Psyllium Husk For Weight Loss: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects

Weight-loss gurus have been going gaga over psyllium husk for a couple of years.

Some recent studies have found that viscous fiber may reduce your appetite and help with weight loss.

Psyllium husk, also known as isabgol or ispaghula, contains high-quality viscous fiber. Currently, it’s a popular dietary supplement.

It is interesting to have a look at the health and weight loss benefits of psyllium husk.

What Is Psyllium Husk Powder?

Psyllium is a form of fiber made from the husks of the Plantago ovata plant’s seeds. It is a herbal plant that is mainly grown in India.

The psyllium husk contains soluble fiber that is beneficial for the body in many ways.

In fact, the husk obtained from the seeds of ispaghula is one of the best fiber supplements you can have.

Some of the popular fiber supplements, like Metamucil, have it as their chief ingredient.

Psyllium contains a type of fiber known as mucilage, which converts itself into a thick gel when mixed with water.

It is a very effective laxative that can relieve constipation by loosening the stool and cleansing the colon.

Health Benefits Of Psyllium Husk 

Psyllium fiber is a proven laxative supplement recommended by physicians.

It not only removes constipation but also delivers several other health benefits.

It improves the health of the heart and pancreas by reducing blood triglycerides, and blood pressure, and decreasing the risk of heart disease.

According to some recent study reports, this fiber supplement can keep cholesterol levels in check and improve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Initially, the phylum fiber binds up bile acid and stomach fat, which are then expelled from the body via excretion. But later on, it helps in the reproduction of lost bile acid by utilizing the excess cholesterol in the body.

This supplement can help in maintaining a healthy cholesterol balance in your system by making use of cholesterol to reproduce bile acids.

Ispaghula fiber has the potency to regulate blood glucose levels to some extent in people with diabetes. It does so by controlling the glycemic response to meals you have and reducing insulin and blood sugar levels.

Regular and improved bowel movements induced by Psyllium also cleanse the colon of toxic substances and accumulated wastes.

Today, some bakers include psyllium as a binding agent and ingredient in gluten-free baking.

This fiber supplement is shown to relieve diarrhea. The water-absorbing capacity of the supplement makes the loose stools moderately firm and thick.

Psyllium adds prebiotic compounds that help nourish the useful intestinal bacteria (probiotics) and help them grow.

Effects of Psyllium Husk on Weight Loss

So far, people have been using psyllium as an efficient laxative to overcome health issues like indigestion and constipation.

However, in recent years, some studies have indicated that psyllium husk works for weight loss.

According to a 2016 study published in the Nutritional Journal, when type 2 diabetic patients were given 10.5 grams of psyllium daily for eight weeks, they had a lower body mass index (BMI) in comparison to those who were put on a normal diet.

This study also noted that diabetes patients, who had isabgol supplements, improved insulin, and fasting blood sugar.

Intake of water-soluble dietary fibers like psyllium may help in blood glucose and body weight management.

However, the findings of another study published in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine in 2016 did not agree with the efficacy of soluble fibers in losing weight. As per this study, when the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients were given psyllium supplementation for 12 weeks, they showed no significant reduction in weight loss or BMI.

Ayurvedic physicians also prescribe isabgol for weight loss and indigestion.

Let us now look at the different ways in which psyllium husk aids weight loss.

Soluble Fiber

Psyllium husk is an awesome viscose fiber supplement.

According to USDA recommendations, an adult person should eat 25 – 30 grams of soluble fiber per day.

Fiber is important for optimizing the functions of the digestive system and preventing digestive issues like constipation and indigestion.

Fiber is essential for better weight loss results.

The vegetables and fruits we eat have fiber, but most of them contain insoluble fiber that cannot be digested by the body.

Viscose fiber, like psyllium, absorbs water and transforms into a smooth gel-like substance.

Soluble fiber helps digestion and absorbs some sugar and fat from the food we eat.

The soluble fiber in psyllium is beneficial for weight loss as it can balance blood sugar and absorb excess fat in the stomach.

Two tablespoons of this husk contain about 8 grams of fiber.

Good fiber nourishes the beneficial gut bacteria, which is necessary for digestion and improved metabolic activities.

