllium husk powder is an excellent appetite suppressant. It has a much greater concentration of natural dietary fiber than many of the most common sources of natural fiber such as oat bran. Not only will it help to curb your appetite, but it will also help to regulate your entire digestive system and cleanse your body of many toxins. The powder is non-irradiated and steam-treated to ensure maximum purity and cleanliness.
Highlights: Contains Soluble and Insoluble Fiber
|GMP Certified||High price|
|Fair Trade product||Requires two heaping teaspoons per dose|
|Contains no wheat, gluten, soy, milk, eggs, tree nuts, shellfish, crustaceans, or fish|
Yerba Prima Organic Psyllium Whole Husks Supplement
This is one of the few top quality certified organic psyllium husk powders to have scored 4.5 out of 5 stars. Unlike many psyllium powders at this price, there are only two ingredients. These are the psyllium husk powder and the certified organic tapioca pullulan capsule used to contain it. The capsule format makes taking this supplement significantly easier than a loose powder that must be dissolved in water. Each capsule contains 1.8 grams of soluble fiber and 0.4 grams of insoluble fiber.
Highlights: Works exceptionally well as a colon cleanser
|Vegetarian||May not be as effective as raw powder|
|No fillers||Regulated dosage|
|Easy to swallow capsules filled with powder|
Health Plus 100% Pure Psyllium Husk Bags
While this product is not the whole husks, it has also not been ground up into a fine powder. Instead, it is a granular product that dissolves well in water. While this might make a glass of water slightly grainy, it does not turn the glass of water into a gel before you have a chance to drink it all. There are no artificial colors, preservatives, or additives in the product, the only thing in the bag is pure psyllium. Each tablespoon contains nothing more than 8 grams of psyllium. The recommended dosage is 1 heaping tablespoon taken three times a day for optimum results.
Highlights: 12 ounces of granular psyllium husks
|Vegan||Granular instead of a powder|
|Nothing artificial||Does not fully dissolve in water|
|Mild taste||Dry husks are hard to remove from bottom of glass|
The Last Ounce
There is so much hype when it comes to weight loss supplements it can be hard to know what to believe.
Since this is an all-natural product that has been medically proven to assist with digestion and as an appetite suppressant, psyllium husk powder can be an effective weight loss supplement.
However, you should avoid products that “contain” this product as they are less likely to be effective.
Our choice for the best psyllium husk powder for weight loss is Natural Nutra Whole Psyllium Husk Powder.
While it is a little more expensive than the others, we like the fact it is produced by an NPA Awarded Diamond Manufacturer in a GMP certified facility.
We also love the fact it is organic and a fair-trade product. It is the perfect choice for anyone who is trying to lose weight or stabilize their digestive system.