Good For Suppressing Appetite

According to a study published in 2016 by Appetite, intake of psyllium husk supplements before meals may suppress appetite and increase the feeling of fullness. The study also pointed out that taking a dose of about 6.8 g of isabgol as a supplement gave more consistent satiety benefits than the placebo.

This fibrous husk in the intestine quickly absorbs water and swells up to 20 times its original size. Within a few minutes after having the supplement, it begins to make you feel full and reduces the pangs of appetite.

The supplement can make you eat less and thus help you lose weight within a couple of weeks.

Works As A Colon Cleanser

Psyllium fiber supplements can improve your gastrointestinal health by cleansing your colon.

A colon free of toxic contents and wastage improves digestion, boosts the immune system, and wards off common health issues affecting the stomach.

Regular cleansing of the colon also aids in weight loss because it clears the waste products from the intestines.

Low Calories

You needn’t be afraid of an increase in calorie supply from a psyllium husk supplement.

Two tablespoons of this fiber supplement contain only about 32 calories, which is a negligible amount.

This supplement is weight loss friendly as it does not add extra calories to your diet.

Dosage Of Psyllium

As per the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine, the daily intake of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men under the age of 50.

Women over the age of 50 require 21 grams of fiber per day, and men require 30 grams.

Unfortunately, most of us, on average, take only about 15 grams of fiber per day.

If you are overweight or have stomach-related issues like constipation and irregular bowel movements, it is good to have one or two servings of psyllium husk per day. About three grams of fiber are contained in one teaspoon of this husk.

How to Consume Psyllium Husk?

You can get Psyllium capsules and powder from any of the drugstores near you.

It is easy to consume psyllium capsules, just like the other pills you use. Make sure to drink one or two glasses of water after you have the supplement.

The best time to consume it is at night or in the early morning.

However, to take psyllium husk powder, you need to make a little effort.

The powder, in the required dosage, must be diluted in a cup of water.  When you mix psyllium with water, it expands quickly.

Make sure to drink it within a minute after you mix the supplement in a cup of water. If you keep it for longer, drinking it can become difficult as it transforms into a thick gel.

The cup you use for diluting the powder must be rinsed immediately to avoid the gel getting strongly stuck inside the cup.

If you are taking the psyllium husk for the first time, you can start with ½ a tablespoon of husk and then gradually increase the daily intake to two tablespoons per day. If you experience any physical discomfort when you’re taking psyllium, consult your doctor soon.

Decide the amount of psyllium husk you require per day depending on several soluble fiber diets, like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.

If you are using psyllium husk for weight loss, you should take the supplement 30 minutes before your meal. This helps suppress appetite by adding bulk to the food that you are going to eat.

Side Effects

Psyllium is generally safe for consumption and triggers no side effects.

However, an overdose of these fiber supplements can cause minor health issues.

Some of the possible side effects of psyllium husk include:

To avoid the side effects of fiber supplements, it is best to start with small doses initially.

It can take up to 2 weeks to receive the full dose as recommended by your physician.

Every teaspoon of psyllium husk powder should be diluted in a minimum of 8 ounces of water.

If you are taking the capsules, you need to drink one or two cups of water along with the capsule.

Taking psyllium supplements may cause choking, stomach pain, and bowel obstruction due to insufficient fluid intake.

After taking the supplement, if you experience any physical discomfort for many hours, you must consult a doctor.

Patients suffering from appendicitis, bowel spasms, breathing issues, colorectal adenoma, or other ailments in the digestive tract could avoid taking this fiber supplement.

Psyllium supplementation is not suitable for people with kidney diseases.

This supplement may also interact with some of the medications you use.

Psyllium husk for weight loss is suitable for people not suffering from any chronic diseases


Healthy fibers from the foods we eat are best for our health.

There is no need to take fiber supplements if you can increase your fiber intake from foods like dried beans and peas, flax seeds, oats, fruits, and vegetables.

However, most of us do not have the convenience to follow wholesome diets, and thus we have to depend on fiber supplements.

Psyllium husk helps with weight loss by suppressing appetite and adding bulk to our diet.

Currently, there is no evidence to recommend this fiber supplement as a dependable weight loss aid.